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Health & Nutrition

NonFood plans for home-based algae reactors

February 18, 2018

Andrew Ive, managing director of Food-X. Photograph courtesy of Food-X.

Harvard Magazine reports that a glimpse of the future of food can be seen through the eyes of Andrew Ive, a Harvard M.B.A. He is managing director of the world’s largest food-company incubator, Food-X, based in New York City, which helps about 170 food start-ups get off the ground each year.

One of his favorite cutting-edge startups is called NonFood, which aims to create “a range of really interesting, delicious products based almost entirely on algae, with a goal, ultimately, of designing a home-based bioreactor” that would allow customers to “grow their own algae and print it into a useful product: food.”

Algae “are incredibly fast-growing and don’t require fertilizer,” Mr. Ive points out. “The process is quite sustainable.”

More is at stake than millennial tastes, however. “My biggest concern in all of this is that as places like India and Africa become more affluent, they will adopt Western eating habits, giving up their healthy, vegetarian-centric food systems and cultures and move towards meat,” he says. Nothing will stop that process, but “maybe these technologies around cultured meat” could be used to create foods they’d want “in a way that’s a lot more sustainable and less damaging to the environment.”

“Humanity,” he observes, “has a really interesting way of solving problems at the last moment, and I’m hoping that all of the entrepreneurs I’m working with, and will work with, will be part of those kinds of solutions.”

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