From robot burgers to sea-free seafood: Israel’s top ten food inventions

Some 70 Israeli food-tech startups displayed their innovations at Food Tech Il 2022 in Tel Aviv - here are our highlights


Israel is a world leader in developing the food of the future, from burgers made by a robot to lab-grown eels. And this month it showcased to thousands of guests and investors around the world some of its tastiest new inventions.

Some 70 Israeli food-tech startups displayed their innovations at Food Tech Il 2022 in Tel Aviv.

Jonathan Berger, CEO of conference organiser The Kitchen Hub, Strauss Group’s food tech incubator, said: “In the past decade, we have proved that Israel is a world power in food tech.

In 2021, Israeli startups raised more than $620 million in alternative protein alone, with a yearly growth rate of 450 per cent, second only to the US.”
Here are the JC’s top ten inventions.

Sweet Victory: The gum that kills sugar cravings

Sweet Victory is chewing gum made with the ancient Indian plant gymnema. In India, it is known as “gurmar”, Hindi for “sugar destroyer”.
The manufacturers claim that two minutes chewing the gum blocks the sugar receptors on the tongue and stops your desire for sugar. If you try to eat anything sweet after the gum it is either bitter or tasteless and the effects can last two hours. It’s also suitable for kids.

Founders Gitit Lahav and Shimrit Lev say: “The atomic arrangement of bioactive gymnemic acid molecules is actually similar to that of glucose molecules. These molecules fill the receptor locations on the tastebuds and prevent activation by sugar molecules present in the food, thereby curbing the sugar craving.”
The JC put it to the test and can confirm that once the gum was chewed the sugar tasted revolting.

Forsea: seafood without the sea

In the quest to tackle overfishing, Forsea has developed a disruptive technological platform for producing cell-cultured seafood.

The start-up has created a viable alternative to wild-caught seafood that will leave the marine ecosystem completely untouched. Forsea says it has found a way to bring seafood meat cultivation closer to the way nature intended thanks to its patented organoid technology.

Developed by Dr Iftach Nachman, co-founder of Forsea, the organoid approach involves creating an ideal environment for fish cells to spontaneously form their natural composition of native fat and muscle.

They grow as a three-dimensional tissue structure in the same manner they would grow in a living fish. Forsea claims the fillets of cultured seafood boast the same taste, textural and nutritional traits as ocean-caught seafood yet are completely free from pollutants such as mercury, industrial chemicals and microplastics, and they are not genetically modified (non-GMO).

Founded with the support of The Kitchen Hub, Foresea is currently focusing on the cultivation of eel meat. “Eels are a much-sought-after delicacy especially in East Asia but have lapsed into serious decline due to overfishing,” explains co-founder Roee Nir.

Better Juice: removes the sugar in fruit juice

We all know fruit juice is healthy but it contains naturally high levels of concentrated sugar.

When we juice we remove most of the fruit’s natural fibre. Better Juice has developed groundbreaking technology: proprietary beads composing non-GMO microorganisms that naturally convert the juice’s composition of fruit sugars including sucrose, glucose and fructose into prebiotic and other non-digestible fibres. These beneficial fibres are still sweet yet have a low glycemic index.

Better Juice’s technology can reduce up to 80 per cent of the simple sugar load in fruit juices and fruit-based condiments without degrading naturally occurring nutrients. The process maintains the juicy flavour and full body of the juice while only slightly reducing the sweetness.
The technology was co-developed by scientific adviser Roni Shapira and Better Juice co-founder and co-CEO Eran Blachinsky, based on Dr Shapira’s groundbreaking research at Hebrew University.

Imagindairy: Dairy without the cow

For those who can’t stomach lactose or are hoping to take on a plant-based lifestyle but still want a dairy experience, Imagindairy has cooked up the solution.

CEO and co-founder of Imagindairy, Dr Eyal Afergan says: “The idea is to make it practically impossible for consumers to detect the difference between an animal-sourced and an Imagindairy-created cup of milk.”

This start-up uses a natural system of precision fermentation to produce true milk proteins but without the cow (therefore freeing up the world from dependency on animals).

These identical whey proteins are used to create a full range of non-dairy products such as milk, cheese or yoghurt that perfectly mimic dairy versions in sensation and in nutritional value (including minerals and calcium) yet contain no cholesterol, GMOs or lactose.

ANINA Culinary Art: artistic meals in a pod

With the aim of reducing food waste, this start-up has created a decorative ready meal-in-a-pod using “ugly” vegetables rejected by supermarkets due to their less-than-perfect appearance.

Each single-sized pod provides a nutritious meal of two cups of vegetables and other natural ingredients to be heated before consumption. These meals are dressed in an artistic shell made from a layer of dried vegetables or fruit.

The Anina range has already been launched in Israel and comes in three recipes. The firm was founded in 2020 by industrial design graduates Meydan Levy and Esti Brantz, who were concerned about fresh vegetables being tossed away simply because of cosmetic defects and decided to transform them into a tasty meal.

SavorEat: plant-based menu made by a robot

SavorEat produces a plant-based menu made by a robot using 3D-printed technology. At the push of a button you can create, on the spot, a personalised fish or meat alternative without involving a single animal. You can even select how well-cooked your meal is or how much fat and protein it contains.

The product combines 3D-printing technology, plant-based ingredients in cartridges, and a unique, plant-based nano-cellulose fibre. The cellulose binds the ingredients together, creating a meat-like texture.

Barak Orenstein of SavorEat says: “As we look to shift the control of power in the food industry from a handful of corporations to the end consumer we will continue to expand to seafood, chicken, and so on. Our vision is to empower the consumer to take control of their personal nutritional needs.”

ChickP: Bringing Chickpeas INto the mainstream

Israelis normally associate it with hummus but the chickpea is fast becoming a promising player in the alternative protein scene. ChickP produces a chickpea protein isolate with a concentrated protein load that offers a nutrition-packed dairy and egg alternative.

The isolate bears a neutral flavour and smooth viscosity for easy infusion into a versatile array of foods. It has already proven in its ability to whip up a vegan mayo, ice cream and coffee creamer. “We are developing an extensive range of plant-based applications with leading food and beverage companies using our protein,” reports CEO Liat Lachish Levy.

Meala: making meat replacement taste better

Meala has developed plant proteins designed to clean up popular meat alternatives such as veggie burgers while giving them a beefier bite.

These proteins serve to replace methyl cellulose and hydrocolloids (water-soluble polymers chemically modified from natural cellulose) that have until now been an unavoidable component of most meat analogues due to their roles as thickening and gelling agents.

BT Sweet: cutting sugar intake

The BT Sweet start-up is on the front line in the global battle to reduce excess sugar consumption, public enemy number one of the Western diet. BT Sweet’s breakthrough formula Cambya allows consumers to have their cake and eat it, guilt-free. It is composed of a shortlist of natural ingredients including the exotic monk fruit, touted for its low-glycemic and antioxidant properties, gut-friendly fibres, and select botanicals.

10. zero egg: says what it does on the tin
Good news for vegans or those with egg allergies: Zero Egg has developed a plant-based liquid egg that replaces eggs in multiple applications. Zero Egg can be fried into an omelette, scrambled like real eggs or baked into a cake. It can also be used in mayonnaise, dressings and sauces.

Founder Liron Nimrodi says we need to reform our food system. “One trillion eggs are sold every year, Zero Egg reduces use of water, land and energy by more than 90 per cent and greenhouse-gas emissions by 60 per cent. Think about the impact we will have when converting even 10 per cent of animal-based eggs.”

It’s now available to food manufacturers and food service in the US and they also sell patties.

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