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The Future of Food in Space
Episode 221st October 2021 • Unconventional Growth • The Yield Lab Institute
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Today's episode is the future of food in space. Nutrition in space is much more important than you might think. Not only do astronauts need the proper nutrients to function, they also need the positive psychological effects food offers like taste and texture or interview today features on Anjan Contractor from BeeHex and Graham Greene from Astraeus. These food tech companies are creating more better food options for both astronauts as well as people here on earth that address the needs of proper nutrition as well as texture and flavor and the food experience. Our conversation today will be based on the technologies developed by NASA to help increase the shelf life of food and foods can be expertly crafted down to the micronutrient level as well as how this technology designed for astronauts can impact nutrition back on Earth.

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Hi, everybody. This is Dan Reus, host of unconventional growth. The podcast about future food tech brought to you by The yield lab Institute. There's a new green revolution going on and when we there's a new green revolution going on. And we invite you and the founders of this revolution to join us whether you're interested in vertical farming, cellular and cultured into microbial foods, regenerative and circular growing systems, biomaterials. And all of the other new aspects of this incredible new food system that we're developing together. Look for new episodes every two weeks, wherever you find podcasts, or at unconventional growth.org. Today's episode is the future of food in space. Nutrition in space is much more important than you might think. Not only do astronauts need the proper nutrients to function, they also need the positive psychological effects food offers like taste and texture or interview today features on Anjan Contractor from BeeHex and Graham Greene from Astraeus. These food tech companies are creating more better food options for both astronauts as well as people here on earth that address the needs of proper nutrition as well as texture and flavor and the food experience. Our conversation today will be based on the technologies developed by NASA to help increase the shelf life of food and foods can be expertly crafted down to the micronutrient level as well as how this technology designed for astronauts can impact nutrition back on Earth. Anjan contractor is the CEO and co founder of bx food 3d printing company that has roots in the NASA program on john and his team at B hex are focused on developing 3d printing technology for creating more nutrient rich food on john has a background in additive manufacturing as the CO inventor of NASA's 3d food printer project used on the ISS. Welcome on Anjan.

Anjan Contractor:

Thank you. Great to be here, Dan.

Dan Reus:

So tell us a little bit about Beehex how you got started in what you're what you're doing now.

Anjan Contractor:

Yeah, yeah. So Dan, as you mentioned, my background is in additive manufacturing. And the previous job before I started Beehex, the company was heavily involved with Department of Defense and NASA projects. And I was principal investigator for one of NASA is really exciting projects to develop 3d food printer or a machine that can automate food personalization for astronauts, especially during deep space missions. And out of that work, I started B hex in 2015. I quit my job in 2015, because we successfully finished phase one when I was working on their project, and the funding had stalled for phase two. Because of congressional gridlock back then, in fact, a lot of NASA's project had substantially been reduced in funding. So my project was one of them. So when I decided to start my company in 2015, I used the core technology that we are developed for NASA and started exploring newer applications of their work. So that's how, that's how Beehex was started.

Dan Reus:

Wonderful. All right, well, we're gonna get back To a lot of those topics here in just a second. officer with astraeus, a food tech company focused on space nutrition. Graham spent over seven years working in Michelin star restaurants both in the United States and abroad. Now Graham and his team are focused on improving nutrition through developing better technologies that address how we both grow and consume food. Welcome, Graham.

Graham Greene:

Yeah, it's great. Great to be here today. I appreciate it.

Dan Reus:

So tell us a little bit about astraeus. And how you get from Michelin star restaurants to developing customized nutrition.

Graham Greene:

Yeah, absolutely. So I spent my career really since I was a teenager working in Michelin starred restaurants in New York and California and moved to San Francisco about five or six years ago now and worked at a couple different restaurants here. And then fast forward to the beginning of last year, I'd been looking to get into something maybe a bit more scalable, and something that I thought was maybe addressing bigger issues, then expensive birthday dinners and these types of things. I think spending time in the restaurants that I was in, I noticed a lot of people really dedicated towards finding innovative ways to interact with the food, but it wasn't necessarily being applied to any of the problems in the way that we, as a society interact with food. And so I ended up getting moved in with who is now my co founder, shareen, Reza. And she had an idea to essentially build on a history of food products that were originally innovated for the space food programs that ended up sparking enormous commercial success. So a couple of examples of those, not the tank or space ice cream that I think people normally associate with, but rather energy bars or modern baby formula, a couple of huge, currently successful commercial goods that came out of the first space race. And so our goal as a company is that in answering the more modern questions, not of how you just allow astronauts to survive, but rather, what it would look like for these astronauts to eat and long duration space missions. How do you address the flavor and the texture and the different sensory perception that happens in microgravity, like those answers will have a bigger impact on the way that we eat here on Earth.

Dan Reus:

Interesting. So talk a little bit on john, I'm gonna go back to you. When we think about space food, you know, we think, you know, food, in most cases is a commodity that's packaged, that everybody gets the same product. Why is personalization important in space?

