Female-Led Food Tech, Cultivated Meat Take the Spotlight at Vegan Women Summit

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New Yorkers are getting a taste of cultivated meat and other novel food tech products at the Vegan Women Summit coming to Brooklyn next month.

The Future of Food showcase, taking place at the May 19th New York Vegan Women Summit (VWS), will give attendees an opportunity to try cultivated wagyu beef along with mycelium chicken breast, and next-generation plant-based oysters, eggs, and sashimi, among other alternatives to conventional animal products.

‘Every single brand is led by women’

According to Jennifer Stojkovic, founder and CEO of VWS, the goal of the showcase is to bring together the most innovative and exciting brands that are pioneering sustainable and ethical solutions to the food industry.

“Not only are we proud to be debuting these cutting-edge technologies to the public, but every single brand is led by women – in an industry full of male CEOs,” Stojkovic said in a statement. “Our attendees will have the opportunity to taste some of the latest and most exciting cell-cultured and plant-based animal alternatives from women founders – some for the first time in history.”

Courtesy Pearlita

The Berkeley-based Ohayo Valley will present its cultivated WagyuMe Burger — a blend of plant-based meat and wagyu cells — in its first public tasting. Also on the menu is Bosque Foods, which develops whole-cut meat and seafood alternatives from mushroom mycelium. It will be showcasing its clean-label chicken breasts made of 80 percent mycelium, while Neggst will be showcasing its egg alternative. Pearlita Foods will offer plant-based clam chowder and oysters on the shell, and Impact Foods will be sampling plant-based tuna sashimi.

A sampling of the novel food items will be offered via a lottery to the more than 1,000 expected attendees.

‘We can’t fix the food system without supporting women’

The pre-market tasting event comes before the U.S. has granted regulatory approval for cultivated meat. Two U.S. companies, Upside Foods and Eat Just’s Good Meat, have satisfied the requirements to earn GRAS status from the FDA. They must now pass USDA inspections before being able to sell their products. Only Singapore has approved the sale of cultivated meat to date.

And according to Dr. Jessica Krieger, CEO of Ohayo Valley, women play a critical role in the nascent cultivated meat industry.

“We can’t fix the food system without supporting women, which is why it’s so important to develop an exciting and effective community such as VWS,” Krieger said. “This is the reason I, as a female founder, can’t think of a better event to publicly debut our cultivated WagyuMe Burger.”

Women are behind a growing number of food tech companies, including those developing cultivated meat; Dr. Sandhya Sriram and Ka Yi Ling co-founded Singapore’s Shiok Meats, Shir Friedman is the co-founder and head of communication at Israel’s SuperMeat and Hong Kong’s Avant Meats was co-founded by Carrie Chan, among others.

Courtesy Ohayo Valley

The event’s showcase focus on women-led food tech companies comes as consumers are still cautious about cultivated meat.

But research shows women founders and leaders could play a key role in overcoming that hurdle. According to a 2021 study, women are more trustworthy business owners and CEOs than men. But despite the higher levels of trust, women entrepreneurs still struggle to raise funding. Another study found that female founders raised just two percent of venture capital in 2021.

The Vegan Women Summit will take place on May 19th, 2023, in New York City. Tickets are available for purchase here.


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