Archive For The “Israeli FoodTech” Category

Israeli Startup Pushes Cannabis as a Food Topping!

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Israeli Startup Pushes Cannabis as a Food Topping!

Cannibble (or the truncation of cannabis and edible) may be the next buzzword with legs if this Israeli startup has its way.

For decades, cannabis was classified by the United Nations as a drug with high potential for abuse and no medical value. The plant was included under Schedule I and IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs alongside psychotropic and even potentially fatal such as cocaine and fentanyl.

After more than 50 years of restricted research, almost no access to medical cannabis, and a crescendo of cannabis-related arrests and police seizures, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched in-depth research into the plant, announcing in 2018 that Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive derivative of the cannabis plant, should be removed from all schedules.

Today, medical cannabis is decriminalized or legalized in over 20 countries, and millions of people every year are consuming the drug recreationally – that is, just for fun.

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Pancakes with hemp from Cannibble’s brand The Pelicann. Courtesy
One Israeli team is ready to enter the recreational market with a line of CBD products that will expand on the definition of cannabis “edibles” from snacks like brownies and gummies to an entire breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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Cannibble FoodTech Ltd., based in the central city of Kfar Saba and founded in 2018 by CEO Yoav Bar Joseph, CTO Elad Barkan, CFO Asaf Porat and VP of Business Development Ziv Turner, is creating over 100 CBD-infused, powder-based instant mixes for baking, beverages and spices. These can be used to make quick-mix shakes, pancakes, popcorn butter, falafel, iced and hot drinks, toppings and so on.

Cannibble, pronounced “can nibble” for cannabis and nibble (and not “cannibal,” thank heavens), calls itself the “industrial connection between cannabis and foodtech,” and infuses its premixed foods, beverages, and nutritional supplements with CBD and delta 9-tetrahydorcannabinol (THC) in a controlled and measured dosage.

“Edibles are a delivery system, just like suppositories, ointments, topicals, capsules,” Turner tells NoCamels. “It’s a smoking replacement for active cannabinoids. We have to remember that all consumers like to eat and drink. If people don’t like to smoke, they can have another option on the shelf,”

Edibles of all kinds, for all kinds

Saul Kaye, a cannabis expert and founder of cannabis tech startup accelerator iCAN, says edibles are an exploding market right now as consumers are always looking for new ways to consume cannabis. But, there are still challenges and consumers may wonder how they will be affected by them.

“Smoking is consistent, it’s measurable – puff once, puff twice, puff three times,” Kaye tells NoCamels. “With edibles, there’s a variance in how they get absorbed and that’s one of the challenges. A 10-milligram capsule might affect me differently each time that I take it.”

The effects of consumption vary among users, like any other medication. Turner addresses this by saying Cannibble’s products contain the “perfect dosage” in every serving, whether the product is a single serving or larger.

Cannabis consumers can generally choose between products with only CBD, or products that also contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive derivative of the cannabis plant.

Cannibble’s dry powder line, under the brand name The Pelicann, will offer both CBD and THC products, as well as products containing hemp, a strain of the cannabis plant with no psychoactive properties. Each type of product offers its own benefits, Turner explains.

“THC is the psychoactive one, it gets you high, but also THC is one of the best painkillers,” Turner explains. He says both have medical qualities. “CBD is anti-inflammatory, it helps with glaucoma, epilepsy,” and other conditions.

The hemp products are high in protein and fiber, and will feature low sugar, low-calorie shakes, power bars, and granola mixes, targeting athletes and the trendy wellness market in the US.

Regulatory challenges

Because Cannibble is restricted from distributing its products within Israel, the startup will have its primary production facilities in California and Florida. While Israel is at the forefront of medical cannabis research, recreational use is still not legal, and the recent approval of exports has done little for the medical cannabis consumption market.

“There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the market in terms of investment, until it happens…the money’s not really going to flow,” Kaye says of Israel’s cannabis export production, which he admits hasn’t fully come to fruition yet. “That hurts the industry, it hurts the economy, and the government is missing out on the massive opportunity to actualize on this now.”

