The food business is “brutal,” says Nancy Preston, a U.S. Army veteran who decided in Iraq that she wanted to work in that business. After learning more about the barriers to entry including the incredible financial risk, little access to capital, and a high likelihood of failure, Preston and her husband decided that instead of opening their own café or food truck, they’d focus on helping simplify the process for other food entrepreneurs.
They opened Milk Money Kitchens in New York, which offers kitchen spaces rented by the hour and business services and consulting to help food entrepreneurs succeed. On April 30, Milk Money Kitchens won the grand prize in Bob Evans Farms’ 2020 Heroes to CEOs grant program. Preston plans to use the $30,000 prize to hire two part-time employees and finalize a lease deal for a second facility, which Milk Money Kitchens needs to fulfill its current foodservice contracts for hospitals and first responders.
The company has helped launch and grow a variety of food businesses including consumer packaged goods, mobile food vendors, cake makers and designers, confectioners and candy-makers, and catering companies. Its success lies in its ability to help food entrepreneurs mitigate their risks of failure, such as decreasing costs. For instance, if an entrepreneur starts a donut bakery in New York City, he will typically spend more than $350,000 to get his first donut to market, Preston says. At Milk Money Kitchens, the first batch of donuts costs $42 an hour.
“We turn hundreds of thousands of dollars of fixed costs into variable costs, meaning a ‘food-preneur’ only pays for their food business when they are fulfilling sales,” Preston says. “Similar to an electric bill where you only pay for what you use, Milk Money Kitchens turns a pay-to-play system into a pay-as-you-go system.”
Milk Money Kitchens focuses on jumpstarting local food businesses because these businesses will create opportunities to reach more food insecure communities. As those businesses grow, they employ other local residents, offer more benefits, purchase from local vendors, and empower the launch of new vendors, says Preston.
“America’s food system is an essential system and riddled with complexity, because most Americans live 100+ miles from their food sources,” she says. “Improving our food systems takes real innovation and innovators. Imagine what real food innovations will come when makers and future innovators can start to develop a concept with the amount of money they can save in a few days—not two decades.”
France-based Carbios is developing the first biological technology to transform the end-of-life of plastics, says Martin Stephan, deputy CEO of Carbios.
The dangers of a high-sodium diet have been well documented, but a new technology devised by scientists from Washington State University could help reduce sodium in processed foods while retaining taste and texture.
A study found that people who drank beverages that contained the low-calorie sweetener sucralose did experience metabolic problems and issues with neural responses but only when the beverage was formulated with both sucralose and a tasteless sugar (maltodextrin).
An interview with Chef J Michael Melton of Impossible Foods
A look at innovations in metal packaging with a focus on cans and pouches.
The article previews IFT20 scientific sessions
Hartman Group report Sustainability 2019: Beyond Business as Usual.
As part of its commitment to sustainably nourish the world, Cargill has released its mid-year report on its progress toward building a deforestation-free soy supply chain.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) has announced a $90 million investment in research projects seeking to improve the sustainability of the U.S. food supply.
According to Reuters, African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), an American nonprofit organization, has launched a $40 million joint venture with African Green Resources (AGR), one of Zambia’s top farm suppliers, to boost crop yields and food security as farmers struggle to access finance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
PepsiCo has published its 2019 Sustainability Report, highlighting progress toward its sustainability goals and reaffirming the company’s plan to help build a more sustainable food system.
Danone North America and Brightseed, a biosciences company and developer of artificial intelligence (AI) that maps novel plant nutrients to human health, have announced a new partnership.