A Look Back at Dao Foods' Demo Day 2022
The Dao Foods name originates from a sentence in the Chinese masterpiece, The Analytics of Confucius: “Confucius’ way is loyalty and forgiveness only.” Dao Foods seeks to implement these ideals wherever we do business, by being loyal to the earth and environment where we live and being kind to the animals living on the planet.
Home to almost 1.5 billion people, China is the world’s most populous nation, and largest consumer of food products. While China currently consumes twice the amount of food as the country in second place, we’re projected to triple the U.S. total by 2030. While each Chinese citizen only eats an average of half of the meat products that an average American eats per year, the vast population difference puts China at the center of this global problem.
Tackling this problem will take years of dedication and planning, as Chinese companies seek to grow grassroots interest in plant-based proteins and other alternative food sources that have a lower impact on the environment.
Luckily, the global market for innovative food offers a roadmap for developing a similar nascent market in China. Every six months, Dao Foods picks a new round of entrepreneurs and small businesses that have the potential to make an impact on the plant-based protein field in China. By supporting these companies and lending them visibility, we can promote quick growth in the sector and increase grassroots interest in environmentally friendly products.
The Entrepreneurs Changing the Field
Chenfeng LV, Co-Founder and CEO of Blue Canopy, an alternative protein company focused on developing products through precision mycelium fermentation discussed his company’s business methods and market niche. Fermentation-based alternative proteins offer a novel solution to animal-based proteins, producing meat that tastes and feels remarkably like animal protein. But there are other advantages to mycelium fermentation as well, like the ability to use the byproducts of the process to make fertilizers, seeds, and animal feed.
Blue Canopy is proud to announce that they have produced the “world’s first fermentation based real meat proteins,” and that they are extremely close to commercial levels of production, with plans to reach full scale commercial production by 2025.
Denis Zhu of ShiShen Food Technology walked through his company’s current snack-style products and their plan for the future. Their current snacks, known as the Sesame Ball and the Nut Boat, are selling extremely well in Chinese markets, with businesses buying over 100,000 cases to date. One of their upcoming products, the Paris Baguette, will feature mushroom and plant protein jerky to create a unique and healthy snack.
Working with the French National Agricultural Research Institute, Shishen has developed plant-protein synergies between probiotics and herbal proteins, allowing them to produce products that can target chronic issues such as skin allergies, memory loss, anxiety, depression, and weight loss.
Ying Xu, founder of Shanghai Protain talked about her organization’s unique methods for upcycling traditional food byproducts into superfood ingredients. A staggering 33% of the world’s food is wasted each year, including 20% lost during harvesting, processing, storage, and transportation, as well as 13% abandoned during retail or customer consumption.
In China, lost food such as beans, grains, gruitys, vegetables, roots, and tubers can be upcycled into ingredients like baking powder, dietary fiber, pigment, and cream. Shanghai Protain has also been working with upcycled okara powders, experimenting with putting them in chocolates and other products.
Geb Impact Technology
Finally, James Zhang, founder of Geb Impact, spoke about the advantages of Micro-Algae Biomass products. These micro-algaes have comparable, and in some cases superior essential amino acid concentrations, promoting protein health. Some types of micro-algae can also be used as a flour substitute, allowing bakers to make products that have no allergenic properties.
Geb Impact is able to customize micro-algae biomass to customer needs and applications, allowing for a greater range of possible customer solutions.