The Atlantic’s “Silicon Valley Is Coming for Your Chocolate” by Larissa Zimberoff explores the startups taking new approaches to chocolate and focuses in part on IndieBio’s California Cultured (SOSV IBSF11 2021) and Voyage Foods.
Zimberoff writes that California Cultured, which produces lab cultures cacao cells, the essential ingredient in chocolate, is driven by the challenges in the legacy chocolate industry, specifically “disease, deforestation, continued child-labor issues, and unpredictable cocoa yields.”
Voyage’s chocolate bar will be available in stores later this year and is made from upcycled grape seeds. “We’re trying to reimagine the potential of nature,” the company’s founder, Adam Maxwell, told Zimberoff.
To underscore the crisis looming for chocolate production, Zimberoff quotes Howard-Yana Shapiro, a senior fellow at UC Davis’s Agricultural Sustainability Institute and an adviser to the manufacturer Mars: “Cacao is in danger. Everything is wrong with the production system: low productivity. Low prices. Lack of environmental stewardship. Ten years out is not a pretty picture without major restoration and building a resilient supply chain.”