Women lead change: Sustainability and innovation at Strauss – a core part of the business

  (photo credit: FoodTech IL)
(photo credit: FoodTech IL)

Sustainability and foodtech are two critical components of the global food industry. Consumers are increasingly prioritizing health, environmental impact, and social responsibility when making purchasing decisions. 

Strauss Group, a leading food and beverage company in Israel and globally, is at the forefront of this movement, with a focus on embedding sustainable practices and leveraging food technology and innovation to meet consumer needs.

In a special edition for International Women's day We had the pleasure of speaking with leading women that make a difference on the food of the future, and how we will build a more diverse and sustainable food system. We had a chat with Osnat Golan, VP of Communications, Sustainability, and Corporate Brand at Strauss Group, and Dr. Dorit Rozner,  the CTO of the Kitchen Hub, Strauss Group's incubator, to learn more about their efforts to promote sustainability and foodtech. 

We also spoke with Daphne Heffetz, the CEO & Co Founder of Wanda Fish, and Gali Yarom, The CO – CEO and Co Founder of BetterJuice, two of Strauss group's portfolio companies at their foodtech incubator – The Kitchen.

According to Osnat, Strauss Group's sustainability strategy is based on three themes: better food, better choices, and better impact. "Our purpose is nourishing a better tomorrow by providing delicious and nutritious food to consumers, while minimizing our environmental impact and contributing to the communities in which we operate," she said.

Osnat Golan Strauss (Credit: Tal Shahar)Osnat Golan Strauss (Credit: Tal Shahar)

To achieve this, Strauss Group has implemented various initiatives that focus on responsible sourcing, reducing waste and emissions, promoting employee wellbeing, and supporting community initiatives.

"At Strauss Group, we are passionate about creating exceptional food that provides choices for people. We believe that our relationship with food has a profound impact on our lives, and we strive to make better food choices more accessible and convenient for people all over the world", according to Osnat.

Employee wellbeing is also a key focus for Strauss Group, with the company offering a range of programs and initiatives to support its employees' health, safety, and wellbeing Strauss group has more than 48% Women in management positions, and 66% women on its board of directors.  

 Daphne Heffetz, the CEO & Co Founder of Wanda Fish (credit: CHEN GALILI) Daphne Heffetz, the CEO & Co Founder of Wanda Fish (credit: CHEN GALILI)

"In addition to our commitment to food quality, we believe that promoting diversity and inclusion is crucial to building a successful business. We recognize that a diverse workforce and leadership team brings a variety of perspectives and ideas to the table, ultimately resulting in better decisions and stronger results. That's why we work tirelessly to create an equal gender ecosystem within our organization and support initiatives that promote women in positions of power", Osnat adds.

Dorit Rozner, CTO of Kitchen Hub, highlighted the importance of leveraging technology and innovation to promote sustainability and foodtech. "At The Kitchen, we work with cutting-edge startups in areas such as alternative proteins, sugar reduction, and better health and nutrition," she said. "By investing in these startups and providing them with the resources and support they need to scale up and grow , we are driving innovation and promoting sustainability in the food industry."

One such startup that The Kitchen Hub has supported is Wanda Fish, a platform for producing cultivated fish fillets of varying species without burdening the ocean and its life. This alternative protein source has the potential to revolutionize the food industry by reducing the environmental impact of traditional production while still providing consumers with a high-quality protein source.

Credit: Janet erlichCredit: Janet erlich

Daphna has over 20 years and a proven track record in establishing and growing Biotechnology companies, raising substantial funds, and developing significant international partnerships. She also holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and a Post-Doctoral Fellow in molecular biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science.

In 2021, she co-founded Wanda Fish with Strauss Group and The Kitchen FoodTech Hub.

"I am highly privileged to join the efforts to rescue the deteriorating condition of life under the water and to get the opportunity to grow fish fillets outside the body that are healthy, tasty, and closer to nature", she states.  "The welfare of people and the environment is our goal. We are focused on growing fish fillets in a harmless, hygienic, and a transparent way.".

Daphna adds that "We envision a range of affordable, tasty, and nutritious fish fillets offered to people while contributing to the sustainability of the environment for future generations. Wanda Fish’s uncompromised cultivated fish fillets are unique as they have the texture, taste, and nutritional level of those from fresh, wild-catch top-species fish."

 Dorit Rozner,  the CTO of the Kitchen Hub (credit: TAL SHAHAR) Dorit Rozner, the CTO of the Kitchen Hub (credit: TAL SHAHAR)

The Kitchen Hub has also supported startups focused on reducing sugar consumption, such as Better Juice, which uses a unique enzymatic process to reduce the sugar content in fruit juices. This technology has the potential to significantly reduce sugar consumption and promote healthier beverage options for consumers.

Gali Yarom, Co-CEO and the Co-Founder of Better Juice, is a biotechnologist and food engineer. She has worked in the industry for more than 20 years at the two biggest dairies in Israel in several roles such as chief technologist, Plant manager, and VP of Operations. 

"Better Juice's most important claim is that we fight against the top 21st century diseases: diabetes and obesity", According to Gali. "We treat all-natural sugar types, though we focus on juice. However, we can also treat honey, maple syrup, and even milk. We have a technological solution for the industry to tackle its sugar content problem. We can treat all kinds of fruit flavors, and even reduce sugar by up to 80%, which also reduces the calories by 60%. Our enzymes are non-GMO, and we even enrich the product with dietary fiber".

Gali adds that "We are revolutionizing the juice industry. We attack the hot sugar disease that causes diabetes and obesity by improving nature naturally. We are not another sugar replacer. We reduce the sugar from the source and enrich the product by dietary fibers. My company is an Impact company with in all ESG categories. It is really strong at the S (Social) with the health claim and diabetes or Obesity. At the E (Environment), our solution has Zero waste and compared to other technology solutions, we use 60% less energy. At the G (Governance), we are totally clean label and assist companies with the sugar tax".

Osnat Golan adds that "Strauss's investment in Foodtech is aimed at expanding the range of food choices available while promoting sustainable food production that positively impacts both people and the environment. Collaborating with entrepreneurs enables us to support the growth of their businesses, leading to financial resilience and contributing to the overall prosperity of the country.

Osnat adds that "As consumers continue to prioritize sustainability and social responsibility, we must also prioritize these values. Only companies that will focus on sustainability as part of their innovation journey will continue to thrive and lead the way towards a better tomorrow."

This article was written in cooperation with Strauss Group