Impact Food Wins the Esteemed Hult Prize

Impact Food has just won the Hult Prize! The UC Berkley plant-based seafood startup team, who got their start at the Alt Meat Lab out of the SCET, managed to come out on top at the esteemed Hult Prize competition, an annual, year-long competition that crowd-sources ideas from MBA and college students after challenging them to solve a pressing social issue around topics such as food security, water access, energy, and education. This victory comes after another recent success for the team: winning the People’s Choice Award at the bi-annual Collider Cup.

Somehow the three Berkeley students behind Impact Food managed to develop a new kind of tuna made entirely from plants. The team’s overarching goal is to create impactful plant-based food products that build towards a sustainable, extinction-free future.

Truly bootstrapping it, you can see below the home lab setup of co-founder Adrian Miranda, where the tuna was first created.

Adrian Miranda‘s home lab

A quick look at their rapidly-growing Facebook page shows that Impact Food’s simple aim is to “create plant-based seafood that provides nutrition without extinction.” Their first product, Impact Tuna, is soon to be released.

Here’s a gallery of the stunning plant-based Impact Tuna in all its glory:

Raw Impact Tuna
Cooked white rice & Impact Tuna topped with green onions & sesame.
Impact Tuna Nigiri

The convincing tuna boasts a 100% clean label, mercury free, fully cooked, and made entirely from plants in the U.S.A.

We had the chance to speak to founders Kelly Pan, Adrian Miranda, and Stephanie Daffara about the recent win and what the future has in store.

  • How do you feel about winning the competition?
    • “It feels really amazing to have our hard work be recognized and see so much support for the future of food! And we’re so thankful for all the mentors that have guided us along the process. Since we first heard about this year’s Hult Prize, we were super excited to participate because we truly believe that food has the power to make a positive impact on the world. We’re extremely honored about winning because there were so many great ideas and solutions shared during this year’s competition.”
  • What do you think set your team aside from the others? 
    • “Our team is composed of a diverse set of experiences and backgrounds in business, molecular cell biology, and computer science. We were brought together by a shared passion for creating sustainable ways to improve food systems. Our strong vision has motivated us to thoroughly research and understand the alternative protein industry, make many necessary pivots and power through the pandemic while working remotely.”
  • What are your next steps in this venture?
    • “Within the next few months, we are working to conduct COVID safe taste testings of our Impact Tuna with restaurants and the general public. We are also applying to various grants, pitch competitions, and accelerators with the goals of scaling up our production and launching in the market sooner.”
  • Any advice for other student entrepreneurs?
    • “If you have an idea or solution that you are truly passionate about, it’s never too early or too late to take action and turn that entrepreneurial dream into a reality. You will have to take risks, challenge yourself, and face a ton of failure and rejection. But these are also the moments that you will learn the most and become an even stronger entrepreneur. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help – advice from an outside perspective is so invaluable and can often help you gain new insights on your business.”
  • Are you looking for any talent to join your team? 
    • “We are not yet looking to expand our team, but will soon be seeking science and engineering talent who are interested in making an impact on food supply chains to help us with product development and creating more scalable food technology solutions.”

Congratulations to the team! We hope you make waves in the seafood market.

Interested in enrolling in the spring 2021 class? See our website for more information.

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