The CBD and hemp powders are expected to hit the shelves of American supermarket chains such as Walmart, Publix and 7-Eleven, as well as dispensaries, as soon as the end of 2019. Manufacturing and distributing of THC products, Turner said, will have to be determined state by state. While the use and sale of cannabis containing over 0.3 percent THC is currently illegal under federal jurisdiction in the United States, several states have decriminalized and even legalized recreational use, including Oregon, Colorado, and California.

Kaye says California is the most important recreational market in the world right now.

“That’s where legalized cannabis is interesting,” Kaye continues. “If you can make it in California, you can make it anywhere in the world.”

And Cannibble is ready to tap into California’s burgeoning recreational cannabis market. In June, the California-based vertically integrated cannabis platform and contract manufacturer Natura Life + Science announced a partnership with the Israeli company to make its products available in the Golden State beginning in the third quarter of 2019.

“We are excited to partner with such a professional group of cannabis experts as Natura,” Yoav Bar Joseph said in the statement announcing the partnership. “We can’t wait to see our products available for the first time in the US.”

“Natura is committed to manufacturing products that are safe, high-quality and consistent – products consumers can trust,” said Ori Bytton, Natura founder and CEO. “Our partnership with Cannibble allows us to offer our contact manufacturing partners and consumers unique cannabis food products they won’t find anywhere else. We will bring a whole new level of edible offerings to market.”

Looking to the edible future

Turner says Cannibble is already planning its expansion to the rest of the world and its planned initial public offering (IPO) with the Canadian Stock Exchange at the end of 2020’s first quarter is just the first step. He says they are looking to eventually expand throughout all of North America and Europe with the company’s CBD products.

“We have to remember Europe is a big place,” Turner says. “We have to be very choosy with what we do right now because we are a small company. This is why we are doing a public fundraising round to cover all those opportunities.”

Cannibble recently raised over $1 million from its crowdfunding efforts with Israeli crowdfunding platform Pipelbiz.

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A Taste of Israel-1 Click Cravings … Satisfied

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A Taste of Israel-1 Click Cravings … Satisfied

While traveling to Israel to sample exciting local flavors is on hold for the time being — as coronavirus lockdowns continue to restrict tourism – bringing the country’s delicious tastes into your home is as easy as a click of a button.

Israeli cuisine initiatives are bursting with this country’s traditional flavors in online cooking workshops, subscription snack boxes and follow-along video tutorials.

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“You can’t travel right now but you can still get the physical taste of Israel in your home kitchen,” says Harry Rubenstein, a pastry chef and food tour guide who runs online Israeli cooking workshops. “During this time, when people aren’t able to visit Israel, this is a great opportunity for them to get a taste of Israel in their own homes. And not by watching a YouTube video but by interacting with someone in Israel.

“People are under lockdown and they want something to do. It’s not like watching a video. You can ask questions in real time,” he says.

Rubenstein’s cooking workshops, which range from private to pay-as-you-can, include how to make Israeli dishes, tricks he has learned from his pastry chef studies, and the history of the dishes.

Most importantly, Rubenstein makes sure that everyone taking part in the online workshops can access all the ingredients from their home countries. “Using high-quality and accessible ingredients,” he shows people how to create “authentic local cuisine.

Israel’s food scene is famous, after all. The diverse food culture is bursting with flavors. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel was listed by international media as a must-visit foodie destination for 2020.

“People miss travel. They are literally craving the tastes of their travels and the places they love,” Inbal Baum, a foodie entrepreneur and founder of Delicious Israel food tours, tells NoCamels. “It’s a hard time, people are thinking about where they want to be, where they had amazing memories with their families, where they got to have great experiences and Israel is at the top of the list for so many people.”

