Four female Food Tech founders you need to know about
Wednesday 22nd March
We recently celebrated International Women’s Day but here at YFood we’re not ones to limit our celebrations of all the inspirational women in tech to one day. Studies have shown that startups with women at the driving seat are on the up and with a largely female team at YFood's core, we truly believe in the power of women to drive the fast-growing Food Tech industry forward. Here we showcase a handful of killer women who are driving the food industry in innovative and interesting directions and ask them what they think women can, and do bring to this growing sector. So without further ado...
Tarryn Gorre – Kafoodle
Tarryn Gorre is the founder of Kafoodle, a software startup that allows food businesses to comply confidently with international food legislation by accurately listing ingredients, including potential allergens which in turn allows diners to have access to the nutritional information they need. For Tarryn, being able to combine her love for food with technology has been the motivation behind Kafoodle, which at present is one of the only tech solutions of its kind in the market. She truly believes that ‘technology will change our lives for the better and can help so many people live a healthier and happier life’. This knowledge that she is able to help people whilst doing something she loves motivates her every day.
And she’s not the only one. The NHS has considered the rise of food allergy incidents an epidemic in England and it shares Kafoodle’s mission to make the food industry more transparent. As such, Kafoodle has been awarded a government grant to expand into the social care sector.
To overcome the various challenges of growing a business, Tarryn has found it helpful to surround herself with other women who understand her struggles. She tells us that what she personally loves about her female founder network is that they know how to let their hair down and pull each other back up when having a bad day. For Tarryn she finds the emotional support and compassion that women bring to be unique.
With global expansion on the horizon, it’s clear Tarryn and her team have developed a software for which there is an important need in the market. All made possible by combining two things they love; food and tech.
Iseult Ward – FoodCloud
Iseult Ward is co-founder of FoodCloud; a social enterprise that coordinates food surplus between businesses and charities to ensure no edible food is wasted, whilst building meaningful community relationships. To date, over 12 million meals have been donated through FoodCloud, which counts Tesco as one of its clients in its mission to help the supermarket giant ensure that no food safe for human consumption is wasted from any of its UK stores.
Iseult knows that our global food system has to change if we want to feed 9 billion people sustainably and equitably by 2050 and it’s this knowledge combined with her passion to create a solution to food waste that drives her. She told YFood, ‘knowing that we are playing even a small role in creating positive and necessary change is a great motivator.’
FoodCloud shows how the vision of one individual can bring change to real issues, but Iseult also highlights the importance of having a network of female entrepreneurs and role models. She believes that women can often have a different approach to problem solving than men and having a good balance of both can be very powerful.
Solveiga Pakštaitė – Bump Mark
In a different use of waste-combatting technology, Solveiga Pakštaitė is making scientific developments to create Bump Mark; a bio-reactive food expiry labelling material that responds to decay at the same rate as the food and changes texture as a signalling method. Solvegia’s aim is to reduce food waste and also provide tactile information for the visually impaired. She is on a mission to make food labelling more accurate and change the way the food industry operates.
As Solveiga embraces the world of scientific technology, she is conscious about the male-dominance that still exists in the industry, despite women being more readily associated with food. In developing an innovative, unique and useful product, Solveiga believes that gaining perspectives from lots of different people is really important. It’s impossible for a team made up of people of the same gender with similar backgrounds to fully appreciate the full scope of scenarios that a product will be used in and she therefore thinks that promoting diversity is key.
Laboratory testing of Bump Mark will soon be complete to show it is a reliable method for detecting food spoilage. In 2018, this new technology will be launched onto supermarket shelves meaning that all consumers, including the visually impaired, will be able to make better use of their food and cut waste.
Riya Grover – Feedr
Last but not least, Riya Grover is the driving force behind Feedr; an online marketplace that brings healthy and nutritious meals into the workplace. Riya recognises that food preferences have evolved significantly in recent years and an increasing number of people aspire to eat well, a sentiment she very much shares. To feed this growing appetite for healthier food, the business model of Feedr allows meal orders to be bundled together within workplaces and campuses to make deliveries more efficient, and as a result, has the capacity to serve 10,000 meals each day.
Having just made the transition from an exciting idea; scaling a business is one of the most challenging things Riya has ever done. But she is excited to be a woman in the world of nutrition, an industry that has many female thought leaders and in which the female voice is prominent. She believes that there are nuances around the subject of wellness that women capture really well, and she believes that women bring a lot of creativity to the sector.
With the vision of integrating Feedr into more companies and campuses over the next year as well as expanding to new cities, Feedr is looking to grow its team so do get in touch with Riya if you share her passion for using tech to drive healthy eating in the workplace.
These four inspiring women are developing technology in ways that positively impact food production and consumption and create a healthier, more sustainable food ecosystem. With the dedication to develop an idea into a viable business for which there is a recognised need, Riya, Tarryn, Iseult and Solveiga are successfully changing how we think about and engage with food. We’ll be eagerly watching as they grow their businesses and continue to drive change.
For more information on our Food Tech Heroines:
Tarryn Gorre: www.kafoodle.com | @Kafoodle
Solveiga Pakstaite: www.designbysol.co.uk/bumpmark/ | @BumpMarkTech
Riya Grover: www.teamfeedr.com/home | @teemfeedr
Iseult Ward: www.food.cloud / @FoodCloud
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