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The 10 most innovative food companies of 2020

From carbon-captured vodka to more stringent labeling standards, these companies are revolutionizing the food industry.

The 10 most innovative food companies of 2020
THE WORLD’S 50 MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES
Food
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Whether combating waste or developing sustainable alternatives to meats, these innovators are building momentum with consumers and business customers such as Burger King and Starbucks.

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1. Beyond Meat

For marbling its fast-food distribution—and its profits

When Beyond Meat debuted on the Nasdaq in early May, the stock quickly soared. By the end of its first day of trading, the price more than doubled—closing at $65.75 after being set at $25. That made it the biggest IPO pop for a company with a market cap larger than $200 million that Wall Street had seen since 2000.

Read more about why Beyond Meat is one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020.

2. Sweetgreen

For stationing outposts everywhere its customers work to mass deliver fresh salads

On top of introducing a five-month parental leave policy and helping to reinvent school lunches, Sweetgreen launched Outpost, offering a custom kiosk in corporate offices where workers can receive their deliveries. The company aims to have more than 3,000 Outpost locations by the end of the year.

Read more about why Sweetgreen is one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020.

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3. Indigo

For bringing the climate-change fight to American soil

Pioneering the field of regenerative agriculture, Indigo is working to help farmers sequester carbon back into the soil, a potential key to carbon reduction in the climate fight. The process works by letting companies buy offsets and using that money to pay farmers to adopt regenerative practices They have three million acres of soil committed.

Read more about why Indigo is one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020.

4. Chobani

For embracing fair trade to help dairy farmers and milking consumer demand for plant-based products

Laying the groundwork for a more sustainable future, high-profile dairy company Chobani is making a bold pivot into nondairy, both with Oat and with their coconut yogurt.

5. Kind

For crusading for more stringent food-labeling standards

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The company’s fights with the FDA and Clif over labelling have led to important changes in food labeling and ingredient disclosure (even occasionally at the expense of Kind’s own recipes), and its new campaign about synthetic dyes in kids’ food shows that it’s going to continue to pick these fights.

6. Impossible Foods

For creating a BK sensation and debuting faux pork

In addition to the successful roll out of the Impossible Whopper, the company received FDA approval of heme as food safe and launched the product in some grocery stores.

7. Brightloom

For offering all restaurants the kind of digital prowess that powers Starbucks’s mobile app

Last year, the four-year-old company completed its pivot from the quinoa-themed, kiosk-centric eatery Eatsa to the automated restaurant technology Brightloom, which powers the mobile app and customer loyalty program for Starbucks.

8. Athletic Brewing

For crafting a nonalcoholic brew that can go toe-to-toe with the best IPAs

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Athletic was the first beer in the no-ABV space—it might seem like a gimmick, but it’s inspired several other breweries, and the “sober-curious” movement has become one of the biggest wellness trends of the year.

9. Imperfect Foods

For diverting more than 100 million pounds of food from being wasted, and expanding into Minneapolis and New York

Dedicated to helping reduce the estimated 133 billion pounds of food that goes to waste each year, Imperfect Picks expands the company’s focus beyond produce to include more than 200 shelf-stable grocery items, from beans and spices to dairy and “not-quite-tri-color quinoa.”

10. Air Co.

For capturing carbon and converting it into an ultra-premium $65 vodka

This vodka company uses captured CO2 to create its product, each bottle representing the equivalent of eight trees absorbing carbon for a day. Available now in bars and restaurants in Brooklyn, Air Co’s vodka signals a new trend in finding smart ways to tie products more directly to environmental progress.

Read more about Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies:

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