Indeed, Israeli food is exciting, delicious, and memorable. NoCamels offers this list of how to enjoy a taste of Israel in your own home:

Harry Rubenstein – Harry’s Baked

Rubenstein’s cooking workshops spotlight the multicultural fabric of Israel. While he can teach how to make hummus or challah, Rubenstein prefers to present the history behind ethnic dishes that have become staples of the Israeli culinary scene and show how to make them.

He has taught online classes on how to make arais/arayes (Middle Eastern meat-stuffed pita pockets), shakshuka (eggs poached in tomato-based sauce), and sambusak (savory stuffed pastries)

“I like talking about the history of the ingredient and how it came to be used in Israel, whether it is a local ingredient that the Palestinians have been using for many years or it’s something that was brought from Iraq or elsewhere to Israel,” he tells NoCamels. “I’m trying to bring that knowledge of the ingredients, not just how to use them but the history, too.

A food tour guide before Covid-19 hit, Rubenstein also shows and tells about local food items viewers can sample when the borders open once again.

His workshops are not just about eating but about learning, too.

“If there is a recipe that has pomegranate molasses in it, I’m clearly not going to have pomegranate molasses in the recipe because that’s not so accessible, especially during the lockdown. But I will show what it is and talk about the specialty store at which I bought it in the Levinsky Market. I will show it to them and explain how it’s made and how it’s used,” he says.

This inside knowledge is Rubenstein’s calling card. And he’s only too willing to share it with the online community.

Phyllis Glazer – Healthy Comfort Food

Repeatedly dubbed by local and international media as the Israeli guru of healthy cooking, Phyllis Glazer brings nutritious Israeli cuisine into your home via online cooking workshops.

Glazer – a chef, writer, TV personality, and best-selling cookbook author – tells NoCamels that her personalized workshops focus on the “healthy” aspects of “quality Israeli food [which is] delicious and interesting.”

She builds vegan and vegetarian menus around Israel’s ethnic and culinary traditions, adding “a touch of mom” to every recipe. That “touch of mom” she says, belongs to the multicultural roots of Israeli culinary traditions hailing from places as varied as Bulgaria, Morocco, Egypt, Iraq, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Ethiopia and Europe.

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Look Out, Artificial Intelligence, Here Comes Artificial Honey

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Look Out, Artificial Intelligence, Here Comes Artificial Honey

A team of Israeli students from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology won a gold medal in a prestigious, international science competition in Boston earlier this month for their development of artificial, bee-free honey.

The Technion team has been working on the development of the honey for the past year, according to the university, and won a gold medal for its efforts at the iGEM competition (International Genetically Engineered Machine), a contest established in 2003 by MIT – The Massachusetts Institute of Technology that gives students the opportunity to experiment with aspects of scientific and applied research in synthetic biology.

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The Israeli team – made up of 12 students in total – was among over 300 teams from universities all over the world, the university said in a statement last week.

Their synthetic honey is made with the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, which “learns” to produce the honey following reprogramming in the lab, the Technion said. Also known as hay bacillus or grass bacillus, Bacillus subtilis is found in soil and vegetation and is also present in the gastrointestinal tracts of humans.

“The bacteria can independently control the production of enzymes, eventually achieving a product with the same sugar profile as real honey, and the same health benefits,” the team’s entry on the competition’s website explains.

“The high secretion capacity of well-developed commercial strains [of Bacillus subtilis] made it a prime candidate to produce our target enzymes and create the ‘BeeFree’ honey,” the students wrote, adding that the bacteria’s natural ability to produce catalase, one of their target enzymes, made it an ideal choice.

The development, the Technion said, is important within the context of the sharp decline in bee populations in many parts of the world, also known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), as well as the potential future ability of manufacturers to determine the properties of the artificial honey, including how it would taste.

The product would be considered vegan as no animals will have been used in the process to make the synthetic honey.

“The winnings in the competition are definitely exciting, but equally important is the intellectual property created around the project,” said Prof. Roee Amit, head of the Synthetic Biology Laboratory for the Decipherment of Genomic Codes in the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, who led the team.

