As World Agri-Tech Innovation South America Summit marketing partners along with Eatable Adventures we had the pleasure of interviewing one of the speakers; Matias Muchnick CEO & Founder of Notco, one of the most disruptive foodtech startups that is currently changing the way protein is produced.
Matias described NotCo as a foodtech company that combines science, technology and the unexplored plant kingdom to recreate products that taste, smell, and look just like real animal products. “With this combination of machine learning technologies and breakthrough science we could crack one of the most challenging enigmas of humanity: creating amazingly tasty food that can also be good for our bodies, the environment, the animals and that would help us distribute nutrition using exponentially less resources than what we have today.”
COVID HAS BROUGHT IMPORTANT CHALLENGES
Matías told us that the current pandemic has brought some important challenges, both in the company’s environment and in it’s internal functioning. But he added that as a disruptive young company he feels it is their duty to reinvent their business structure in order to overcome these challenges. As well as to adapt and integrate all the opportunities that come with it. “Today we are facing different incentives, signs, stimuli; and we are learning to incorporate them.”
One important factor he pointed out was that he believes people’s values are changing, and one relevant aspect of this change is the considerable increase in food awareness.
“The contact we have with food today is completely different, we are reinventing ourselves in every way and it will never be the same as before.”
There’s no doubt that new trends are arising, especially concerning animal-based food; people are seeking increased transparency, sustainability and better nutrition, etc. And this is something they are trying to tackle with the help of AI.
DELIVERING A MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOD INDUSTRY
Matias confirmed that the plant-based trend is growing and this has helped Notco focus its resources to further its expansion and development.
He explained that part of this growing trend has revealed an important change in the startups behavior, which is to transform many of their activities into more digitalized actions. It has shown them the importance of partnering with companies that share the same direction, “to deliver what people need and ask for today; a complete, affordable and more sustainable food industry.”
WORKING WITH STARTUPS AS A SOLUTION
Matias believes that startups like Notco are bringing disruptive solutions with the application of technology:
“I think we’ve made it clear that a startup today can turn what we thought impossible only a few years ago into a fact. We’re developing a technology and science that will allow the species to live on (human and non-human). ”
In their case, the combination of machine learning technologies and breakthrough science could crack one of the most challenging enigmas we now face: creating great tasting food that is also good for our bodies, the environment and the animals as well as help us distribute nutrition using less resources. In fact, they have already overcome one of the biggest challenges: “to be able to imitate the food we really love, but instead of coming from inefficient and environmentally aggressive sources based on animal farming, obtaining it from plants.”
COLLABORATION AS A KEY FOR GROWTH
He told us about the brands relationship with corporations as he believes collaboration to be important in building special relationships:
“If we want to continue conquering the world with mouth wateringly delicious food, we need to collaborate, we need to change the industry from the inside.”
Their first big partner was Papa John’s and last year they started working on a partnership for the launch of their new Vegan Royale pizza. Then came Burger King’s alliance for their Rebel Burger. He added that it’s important to work with companies that are also willing to take these big steps together, to accomplish the most important turnover of our feeding system that the planet so desperately needs.
AGRI-FOOD SECTOR BEGGING FOR CHANGE
Matias believes that “it is no surprise that the food system has become the major environmental ill known to humankind..all starts and ends with raising and breeding livestock for meat.”
The industrial production of animals is the single most aggressive form of creating nutrition for a growing population. If we could go back and ask science what is the best and most efficient way to feed the 7 billion people that inhabit our planet, the answer certainly wouldn’t be animals.
He explained that the biggest theory Notco is trying to prove is: “could we make our milk, cheese, eggs and meat just from plants and take the animal out of the equation? Cut down the middle man?” the founder certainly believes this would mean a healthier and more sustainable food system, but the challenge remains the taste… and now we’ve proven that it is possible in over 4 countries, next? The world.