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
AmericasValley Agronomics: A Service-First Precision Partner
July 30, 2018
“Valley Agronomics, out in the Pacific Northwest … there’s something about those guys, they just get it …” Those words, Read More
Farmer-Tablet
Data ManagementAgriculture’s Next Breakthrough: New Technologies Are Driving Efficiency, Data Insights
July 3, 2018
We live in an exciting time in agriculture. Not only is technology advancing rapidly, but the understanding and comprehension of Read More
Parkland College Student Training
AmericasBushel Garners $7 Million Private Investment Round
May 10, 2018
Bushel today announced a $7 million private investment round to accelerate its patent-pending digital platform for the grain industry. The Read More
AmericasPrecision Farming Companies to Watch in 2018 (OPINION)
January 17, 2018
My friends, as many of you told me repeatedly throughout the last 12 months, 2017 was an interesting year in Read More
Trending Articles
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower-Retailer
Imagery/SensingAgtech: 10 Things I Hate About You!
September 4, 2018
Before you get bent out of shape from the title, remember if you’ve read my articles before you know I Read More
Kansas State University
Industry NewsKansas State University, Topcon Form Precision Ag Research Partnership
August 30, 2018
Kansas State University and Topcon Agriculture are collaborating to develop tools and systems to advance precision agriculture and support farmers. Read More
Blockchain building block graphic
Specialty CropsIs Blockchain the Future of Food Safety?
August 24, 2018
When the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was standardized in 1982, permitting the worldwide proliferation of interconnected networks and eventually the Read More
WinField’s Joel Wipperfurth On Empowering Data-Driven Decisions
InfoAg ConferenceOne on One with Joel Wipperfurth, Winfield United
August 15, 2018
Winfield United's Joel Wipperfurth discusses ag technology trends and topics during last month’s InfoAg Conference. Read More
Geosys
Industry NewsUrtheCast to Acquire Geosys from Land O’Lakes in $20 Million Deal
August 15, 2018
UrtheCast Corp. and Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced they have entered a binding term sheet for the purchase of Geosys Read More
Latest News
Business ManagementIvy Tech, Farmers Partner to Help Precision Ag Educatio…
September 20, 2018
Harvest time has taken on a new meaning for some Wabash Valley farmers, and Bobbi Hunt-Kincaid hopes her family’s first Read More
Sensors
Sensors/IoTThe Answer to Agriculture’s Daunting Challenges – Soil …
September 20, 2018
According to the United Nations, 9.6 billion people will live on planet Earth by 2050. Feeding these mouths will require Read More
Google-Earth-Map-featured-image
Data ManagementRainfall Revisited: Accurate Observations and Beyond
September 18, 2018
As a provider of weather analysis and forecast services to the agricultural industry, one of the most common questions I Read More
PenelopeNagel
Business ManagementWhy Is Funding a Challenge for Women-Led Agtech Compani…
September 17, 2018
When it comes to women-led agtech companies the funding discussion never seems to cease. In June after the The New Read More
Mobile Phone in field
Decision Support SoftwareWhy Are 570 Million Farmers Not Yet Using Agricultural …
September 17, 2018
Until recently, using agricultural apps and software was a rare practice among growers. This is now changing. The mass adoption Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsDeere-Granular Collaboration Produces New Profit Maps T…
September 14, 2018
The newest development from the ongoing John Deere-Granular product development and marketing collaboration is Profit Maps, now available to farmers Read More
Wingtra
DronesOpinion: Combining Two Pluses with the WingtraOne UAV
September 13, 2018
For the every-day consumer interested in UAVs, there is an ocean of products from which to choose. This includes the Read More
Farmer-tablet
AsiaShould Agri-Input Manufacturers Outsource E-Commerce to…
September 12, 2018
Editor’s note: Venky Ramachandran is a contributing writer for PrecisionAg.com’s sister site, AgriBusinessGlobal.com. This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Now, Read More
ICON-Link-Licensing_featured-image
Industry NewsValley Irrigation Adds Remote Irrigation Management Opt…
September 11, 2018
Valley Irrigation, an industry leader in smart irrigation solutions, has announced enhancements to its remote management technologies. Multi-Year Licensing In Read More
Reflex-Connect-Agri-Inject-featured-image
Variable Rate ApplicationVariable Rate Fertigation System Expands with Mobile Co…
September 10, 2018
Building on the success of its Reflex Variable Rate Fertigation system, Agri-Inject has taken fluid injection to the next level Read More
Industry NewsTeralytic Earns Ag Data Transparent Certification
September 10, 2018
Soil analytics company Teralytic has completed the Ag Data Transparent certification, affirming that their data use is private, secure, and Read More
Business ManagementTop 20 Two-Year Colleges for Precision Agriculture
September 10, 2018
Earlier this year, I compiled a list of the 25 best colleges for precision agriculture. It was quite the process. Read More
Industry NewsRaven, Topcon Announce Slingshot API Agreement
September 6, 2018
Raven Industries and Topcon Agriculture announced today a licensing agreement for Topcon Agriculture’s use of the Slingshot Application Programming Interface Read More
Tablet Grower
Data ManagementThe Power of Predictive Analytics in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Years ago if we would have been told computers, data, and technology would be scattered around every farm there may Read More
DronessenseFly Launches eBee X Drone, Breaks Through 1,000 ac…
September 5, 2018
senseFly today reportedly sets a new standard in mapping tools with the launch of the eBee X. Launched with the Read More
AmericasOn The Scene: 2018 Farm Progress Show Wrap Up
September 5, 2018
Former Monsanto President (now Bayer CropScience Chief Operating Office) Brett Begemann’s opening salvo during his first appearance at a Farm Read More
EventsAg Experts Discuss Big Data Challenges in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Agricultural experts at a Houston conference praised the advancements in unmanned aerial vehicles, sensors, and data-collecting technology used in precision Read More