If the artificial honey becomes available commercially, it will have tapped into a vegan food market worth over $20 billion worldwide by 2026.

One of the requirements of the competition is to develop a scientific-technological idea alongside a real business enterprise. “Group members are required to raise research funding, meet with relevant experts from academia and industry, and perform experiments to improve the product,” the Technion said.

The Technion said student groups from the university have been participating in the iGEM competition since 2012 under the initiative of Prof. Amit and Lab Director Dr. Orna Atar, and have come away with six gold medals over the years, including this year.

The gold medals are not grand prizes; they are awarded for recognition of excellence, iGem explains. A total of 163 gold medals were handed out during the competition, as well as 77 silver medals, and 57 bronze medals.

This year’s grand prizes went to a team from Taiwan in the undergrad track, for developing a comprehensive approach to chronic kidney disease; a team for Switzerland in a graduate track for introducing a field-deployable test enabling farmers to detect plant diseases and save crop loss, while reducing pesticide use; and a team from China in the high school track for a biosynthesis of colored spider silk, “with applications in medicine, textiles, and aerospace fields.

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Snoop Dogg Signs On As Spokesperson for Israeli Cannabis Startup Seedo

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Snoop Dogg Signs On As Spokesperson for Israeli Cannabis Startup Seedo

Israeli cannabis startup Seedo, the company that has developed a fully-automated indoor medical cannabis grow device, has signed US rapper and cannabis icon Snoop Dogg as a brand ambassador.

The Israeli company said in a statement on Tuesday that Snoop, né Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., will work with Seedo “on a variety of platforms” to “achieve optimal consumer awareness of this innovative technology.”

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Founded in 2013, Seedo developed a fully automated and controlled indoor growing device, resembling a mini-fridge, for pesticide-free agriculture markets with a first focus on cannabis but with wider applications. The product analyzes growth and optimizes conditions for cannabis and other plants for home and commercial use. Monitoring occurs via smartphone app.

Seedo says the device can grow the cannabis plant from seed stage without human intervention over the course of 90 days, making for an independently run cannabis growing operation. The machine weighs between 120-140 pounds (54-63 kg) and measures 40 by 24.4 by 24.4 inches (101 x 62 x 62cm), with units listed at $2,400 each. Seedo says its AI-powered turnkey systems allow anyone, “from average consumers to large-scale producers” to grow a variety of plants at lab-grade quality “without prior experience or ample space.”

Snoop Dogg – whose hits include the track “Smoke Weed Every Day” – said: “Promoting a healthier lifestyle by providing my friends and communities with products that allow for growth in unused urban spaces is something I’m all the way down with.”

“Seedo creates cost savings and the opportunity for all people to benefit from agricultural technologies,” added the rapper, a mega-star and cannabis advocate whose marijuana use is a big part of his public image and his music. In 2012, when Snoop Dogg was briefly known as Snoop Lion, he told a Reddit audience in an AMA – ask me anything – post that he smokes about 81 blunts per day.

And in an interview last week, he revealed that he employs a full-time “blunt roller” who he pays between $40,000 to $50,000 per year, and whose sole responsibility is to prepare Snoop’s preferred marijuana delivery system.

His social media presence, with 36 million followers on Instagram alone, is filled with cannabis memes and references. Snoop Dogg is also a long-time cannabis entrepreneur. In 2015, he co-founded the media organization Merry Jane, which focuses on news about cannabis, and launched a new line of cannabis products called Leafs by Snoop offering a range of flowers, concentrates, and edibles.

Seedo CEO Zohar Levy said the company was “honored to partner with an industry icon like Snoop Dogg.”

“Snoop’s vast global following, industry influence and network reach will provide us an invaluable resource for Seedo as we continue to grow. The synergy between Seedo’s products and Snoop’s platforms is truly natural,” Levy added.

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Israeli Firm Aleph Farms Grows Beefsteak in Space

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Israeli Firm Aleph Farms Grows Beefsteak in Space

Where’s the beef? Looks like it’s in space.

