SnapDNA is the 2021 IFTNext Food Disruptor
SnapDNA, creator of a rapid pathogen detection system for food processing facilities, clinched top honours and a $25,000 prize as the winner of the IFTNext Food Disruption Challenge Pitch Competition, held earlier this week during the FIRST virtual event.
A panel of five judges chose SnapDNA from a group of three finalists, all of whom took to the virtual stage to present their pitches and answer questions from the judges.
The SnapDNA system is “push-button simple,” explained Tom Jacobs, vice-president of sales and marketing. “Our system can be operated almost anywhere by almost anyone. We compete with and replace food testing labs for both routine daily testing and for tracing contamination. We are deeply honoured to be recognized by the IFT community for the work that we have done and for the recognition that our tech is truly disruptive.”
What makes SnapDNA’s onsite testing system unique, Jacobs explained, is the fact that “we target and capture only live cells in real time from large, dirty food industry samples. Pathogen RNA is analyzed in a fully automated process—20 minutes, sample to answer.”
Seaweed technology company Trophic won the $5,000 People’s Choice Award, with voting conducted in a follow-up survey of those who viewed the Food Disruption Challenge.
Trophic is working to scale up seaweed production and to help commercialize seaweed as a protein ingredient.
“Our company is developing the technology to make the ocean the most abundant, low-cost, and climate-friendly source of protein on the planet,” said CEO Beth Zotter in her pitch. Protein from seaweed is eco-friendly because it requires no land or fresh water to produce it, she said.
Trophic has developed a plant-based bacon prototype made with protein from red seaweed, and hopes to fund its launch with a $2.5 million seed round.
Rounding out the group of finalists in the Food Disruption Challenge was Ripe Revival, which uses patented technology to convert fruit and vegetable waste into healthy ingredients and food products, including nutrient-dense gummies and shelf-stable aseptically packaged beverages.
Co-founder and CEO Will Kornegay said Ripe Revival has the license to a family of patents covering extraction and microwave-assisted processing, which allows the company to “quickly isolate nutrients, extract them from biomass, and create a protein polyphenol matrix that acts as the key ingredient” in its products. The company sources its ingredient from byproducts of fruit and vegetable processing.
Food Disruption Challenge judges included Jagruti Bhikha of RiseTogether VC, Joe Light of Food Loving Ventures, Jeff Grogg of JPG Resources, Tracy Landau of MarketPlace, and Natasha Dhayagude of Chinova Bioworks.
Launched in 2018, the IFTNext Food Disruption Challenge is designed to help emerging and investment-ready food companies raise their profiles and make strategic connections. The competition is open to food science/technology companies that provide innovative solutions throughout the food supply chain, including ingredients, processing, packaging and testing.