Food and agriculture is one of the largest industries in the world, comprising about 10% of the global GDP. With a rapidly growing industry that everyone relies on, alongside a population becoming more concerned about environmental sustainability, food technology leaders have been diligently working to advance technology in the food industry.
We have profiled five female entrepreneurs who have taken the food tech industry by storm and driven innovation in their respective fields. These women are not only making great strides in food tech but are also inspiring young girls to be passionate about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as only 27% of women comprise STEM occupations in the workforce. In this blog article, we highlight five awe-inspiring women and their groundbreaking technologies, softwares, and products.
Daphna Nissenbaum Co-Founder & CEO, TIPA® Compostable Packaging
Daphna co-founded the innovation of TIPA, a compostable packaging product that mimics the nature of organic waste. Since flexible plastic packaging does not biodegrade, it poses great harms to the environment through toxic residues, microplastics, and other pollutants. Conventional flexible plastic is ranked the #1 polluting source to our oceans, with at least 5M tons discarded each year. TIPA’s ingenious packaging provides the same rich nutrients which organic waste leaves behind, for example, through fertilizing topsoils. TIPA also performs similarly to conventional plastic in terms of durability and shelf life. Daphna was inspired by nature’s natural packaging, similar to an orange or banana peel. TIPA’s goal is to make their packaging compostable like organic matter in order to help facilitate a circular economy.
Melissa Brandão: Founder and CRO of HerdDogg
Melissa Brandão invented a unique digital platform that provides farmers with the ability to monitor their beef, bison, dairy, and sheep. Brandão’s animal traceability platform uses high-tech ear tags that track the wellness of animals so that the best care can be administered and monitored with a digital dashboard interface that offers data insights, alerts, a marketplace, and an auditing system.
Joi Chevalier: Founder and CEO of The Cook’s Nook
Joi Chevalier combined her technical expertise with her love of the culinary arts to establish The Cook’s Nook, a culinary incubator that offers kitchen production space, co-working, business and entrepreneurial development, food service, as well as channel and capital access. Chevalier is a dedicated advocate for women of color in technology by supporting their food entrepreneurship endeavors. She created Chevalier Fellows, which helps extend more opportunities to Black and Brown entrepreneurs in the consumer packaged goods industry.
Chevalier regularly partners with corporate brands to help shape the entrepreneurial process in a corporate setting. She takes action by speaking to audiences about startups, food technology, product management, data, and personalization. The Cook’s Nook offers an array of services, from consulting, to providing food service, and sponsoring events.
*Christine Gould: Founder and CEO of Thought For Food
Christine Gould founded Thought For Food (TFF), an organization that helps encourage younger generations to become problem-solvers for a sustainable future in agriculture. TFF provides Millennials and GenZ with supportive resources and opportunities for their sustainable food and agriculture startup ideas. The TFF Challenge programs foster the rapidly expanding TFF community of over 30,000 people in 75+ countries. Thought For Food has generated 8,000+ new ideas, helped with 80+ startup ideas, and raised more than $200 million with the help of TFF digital labs.
Julia Niiro: Founder and CEO of MilkRun
Niiro founded MilkRun in efforts to provide people with farm fresh goods through a living market database. MilkRun is an online marketplace and distribution system where customers and chefs can access locally produced goods like vegetables, fruit, meat, bread, and more. It’s a simple 3 step process: shop for grocery staples and in-season produce, place an order , and your food will be delivered! Customers have the option to pick up the order or opt for delivery (depending on your geographic location). The boxes, bags, bottles, and egg cartons can be recycled and reused through MilkRun by leaving them on the doorstep for your next delivery. MilkRun’s mission is to help keep cash flows within communities by supporting local producers as many small farms are at risk of extinction from the mega-industrialized agricultural industry.
Advancements in food technology are ever growing. People are constantly inventing more efficient and productive ways of doing everyday tasks. These 5 women leaders are paving their way through the male-dominated field of technology and agriculture. Despite the fact that women have contributed valuable information to STEM fields, women are still underrepresented due to the persistent gender gap over the years. However, women like Joi Chevalier,Julia Niiro and many more have tirelessly and unapologetically carved the path for the younger generations of women to continue to play a critical role in science and technology.