Israeli clean meat startup Aleph Farms, which unveiled the world’s first slaughter-free steak grown from animal cells late last year, says it has conducted a most unusual experiment to make its meat product on the International Space Station (ISS) some 248 miles (339 km) away. The ISS is a low-orbit space station that serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory between five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).

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Aleph Farms said the project was a bid to demonstrate its “mission to provide sustainable food security on Earth, and beyond, by producing meat regardless [of] availability of land and local water resources.”

“In space, we don’t have 10,000 or 15,000 liters (3962.58 gallons) of water available to produce one kilogram (2.205 pounds) of beef,” said Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, in a statement.

The experiment, he said, “marks a significant first step toward achieving our vision to ensure food security for generations to come, while preserving our natural resources.” Founded in 2017 by Toubia and Professor Shulamit Levenberg as part of a collaboration between Israeli food tech incubator The Kitchen, and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Aleph Farms says its 3D technology enables it to mimic traditional cuts of beef in both structure and texture. Just without beef’s huge environmental impact, its heavy resource requirements, or its contribution to climate change.

Its method to produce cultivated beef steaks relies on mimicking a natural process of muscle-tissue regeneration occurring inside the cow’s body, but under controlled conditions. The startup says it implements a combination of six unique technologies that allow it to drop the production costs of the meat, including innovative approaches to an animal-free growth medium to nourish the cells, and bioreactors – the tanks in which the tissue grows. In December, Aleph Farms unveiled the first prototype of lab-grown steak in the world – to much fanfare.

To conduct the experiment, Aleph Farms teamed up with Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions, which develops implementations of 3D bioprinting technologies, and two American companies, Meal Source Technologies and Finless Foods, to carry out the process on September 26. Aboard the Russian segment of the ISS, they used a unique technology of magnetic biofabrication, developed by 3D Bioprinting Solutions, to produce bovine, mummichog and rabbit myoblast/fibroblast constructs provided by Aleph Farms, Finless Foods, and Meal Source Technologies, respectively. All under microgravity conditions.

Aleksandr Ostrovsky, co-founder of 3D Bioprinting Solutions and Meal Source Technologies said, “We believe that biofabrication of cultured meat in space has several unique advantages such as sustainability, personalization, and biosafety. What is more, creating cultured meat products in space may grant invaluable scientific insights for implementation of this technology on Earth.”

Hailing a “successful proof of concept,” Aleph Farms said the cutting-edge research “in some of the most extreme environments imaginable serves as an essential growth indicator of sustainable food production methods that don’t exacerbate land waste, water waste, and pollution.”

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Get a Taste of Israeli Food-Tech

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Get a Taste of Israeli Food-Tech

PepsiCo, Danone, and Mondelez International, the parent company of Oreo, Cadbury, and Toblerone to name a few, were just some of the leading global food corporations to make their way to Israel this week for a taste of the latest local innovations in food, beverage, and agriculture technology.

The multinational companies took part in the annual FoodTechIL event, a conference on Tuesday at the Tel Aviv port that drew some 1,500 participants (according to organizers) including senior executives, investors, representatives from more than 50 startups as part of an exhibition on the latest technologies in the food sector. The event was hosted by the Strauss Group, one of Israel’s biggest food product companies, which also runs the food tech accelerator The Kitchen. A number of the startups in the exhibition are part of the accelerator, including several that have garnered international attention like Aleph Farms which unveiled the world’s first lab-grown, slaughter-free steak late last year, and the award-winning company Yofix which makes plant-based, soy-free yogurts.

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“Businesses today understand that we have a crucial role in using technology to make a positive impact on society, on people’s health and wellness and the environment,” said Ofra Strauss, Chairperson of the Strauss Group, in a statement. “Our responsibility is to make food in a sustainable way that goes beyond profits and revenue and focuses on people, society and the planet.”

