Johanne Arnet

Rockstart AgriFood Empowers Start-Ups to Close the 7.400tn kcal Food Gap

Rockstart AgriFood is gearing up for its inaugural accelerator program, which will kick off our multi-year commitment of enabling innovation that directly contributes to achieving a sustainable food future by 2050.

In late 2018, the World Resources Institute (WRI) released a report detailing three major global agricultural gaps – the Food Gap, the Land Gap, and the GHG Gap – as well as an actionable framework for closing them. By closing these gaps, the AgriFood industry can contribute significantly towards meeting climate change targets set out by the Paris Agreement.

Drawing on the WRI’s framework, Rockstart AgriFood’s Director Mark Durno took to the stage on May 7th at the world food innovation summit, Seeds&Chips. Durno outlined the ways in which existing entrepreneurs have already taken steps towards closing these gaps, as well as how Rockstart plans to support those that are currently developing cutting-edge solutions aimed at achieving similar goals in the future.

“If we use our current production practices, our supply can only cover about 60 percent of the world’s future demand for food,” explains Durno. “So the question is, how do we feed all of these people?” The challenge represents a great opportunity for Agritech and Foodtech startups.

Let’s take the Food Gap as an example. As the global population grows from 7 billion in 2010 to a projected 9.8 billion in 2050, overall food demand is on course to increase by 56 percent, and demand for animal-based foods by nearly 70 percent.

Food waste reduction and alternative diets have the most significant potential to close the gap by 2.5 trillion calories. Fortunately, in the area of food waste reduction alone, there are a number of startups across the food supply system that are already working to close the gap. Inspira Farms, a FoodTrack by Maersk program alumnus, develops first-mile distribution solutions for emerging markets in order to ensure less post-harvest loss. Through its aim of providing the tools, technology, and expertise to reduce food losses and energy costs, the company has improved the livelihoods of over 5,000 rural community members in the developing world.

When it comes to alternative diets, plant-based protein products alone are already making a splash in the market. Beyond Meat’s products are changing the way consumers approach health and sustainability. The company went public on Nasdaq earlier this month, valuing at over $3 billion. Its direct competitor, Impossible Foods has raised $750 million in equity, with Burger King rolling out Impossible Whoppers on its menus across the USA by the end of the year.

Rockstart AgriFood aims to support entrepreneurs between Seed and Series B, through access to community, expertise, network, and capital. As said by Durno last Tuesday, “it is our goal to invest in, support and empower fantastic entrepreneurs who are looking at emerging technologies and new business models to drive positive change in the food supply system.”

In order to drive this positive change, Agritech and Foodtech startups require support in the early stages of their endeavor to help them scale. That’s where Rockstart AgriFood aspires to help, offering access to market, expertise, community, and capital (co-investing from pre-seed to Series B). Apply now for the Rockstart AgriFood Program! Applications are open until May 26th.

If you enjoyed this post, we would appreciate it if you would help us spread the word about Rockstart AgriFood’s quest to empower the startups that are contributing to a sustainable food future by sharing it on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

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