6 Key Takeaways from Forbes Mixing Bowl NYC

Advisory investment group The Mixing Bowl teamed up with Forbes for its New York-based event this year to discuss technology’s role in changing food and farming at scale and consumer food preferences, writes Louisa Burwood-Taylor on AgFunderNews.com.

The audience represented a broad mix of the food industry from Californian and upstate New York farmers to venture capital funds to large food companies and consultants. And of course, there were a bunch of startups in attendance, all hoping to disrupt the status quo with their inventions. Seven of them presented to a panel of judges in the hopes of winning the coveted Golden Blender Award.

Here are Burwood-Taylor’s key takeaways from the day:

1. Investors Should Look for Underinvested Categories in 2017

The Mixing Bowl’s Seana Day thinks the future of agtech as a venture capital investment is still “healthy” despite the 30% drop in funding to agtech in 2016 (as do we). And she presented a market map of a selection of technologies innovating in the space, (which will be available online soon).

In some of the more invested areas such as precision ag, Day believes more work needs to be done integrating the various technologies, such in-field sensors and data services and figuring out the right business models to ensure they’re useful for the farmer. And agtech startups need to make sure they find the “right kind of capital” to support the growth of their business, she said.

Underfunded technologies in the supply chain around traceability, logistics, and other “unsexy” areas, present an opportunity for investors in 2017, Day added.

On the consumer side, consultant Brita Rosenheim said meal kit startups were overfunded and nutrition-focused technologies were underfunded.

2. Technology is Not Always Solving Growers’ Needs

“The berry industry has been looking for technology to save us and it’s been a great disappointment that it hasn’t done that,” Tom Am Rhein, VP of Naturipe Growers told delegates. “Everyone keeps talking about data, but it’s not information we needed, we’ve got too much now.” Instead, berry growers want a drone to fly above his land, looking like a falcon to deter birds from their crops. “Bird loss is a huge problem in blueberries, so that’s what we need but there’s no money in that for the investor, so we’re struggling with that,” he added. Other technologies don’t account for all the micro climates we have across our land. Somehow the tech industry hasn’t got the mix right and we’ve not got investment where we need it.”

Rob Trice, founder of Mixing Bowl, summed it up nicely: the industry needs to bridge the gap between the nitty, gritty and foundational issues in agriculture and the tech that investors can get behind.

3. Traceability is Challenging, Especially Telling the Story

Some smaller producers are struggling to respond to consumer demands for more information about how their food was grown because it requires detailed record-keeping and audits.

To meet consumer needs, Naturipe, which is a relatively large, global berry producer, has created a product integrity team for this purpose. “Naturipe puts enormous resources into its Product Integrity Team so that we can adequately respond to our customers needs for information/data,” said Am Rhein. “Our Product Integrity Team supports our smaller growers so they do not have to develop such resources independently, which would be difficult and expensive for them to do.”

Consumer demand for more information about their food boils down to trust, making it essential food companies communicate better with their customers, several delegates agreed.

“The only reason people are looking so hard is because they don’t trust who’s feeding them,” said one audience member. “New companies like Sir Kensington’s are now coming out and telling you what is good for you, which is getting a good response as it shows you have built your company on values.”

Consumers could get too much information about their food, however. Scott May, VP of innovation a Givuadan, the flavoring and fragrance company, showed an image of the ingredients in a single strawberry as they might appear on a food label. As you can see in this image, a strawberry label would contain the name of many unfamiliar ingredients including chemicals. How do you describe this to the consumer and tell the story without scaring them?

Read the full story on AgFunderNews.com.