“As someone who was born into the food industry, food is not just words for me, I know that food matters,” Strauss said in an address at the event. To meet global challenges in the food chain supply and to feed a growing world population, “we cannot continue to do things the way we used to do,” she said. “We must reimagine the whole food world, we must renew it, and we must reassure everyone around it that we know what we are going to do.”

The food and agriculture industry is one of the largest and most important industries in the world, worth an estimated $8.7 trillion in 2018.

In Israel, food-agri tech firms drew some $103 million in equity investment in 2018, “putting the Israeli sector on par with, and sometimes exceeding, much larger nations like Australia and India,” according to a newly published report by Start-Up Nation Central (SNC).

And 2019 is on track to be a record funding year for the sector with $135 million in investments so far (up to Q3), SNC said. This includes the $22 million raised by DouxMatok, a startup that developed a patented sugar reduction solution and which has drawn international attention. According to the newest data, Israel is home to 350 food-agri startups (as of mid-2019) founded in the past decade that focus on “deep tech” innovation primarily for the global agri-food industry. SNC also noted an increased rate of new company creation, with an annual average of 37 new startups since 2014. And since 2016, 124 startups have been established, more than the total founded in the previous six years.

This trend represents a “second wave” of food-agri tech innovation, SNC says, “driven by both the growing global demand for efficient and sustainable food production technologies and the strength of various technologies in Israel,” such as AI, robotics, data, sensing, and computation.

According to a report earlier this year by SNC and AgFunder, Israeli startups offering advanced imagery tech and complex systems such as farm management software, sensors and IoT, pest and disease detection and water efficiency tech for crops, drew the largest investments in 2018. These include companies like precision agriculture startup Taranis which raised $20 million, SeeTree, an agri-tech intelligence company that uses drones and sensor technology to provide farmers with actionable analytics on their crops and trees and which raised $15 million, and CropX which built machine-learning powered devices that go into the soil to boost agricultural output.

Startups focused on agri-biotechnology including AI identification of inputs, algorithm-powered seed breeding, root-based non-GMO breeding, and cures for dairy cows, drew the second-largest number of deals, the report said. This second wave of companies using advanced tech in the food-agri sector builds on the longstanding tradition of innovation and excellence in agriculture that Israel developed over the last 100 years (even before the establishment of the state) to address resource shortages and the existential need to achieve food and water security in a challenging climate, the SNC report reads, referring to this period as the “first wave.”

“As the world’s population rises and urbanizes, standard agricultural methods are not enough to supply it without depleting natural resources and causing severe environmental damage. Climate change makes weather more volatile and less predictable, making growing food even more difficult, according to the report.

Tamar Weiss, SNC’s Agri-Food Tech Sector Development Manager, said in a statement, “We see a transition from food security to nutritional security, and growing interest not only in increasing yield and profit, but also in health and sustainability. Data is transforming this industry.”

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Israeli Vegan Startup Leases 15,000 Amazon Rainforest Acres

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Israeli Vegan Startup Leases 15,000 Amazon Rainforest Acres

Israeli startup VeganNation announced Friday that it leased some 15,000 acres (60.7 square kilometers or 23.4 square miles) in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest for a ten-year period to protect the land from deforestation and wildlife poaching. The Amazon basin covers about 2.7 million square miles, 2.1 million square miles of which is rainforest; and much of it is in Brazil.

VeganNation, which built a global e-commerce platform and social network for vegans worldwide powered by its own digital currency, said it would hand the land over to preservation groups and activist organizations to protect it.

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“The Amazon rainforest might be located in Brazil, but its destruction affects us all, as climate change is a direct result of human activity and it’s in our hands to fight it,” said Isaac Thomas, VeganNation CEO and co-founder.

The startup also announced partnerships with four local soccer teams (Remo, Paysandu, National, and Iranduba) from cities near the entrance to the rainforest to raise environmental awareness. Thomas tells NoCamels that VeganNation is already a main sponsor of the teams – three men’s teams and one women’s team – and revealed that an additional four top-tier national teams are set to sign on to the initiative.

