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CPGFeaturedInnovation of the WeekStartupsSeptember 30, 20220Innovation of the Week – September 30, 2022

by Venadar Market Intelligence Team

Anina Culinary Art – CPG

www.aninafoodtech.com 

What it is: 

Anina Culinary Art is a food tech company creating ready-to-consume meal capsules that are made from “ugly” produce to reduce food waste. To prepare, the capsules are placed in a bowl with a cup of water and microwaved.  The capsules are shelf-stable, and when prepared they offer a complete meal that is 100% natural and rich in vegetables and nutrients.  Each disc-shaped capsule holds two full cups of vegetables. 

Their patent-pending technology starts with fresh “ugly” produce and turns it into a laminate, which is layered with other ingredients to create the Anina capsule.  The patent application covers the process, the composition of the laminate, and the cooking process.  The outer elements of the capsule cook for the full 8 minutes, while the insides are protected for the initial stage of cooking and after a few minutes they are heated.  This helps create optimal mouth-feel – as opposed to traditional microwave meals where all elements are simply soft. 

The ANINA range was launched in Israel with three recipes: 

  • Pasta Primavera— vegetables, Italian herbs, and pasta 
  • Mediterranean bowl—vegetables, bulgur wheat, and black lentils 
  • Vietnamese bowl—rice noodles and vegetables 

Who Made It? 

Anina was founded in 2020 and is based in Israel.  Co-founders include: Anat Natan, Meydan Levy, and Esti Brantz.  Natan, the CEO, brings more than 20 years of experience in marketing and business management for CPG companies such as Nestlè and Tnuva. Natan has an MBA, specializing in marketing and business enterprise, a BA in economics and communication from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, and graduated from culinary school. 

The idea for the company was born when Brantz & Levy became concerned about the huge amount of produce thrown out for cosmetic reasons that they observed from the farmer’s market in Jerusalem they lived across from.  They started acquiring leftover vegetables from the market and spent 2 years testing techniques, which led to the design of an entirely new food concept – the ready meal capsule.  

Anina started distribution in Israel, targeting Millennials and Gen Z initially in a DTC and online capacity, eventually expanding to specialty and natural retail stores.  They are currently scaling production with the goal of global distribution. 

Funding status: 

  • The company raised $3.3M of seed funding in the form of SAFE Notes from Strauss Group, Unovis Asset Management, and Unorthodox Ventures in September 2022. AgFunder, Wordcreate, and Israel Innovation Authority also participated in the round. 
  • The company joined GROW accelerator as part of the second cohort of Impact Accelerator program in May 2021 and received $100K in funding. 
  • The company joined The Kitchen FoodTech Hub in June 2020 and received $750K in funding. 

Why we like it: 

  • Offers a shelf-stable meal solution that offers complete nutrition 
  • Turns “ugly” produce into a beautiful product 
  • The capsules are super lightweight, enabling more sustainable distribution through the supply chain 

Did you know?  

Half of all produce in the US is thrown away because it is less than “picture perfect” for selling. This equates to a staggering 60 million tons of completely fine fruits and vegetables discarded every year. 

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