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Foodberry brings its tech to a candy spot: contemporary and packaging-free snacking

Foodberry brings its tech to a candy spot: contemporary and packaging-free snacking

Foodberry brings its tech to a sweet spot: fresh and packaging-free snacking

Marty Kolewe was working as a postdoctoral affiliate a decade in the past and wished to do one thing to scale back meals packaging.

His professor David Edwards, whom he met working with the Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Know-how Division of Well being Sciences and Know-how Langer Lab, introduced a novel thought: make edible packaging by reverse-engineering fruit pores and skin.

After years of R&D, false begins and short-lived enterprise concepts, Kolewe’s firm now has the expertise, manufacturing and marketing strategy and is able to go. Newly rebranded as Foodberry, the corporate — beforehand often called Unimaginable Meals — serves a B2B market, serving to producers produce personalized, bite-sized “berries” to create distinctive and nutritious snacks. The tech-enabled pores and skin holds collectively a mix of fruits, nuts, greens, proteins and flavors.

Foodberry underwent an entire rebrand and retargeting of its technique for the reason that starting of the pandemic. Kolewe and Foodberry confirmed off their new model and the corporate’s capabilities at Future Meals-Tech San Francisco this spring, handing out paper cups filled with malted-milk-ball-sized PB&J Berries, caffeine-packed Espresso Berries, dragon fruit Wellness Berries, blueberry and lemon Yogurt Berries, and roasted crimson pepper-coated Hummus Berries.

These combos have been used as examples of Foodberry’s expertise, however the platform is accessible for producers who need to mix their very own flavors and vitamins right into a contemporary snack.

“These Foodberries, we discovered the place we expect they belong within the client area,” Kolewe mentioned. “… In case you have a look at all of the snacking traits, to us, good meals, wholesome meals, it simply matches. We’re actually excited concerning the time being proper.”

Discovering the appropriate goal and technique

The corporate now often called Foodberry first acquired its begin in 2012 as a undertaking known as Wikifoods. It centered on creating edible packaging of all types, and piloted package-free Frozen Yogurt Pearls for Stonyfield.

“Folks have been like, ‘Oh, that is actually cool,’” Kolewe mentioned. “However it was so so divorced from any client car.”

Since these early days, Foodberry has been on two tracks: discovering the expertise to make its edible packaging expertise work and grow to be scalable, and making the top product into one thing that works from a enterprise standpoint.

Kolewe mentioned each of those targets have taken years. Meals tech and R&D are actually troublesome, he mentioned, and on this realm, producers want to have the ability to ship on their claims. The corporate needed to look at what it ought to do and easy methods to current itself.

Past the Equator’s Seed Butter Berries, made by way of Foodberry’s expertise.

Courtesy of Foodberry

 

Making the berry “skins” is among the key items of Foodberry’s expertise. Kolewe mentioned it borrowed a few of its concepts from pharmaceutical applied sciences being developed within the Boston space for microencapsulation and managed launch. It began making use of these ideas to meals supplies, together with plant fibers and proteins. And thru the years, the corporate developed methods to make use of these plant supplies as edible and self-contained packaging supplies.

The following step was designing these “skins” to really be a practical meals product. In nature, fruit pores and skin is available in totally different types. Blueberry and grape skins preserve the fruit’s juice and pulp inside however have little style. Powerful citrus skins shield the juicy fruits and might present taste in cooking. And coconut shells principally serve a protecting operate.

Kolewe mentioned Foodberry takes these totally different capabilities under consideration and might create totally different skins. The corporate can remake the pores and skin of an precise berry, maintaining juices inside and offering a little bit of a snap as a client bites into it. However Foodberry says it will probably additionally imbue a pores and skin with taste, like prototypes it has made with crimson peppers and jelly pastes coating hummus or peanut butter.

Kolewe mentioned there are numerous methods to create these coatings, together with enrobing and bathing the elements in options, and extrusion and molding. Kolewe mentioned it’s similar to how plant-based meat corporations make plant elements with an analogous texture and really feel of meat. The whole lot Foodberry does, Kolewe mentioned, makes elements into what has the texture of a contemporary snack — one thing that’s many steps past the outdated commonplace of coating totally different elements in chocolate. As an alternative, Foodberry takes elements like bell pepper and makes them the coating.

“I do not need to put chocolate coating on it,” Kolewe mentioned. “I feel we will use expertise to make totally different experiences that we do not have sufficient. To attempt to recreate that pepper, its snap and crunch.”

B2B and past

As Unimaginable Meals, the corporate created a client model known as Perfectlyfree that supplied allergen-free fruit, vegetable and yogurt snacks, which have been offered in grocery shops within the New England space and on Amazon. Whereas the product line acquired typically good evaluations from shoppers, it was discontinued in December 2019.

Kolewe mentioned the model launched a brand new twist to what the corporate may do — produce allergen-free meals — nevertheless it didn’t reinforce the expertise that they had labored to create and confused their mission.

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“It was nice for the corporate in that it pushed us to scale a basically new factor, bringing new expertise to scale, however as with something, not every part succeeds on the primary strive,” Kolewe mentioned.

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