First FoodTech Maine Cohort Announced

PORTLAND, Maine, October 18, 2023 – The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs (MCE) and FocusMaine  are proud to announce that FoodTech Maine has officially welcomed its first cohort of participant  companies. This marks the beginning of an exciting journey to drive innovation and growth in Maine’s  food, agriculture, and aquaculture industries. 

FoodTech Maine’s mission is to revolutionize traditional food value chains in response to macro-level  food trends such as the growing demand for healthy and sustainable food sources, population growth  forecasts, climate change, and increased trade competition. These trends have posed unique  challenges to Maine’s food industry, which this program aims to address. By leveraging innovation,  technology, and science across all stages of the agrifood industry, including producing, processing,  packaging, and waste management, FoodTech Maine will enhance the efficiency and sustainability of  the sector, building on Maine’s rich history of high-quality food and beverage production. 

Introducing the inaugural participant companies:  

1. Everything Seaweed

EvSe is looking to use seaweed for a variety of applications in the food industry, including as a  natural gelling/stabilization ingredient for processed foods, and a replacement for PFAS.

2. Maine Cap n’ Stem  

Innovative solutions for mushroom farmers, including substrate products, mushroom start  material, in-house designed and manufactured equipment like the “Fenrir” bagger, and  consulting services. 

3. Maine Garum Company  

Maine Garum Company produces unique umami sauces called garums. They use a novel  approach by using waste from established processing operations as raw material rather than  using large amounts of whole small fish, a foundation of marine ecosystems. Their current  product uses eel byproducts, and Maine Garum Company is exploring a product using green crab.

4. Ocean Farm Supply

Their flagship product, the Ocean Harvest BagTM, is 100% Beechwood, 100% Biodegradable, and  100% Compostable, and stands to change the standard of shellfish packaging.

5. Salmonics  

Biotechnology company that focuses on upcycling salmon blood waste to develop and manufacture biomedical products, reducing the environmental impact of aquaculture practices.

6. Springtide Seaweed

USDA-certified organic seaweed farming and processing that is fully integrated, including wet  processing, dry processing, and the creation of various seaweed products such as pellets,  seaweed as an ingredient, seaweed powders, and flakes. Exploring additional uses of seaweed  ingredients in the food, nutraceutical, and agricultural industries. 

7. Tootie’s Tempeh

Produces tempeh, a sustainable, organic, vegan protein source made from fermented, locally  sourced soybeans. Tootie’s Tempeh innovated the US’s first plastic-free fermentation process for  tempeh, which combines proprietary HVAC technology in a climate-controlled room, as well as  proprietary production equipment and processes. 

The participant companies in the inaugural cohort will benefit from customized support and coaching  from MCE’s extensive network of local, national, and global experts, immersive education through  tailored learning sessions, and inclusion in a community of entrepreneurial business leaders and  innovative companies. This support will help them commercialize their products, scale their  businesses, and contribute to the growth of the food tech industry in Maine. 

“The launch of FoodTech Maine and the participation of these exciting companies mark a significant  step towards achieving our mission of growing Maine’s food tech industry,” said Tom Rainey, MCE  Executive Director. “We are committed to empowering these participants to drive innovation, create  high-paying jobs, and establish a center of excellence in food, beverage, agriculture, and aquaculture related business development in our state.” 

FoodTech Maine is an important addition to MCE’s existing suite of food industry support programs,  including Top Gun, Cultivator, and MarketShare, and it will complement and expand on these  programs.

Photo of kickoff event with program participants, mentors, and MCE staff.

About MCE:  

Founded in 1997, MCE is an independent non-profit organization based in Portland that helps the  most promising Maine companies launch and grow through training, connections, and “hands-on”  support from over 250 volunteer advisors and business mentors. MCE has a proven track record of  serving the state with programs and services through a ‘hub and spoke’ approach. MCE develops  programs and curricula that can be delivered at unique locations in partnership with local  organizations in all corners of the state. Please visit https://www.mced.biz/.  

About FocusMaine: FocusMaine is a statewide economic development organization that works to create quality jobs and  build a thriving workforce. With an emphasis on innovation and future readiness, FocusMaine works  in partnerships to accelerate Maine’s food economy and bioeconomy. Together, we are generating  opportunity and prosperity for Maine’s people, businesses, and communities. For more information, visit www.focusmaine.org.