Thomas says the plan has been in the works for months. “We thought how can we take things to the next level, raise awareness about the environment, about veganism, and team up with local soccer teams to raise awareness with fans.”

VeganNation’ initiative comes amid the devastating fires that have continued to burn in the rainforest since early August, releasing dangerous air pollutants into the atmosphere, severely damaging flora and fauna ecosystems, and endangering indigenous communities that live under the forest canopy. The fires can be seen from space.

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It’s all in the Yeast: Beer of Pharaohs Resurrected?

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It’s all in the Yeast: Beer of Pharaohs Resurrected?

A team of Israeli archeologists, microbiologists, and brew experts, recently brewed a beer so old it would have been drunk by Pharaohs some 5,000 years ago. The yeast was discovered in ancient pottery from that era.

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In the study, authored by over a dozen scientists from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, Ariel University, and the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, the researchers wrote that they “developed a pipeline of yeast isolation from clay vessels and screened for yeast cells in beverage-related and non-beverage-related ancient vessels and sediments from several archaeological sites,” finding that “yeast cells could be successfully isolated specifically from clay containers of fermented beverages.”

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The scientists say that a majority of previous studies of ancient organisms were based mainly on the analysis of ancient DNA, and that attempts to recreate ancient beer and wine were made using “modern ingredients combined with modern domesticated commercial yeast (predominantly Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and not with the actual microorganisms that might have been used in the production of these fermented beverages.”

These results, they wrote, “open new and exciting avenues in the study of domesticated microorganisms and contribute significantly to the fields of bio- and experimental archaeology that aim to reconstruct ancient artifacts and products.”

The team was led by Dr. Ronen Hazan and Dr. Michael Klutstein, microbiologists from the School of Dental Medicine at the Hebrew University, and Dr. Yitzhak Paz from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Paz called the study a “real breakthrough,” asserting that “this is the first time we succeeded in producing ancient alcohol from ancient yeast… This has never been done before.”

In all, the scientists isolated six yeast strains from 21 beer-and mead-related ancient vessels dating back to the reign of Egyptian Pharaoh Narmer (roughly 3000 BCE), Aramean King Hazael (800 BCE) and to Prophet Nehemiah (400 BCE) who, according to the bible, governed Judea under Persian rule.

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Is Israel Becoming Cannabis Nation?

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Is Israel Becoming Cannabis Nation?

Over a thousand visitors from forty-five countries converged on Tel Aviv for CannaTech, the medical Cannabis (marijuana) conference. Participants from the biotech, pharmaceutical, and medicine were all ears (and eyes) at what appears to be the world’s largest medical cannabis conference, giving Israel yet another designation of Cannabis Nation.

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According to Kaye, the Israeli government’s inhibition of cannabis business in the past, which he says was due to fear of the negative image associated with exporting “guns, cannabis, and other drugs,” made medical cannabis a “heavily illegitimate market.” Despite earlier government backlash, however, continuous pressure and a greater number of resources devoted to medical cannabis research have allowed for CannaTech’s consistent growth since its inception in 2015.

As perhaps the chief representative of the Israeli medical cannabis market, CannaTech’s development signifies Israel’s quick emergence as a global industry leader.

“We’re uniquely placed in innovation, ag-tech, water tech, and now canna-tech in order to propel us into what is the next massive industry […] When you add in the culture of funding startups, and the ability to both black market test and sell your product to an audience, that creates an environment that’s fantastic for a growing ecosystem,” Kaye states.

He also cites Israel’s advanced hospitals, universities and claim to the highest number of PHDs per capita as additional contributors to the country’s potential for sustained success in the industry and the world’s primary innovator and producer of medical cannabis.

“Patients who need medicine now have to get it from somewhere – they can get it from Canada or they can get it from Israel. Those are your options in the world. Canada’s leading and Israel will catch up.”