Leave a Reply

Traceability/Food Safety Stories
Data ManagementHappy Thanksgiving: Cargill Traceable Turkey Program Leverages Blockchain Technology
November 22, 2017
Cargill’s traceable turkey pilot program is bringing consumers closer to the source of their Thanksgiving turkey using blockchain technology. The Read More
Data ManagementAgGateway Grain Transfer Proof of Concept Shows Promise
November 10, 2017
We talk about closed-loop systems quite a bit in modern production agriculture. Having a closed-loop, or completely self-contained, system is Read More
Data ManagementSciFi in Ag: Exploding Hydrogen Bubbles
October 28, 2017
(This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The purpose of Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsCNBC: Inside Amazon’s Whole Foods Takeover
June 20, 2017
Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods sent the stock of competing grocery chains plummeting. To understand why, you need to know Read More
Trending Articles
Harvested-Corn-Field-Clouds
Data ManagementWeather Services Advance Precision Agriculture
December 4, 2017
Some estimates suggest over half of growers’ activities are impacted by weather conditions, from field workability to fertility management to harvest Read More
Wheat-an-oats-Daniel-X-ONeil
Data ManagementWill Open-Source Finally Unlock Ag Technology’s Potential?
November 28, 2017
To Aaron Ault’s eyes, ag technology right now is something like a walled garden — not unlike the Microsoft of Read More
Africa/Middle EastPERSPECTIVE: Is Bayer’s Highly Anticipated xarvio App the Next Uber for Ag?
November 22, 2017
As many of our CropLife IRON readers might know, every summer at MAGIE we award the most popular product featured Read More
Used Combine
Service ProvidersFinding New Precision Ag Opportunities in Older Equipment
November 15, 2017
Whether to buy new or used equipment has been and continues to be an important topic for growers. When it Read More
Blue River Tech See and Spray prototype in CA
Business ManagementIs the Agtech Startup Boom Over?
November 13, 2017
In the past few months there has been a flurry of acquisitions of agtech startups by major players in the Read More
Spray Drift
Business ManagementProtecting Your Business with Ag Data: What Dicamba Can Teach Us (Guest Column)
November 9, 2017
All over the country, in ag communities large and small, farmers are reporting crop damage, neighbors are fighting, lawsuits and Read More
Latest News
Field
Decision Support SoftwareCeres Imaging Details New Pest, Disease Detection Produ…
December 12, 2017
Ceres Imaging, which provides science-backed aerial images to growers, will offer Midwestern corn and soybean farmers an early warning system Read More
Claas RTK Field base
Industry NewsCLAAS Taps Syncron for Cloud-Based Spare Parts Manageme…
December 11, 2017
Syncron, a provider of cloud-based after-sales service solutions, today announced CLAAS, a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, has selected Syncron Inventory – Retail Read More
Farmer and computer
Service ProvidersPrecision Agriculture Writers Wanted To Join Our Team i…
December 10, 2017
About The Opportunity: PrecisionAg.com is looking for people to join our team in 2018 and submit original content to our Read More
american-robotics-Scout-Drone
DronesAmerican Robotics Unveils Fully Autonomous Drone System…
December 7, 2017
American Robotics, an industrial drone developer specializing in agricultural automation, has unveiled its flagship product Scout. It is a self-charging, Read More
Industry NewsJohn Deere Upgrades Generation 4 Display Capabilities
December 6, 2017
John Deere has introduced its latest advanced guidance and machine data sharing technology with the addition of three new AutoTrac Read More
Grower-Field-iPad-Connectivity-Photo-Credit-VLab
Business ManagementOpinion: Agtech Boom Is Yet To Come
December 6, 2017
Many agronomists, farmers, and VC groups monitoring the agtech world are proclaiming the startup boom is over. Investments are down, Read More
Data ManagementAgritechnica 2017: Executives Discuss Europe Ag Tech Ad…
December 6, 2017
While North American growers slog through yet another season of depressed farm incomes and commodity markets, across the pond it’s Read More
Bitcoin-for-Agriculture-Source-TheJavaCoincom
Data ManagementWill Bitcoin Work in Agriculture?
December 5, 2017
If you checked the Internet lately, you’ve probably seen the words, Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. I won’t describe them in Read More
Vineyard weeding Robot-Naio-Technologies
Robotics/Labor SaversRobots Are Coming for Your Crop Protection (and Other I…
December 5, 2017
The market for agricultural robotics market is small but burgeoning, and their impact is likely to be quite a bit Read More
John-Deere-Connect-Mobile
Service Providers10 New Mobile Apps for Precision Agriculture
December 5, 2017
Ag professionals continue to reap the rewards of new smartphone apps. And perhaps no segment of farming is benefitting more Read More
On-Farm-Trials-Brazil
AmericasOn-Farm Trials in Brazil: The Way to Improve Agronomic …
December 4, 2017
The idea of using on-farm trials to gather data about the performance of any crop input has been in place Read More
Harvested-Corn-Field-Clouds
Data ManagementWeather Services Advance Precision Agriculture
December 4, 2017
Some estimates suggest over half of growers’ activities are impacted by weather conditions, from field workability to fertility management to harvest Read More
Longford-Silt-Foam-map
Data ManagementUnderstanding Precision Farming and Soil Morphology
December 4, 2017
The USDA Soil Conservation Service, now Natural Resources Conservation Service, has been charged with creating the country’s soil survey. This Read More
Spensa platform
Industry NewsSpensa Adds TerrAvion Aerial Imagery
December 4, 2017
Spensa Technologies announces today its partnership with TerrAvion, a California-based start-up that provides aerial imagery for agriculture. As customers of Spensa Read More
Industry NewsCase IH Announces Updated AFS Data Transfer Capabilitie…
December 4, 2017
Case IH has announced seamless data transfer capabilities between its Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) Connect farm management system and six Read More
Data ManagementCropLife: FBN CEO Appears at ARA 2017 Conference (Recap…
December 2, 2017
Right on the heels of news it has raised $110 million in a Series D funding round, Farmer’s Business Network Read More
Farmers Business Network, FBN Procurement
Data ManagementFBN Raises Record $110 Million Series D Venture Capital…
December 1, 2017
Farmers Business Network announced a $110 million Series D funding round, led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Read More
Wheat-an-oats-Daniel-X-ONeil
Data ManagementWill Open-Source Finally Unlock Ag Technology’s Potenti…
November 28, 2017
To Aaron Ault’s eyes, ag technology right now is something like a walled garden — not unlike the Microsoft of Read More