How AB InBev's Sustainability Accelerator is Fostering Start-ups Solving Industry Problems

Consumers have new standards when it comes to the foodservice industry. They are educated when it comes to food sourcing, ingredients, nutrition, technology, environmental practices and more.

The big companies fostering innovation and looking to support companies that solve bigger problems in the industry continue to stay ahead of the curve, while also giving today's consumers exactly what they want.

On this episode of The Barron Report, Host Paul Barron sits down with Maisie Devine, global director of sustainability investments & accelerator at AB InBev to learn more about how the company is nurturing start-ups with a focus on sustainability.

So how does a start-up get involved with a partner like AB InBev?

Last August, AB InBev started its search by launching a set of challenge statements, focused on topics like packaging and clean energy. Then the company started accepting applications from companies that have developed some solutions to these industry-wide problems. After receiving 660 applications, there were a lot of companies to consider.

"We were really looking for a little bit later stage companies. That were product ready and that we could implement our resources and our scale to fuel growth for those companies," says Devine.

One of the fun companies Ab InBev select is the Belgium-based concept called Do Eat, which has made compostable and edible packaging from beer and potato waste.

Listen to the episode above to learn more about this unique accelerator program and how these companies are changing the food system for the better.

Robot Employees are the Latest Grocery Store Technology

2019 is proving to be an innovative year for the foodservice industry. Technological advances such as cashless stores and apps that help fill more restaurant seats with hungry diners aren’t the only latest trends.

Some of the latest innovations we’ve seen at Foodable are introducing technological advances, like robots, to the grocery store space.

Grocery chain Stop and Shop, is partnering with mobile market startup Robomart to bring a new method of grocery delivery to Boston this Spring. Instead of having customers order their groceries and deliver them to the door, customers will be able to order a remote-operated Robomart vehicle to their door via an app and pick out their own produce from a pre-stocked vehicle.

The Robomart app utilizes a patent-pending RFID “check-out free” system, charging customers automatically for items.

Another way technology is becoming more prevalent in the grocery store space is shown by Giant Food Stores.

Recently, the chain introduced a robot named Marty to its 172 United States stores. Marty is  built to roam around the store, looking for spills and trip hazards, which are reported to store employees. But that’s not all Marty can do, the robot can scan shelves for items that are out of stock, and perform price checks, looking for discrepancies between the shelf and the store’s scanning system.

Watch the video above to learn about other technological advances in the grocery store industry, and what companies are employing robots.

Produced by:

Rachel Brill

Rachel Brill

Social Producer


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Craft Beer Acquisitions: Sellouts or Success Stories?

Craft Beer Acquisitions: Sellouts or Success Stories?

The craft beer sector has shown a steady growth despite many small and independent breweries being acquired by beer giants.

According to the Brewers Association (BA), “in 2016, craft brewers produced 24.6 million barrels, and saw a 6 percent rise in volume on a comparable base and a 10 percent increase in retail dollar value...By adding 1.4 million barrels, craft brewer growth outpaced the 1.2 million barrels lost from the craft segment, based on purchases by large brewing companies. Microbreweries and brewpubs delivered 90 percent of the craft brewer growth.”

In an effort to continue nurturing that growth, the BA decided to create an Independent Craft Brewer Seal with the reasoning that the logo would serve as a tool for craft-beer enthusiasts to distinguish if their favorite beer was made by an independent brewer or not. In order to carry the stamp, a brewery has to meet the “craft brewer definition” determined by BA.

Craft Brewer Defined by Brewers Association

  • Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales)
  • Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
  • A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.

Foodable has been following the growth of craft beer in the U.S. since its inception and has reported on the origins of "Beervana," what the craft beer market expectations and challenges are, and has provided a behind the scenes look into some craft beer companies through its show Beer Artisan.

Most recently, though, the debate on what it truly means to be a craft brewer and consumer sentiments towards independent brewers who have been acquired by non-craft beer businesses have sparked Foodable’s curiosity.

Enter Foodable Labs, our sister data company which has helped us compare the overall sentiment scores for three beer brands (Four Peaks Brewing, Cigar City Brewery, and Lagunitas Brewing) before and after their acquisitions.

Each beer brand was acquired by a company with more resources with goals of amplifying the beer production as well as the reach of the craft beer’s brand.

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Expert Insight on 'Big Beer' Merger From Stone Brewing Co.’s Bill Sysak

Big beer is big business. But that statement has been threatened by smaller craft beer companies as consumer demand and education has evolved and increased. With the recent merger buzz of AB InBev and SAB Miller, what does this mean for the future of brew and perhaps more importantly, for micro-brewers?

In this “On Foodable Weekly” episode, we’re joined by Bill Sysak, also known as Dr. Bill, craft beer ambassador and Certified Cicerone® at Stone Brewing Co., the eighth largest craft brewer in the United States. 

Watch the full episode to get expert insight on why AB InBev is taking this strategy (it’s probably not what you’d think), how it will affect international beer markets, and what this means for the craft beer community.