In January, Israel’s Ministry of Health gave its long-awaited approval for the medical cannabis export law, paving the way for the country to become a leading medical cannabis exporter, and participant in the global cannabis sector. Although law enforcement officials have not yet established a framework through which new international cannabis trade will be executed, the market has already begun to feel the law’s effects. “We are talking about a $2 billion industry next year that, last year, was also a $2 billion industry, it just wasn’t legal,” Kaye says.

By 2029, the global cannabis industry is expected to soar to $33 billion, which Kaye believes is necessarily an underestimate: “It’s the fastest growing industry in the world with more consumers than we know about because they have all been in the closet. So, we don’t really know the size, but it’s way bigger than whatever we think it’s going to be.”

Despite the growing support for medical cannabis within Israel and beyond, there are those who still doubt the plant’s positive potential, arguing that it may decrease societal productivity. Kaye urges doubters to reject “uneducated stigma that they’ve been taught for 60 years” and to instead, turn to cannabis research.

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McDonald’s Turns To Israeli-Tech To Customize Orders And Drive-thru

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McDonald’s Turns To Israeli-Tech To Customize Orders And Drive-thru

It’s been a long time since McDonald’s made a major acquisition. Twenty years actually, and their acquisition of Isreali-tech startup Dynamic Yield may be a shrewd move to buy the proprietary AI technology and keep it from their competitor’s reach.

What follows was excerpted and originally reported by

McDonald’s is set to acquire Israeli company Dynamic Yield, a market leader in customer personalization and decision logic technology, the two companies announced on Monday.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but TechCrunch reported that “a source with knowledge” said the agreement was valued at over $300 million and is McDonald’s largest acquisition in 20 years.

Founded in 2011 by Israeli entrepreneurs Liad Agmon and Omri Mendellevich, the New York-headquartered company’s AI-powered omnichannel personalization engine helps product managers, and engineers build personalization campaigns that deliver individualized experiences at every customer touchpoint (online, mobile apps, email, kiosks, IoT, and call centers).

Dynamic Yield says its platform’s data management capabilities “provide for a unified view of the customer, allowing the rapid and scalable creation of highly targeted digital interactions. The company has over 300 clients that have included IKEA, URBN Brands, and Stitch Fix.

McDonald’s said in a statement that it will use Dynamic Yield’s technology “to provide an even more personalized customer experience by varying outdoor digital Drive Thru menu displays to show food based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items.” The tech can also suggest and display additional items based on customer current selections.

“Dynamic Yield’s ability to meet McDonald’s customer needs, coupled with their commitment to grow capabilities around ever-changing consumer trends and evolving marketing technologies, allows for the continued advancement and elevation of the McDonald’s customer experience with technology and innovation,” the fast-food giant said in the statement.

Steve Easterbrook, president and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation, said “technology is a critical element of our Velocity Growth Plan, enhancing the experience for our customers by providing greater convenience on their terms. With this acquisition, we’re expanding both our ability to increase the role technology and data will play in our future and the speed with which we’ll be able to implement our vision of creating more personalized experiences for our customers.

Agmon, who serves as Dynamic Yield’s CEO said: “We started Dynamic Yield seven years ago with the premise that customer-centric brands must make personalization a core activity. We’re thrilled to be joining an iconic global brand such as McDonald’s and are excited to innovate in ways that have a real impact on people’s daily lives.”

According to the agreement, Dynamic Yield will remain a stand-alone company and employees will continue to operate out of its offices across the world, including Berlin, Singapore, Moscow, Paris, London, NY, and Tel Aviv. Dynamic Yield will also continue to serve their current, and attract future, clients.

McDonald’s said upon the completion of the deal, it will become sole owner of Dynamic Yield, and will continue to invest in the company’s “core personalization product and world-class teams.”

Dynamic Yield previously raised some $83 million from investors such as Viola Growth, an Israeli-based technology growth capital fund, Innovation Endeavors, Bessemer Venture Partners, Vertex Ventures Israel, and Union Tech Ventures.

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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