Anjan Contractor:

Yeah, so every time when NASA designs a space mission, especially the one that crosses the higher Earth orbit, the return on investment is justified only if, if it's if the mission is more than six months. So for example, if we talk about going to Mars that takes anywhere from two and a half to five years. And one of the challenges that that astronaut would be facing is what sort of what sort of food they would be eating or what sort of micronutrients and macronutrients they will be consuming. And the challenge is multiple folds. First of all, when they leave high Earth orbit, they will be working around 15 to 18 hours a day with very little sleep. They'll be doing lots of activities. So every day they will be exhausted, they will have very little time to eat, they'll have very little time to think about what sort of nutrients are important for them. So the idea was to automate food production process with the existing assets that NASA had worked upon for a couple of decades suggests dehydrated food ingredients. And using dehydrated ingredients to recreate texture again with a machine such as 3d food printer. So, you know, essentially, the idea was that if they are wearing some sort of devices that can measure their heart rate, their sleep pattern, their hydration level, their bone density, then we can design an algorithm that is attached to the machine that can personalize food and that can also be part supplement. That bill Give them health benefits. But not only that, it will also give them a vitality to function and do their work properly.

Dan Reus:

Interesting, I want to. So it's interesting to think about sensors to be able to drive this personalization of food. I want to come back to that in a second. But Graham from your perspective and perspective and where you come from in in fine dining and with history, why is personalization, important?

Graham Greene:

I mean, to be to be honest, our product is a bit less on personalization, and a bit more on incorporating flavors and textures and these environments. I think one thing that john touched on is that these longer space missions are going to be, you know, essentially a mission to Mars could be up to five years. And so the the short term ramifications that we've seen of astronauts eating foods that don't engage the senses in the same way that they that fresh fruits, What on earth are going to be exaggerated over time, for this kind of long term mission, not even to mention, the kind of like nutrient degradation that happens with these these preserved and freeze dried foods. And so our our goal as a company is to make foods that can engage the senses, knowing full well that they're dampened by when astronauts go up to microgravity. And so for instance, there's sensation that described as being similar to having a head cold. And so your your nasal passages get clogged, you don't perceive salt the same way. Oftentimes astronauts will go up just the space station and mentioned that for the first time, they're really craving spice. And so it's an interesting problem to try to solve, like, how do you how do you create foods that will drive an appetite for a person who's working tremendous hours over a long period of time, knowing that the senses that that we rely on on earth aren't going to be calibrated quite the same way when people go into an environment like that? I think you might be muted there.

Dan Reus:

That's really interesting. What you're saying here is that these two ideas are complimentary to each other. So that we have to provide a quality food experience so that people will get the nutrients, and that that might need to be tailored for each individual based on their functional needs, as well as their preferences, both because of the environment that they're in, but also just the preferences they come with. And I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that, you know, so I think a lot of people you mentioned early on, like the idea of baby formula, like the, you know, a lot of people might think that there's some nutrient that or some food ingredient, that's the perfect food ingredient to solve all the nutritional needs, but it's really situational for any individual. Can you talk a little bit about from each of your perspectives, what the person needs and expects in a food experience that can be delivered in a new way. And maybe grandma or Anja neither one of you?

Anjan Contractor:

Well, so what I wanted to talk about was, from NASA perspective. Since the late 1970s, early 1980s, NASA has, has been investing a lot of time and resources into studying dehydrated, dehydrated ingredients and method of preserving micronutrients within the dehydrated, bulk powder form. And there are a couple of methods that they came to elongate shelf life. For example, the hydrogen process itself is not that fancy, right? It's basically dehydrating water systematically, depending on how much is the diffusion rate or the water extraction rate that does not damage the micronutrient. We first evaluate that, and then we tune the diffusion rate and take the water out. But after studying that, in terms of shelf life, you know, let's say certain ingredient has shelf life for three years. The question was, how can we take it to 10 years, and the focus entire focus was on having some sort of polymer encapsulation. So we can take we can take it to 10 years, 15 years and so on. Well, they were very successful in doing so but then later on came the human trials in early 2000s, when they noticed that a chewing process is very important for human well being a lot of a lot of chemicals are being released when we chew food that is related to happiness and our mental function. So when that study came out, NASA was kind of going back to the drawing I'm bored and trying to figure out, you know, how can we provide an alternative means of in means of food that has a shelf life, but as well as the texture. And that's where 3d food printing came about. But you know, along with that the taste and texture, as Graham mentioned, is also very important.

Dan Reus:

So I want to come back to you to talk a little bit more about this 3d technology, because it's interesting that you're talking about, not just taking the ingredients that are ready to eat and extruding them, but reconstituting them to restore a lot of the functionality and allow them to have the shelf life that we need for those missions. But Graham, I think this really tees up what you know about the food experience, it's not just about calories and macronutrients. And, and, you know, talk a little bit about what you guys bring to it, for thinking about how to create this food experience that works in these really challenging situations.

Graham Greene:

Yeah, I think there's one kind of like, overarching theme that we we've noticed in these kinds of conversations, which is that the experience of an astronaut oftentimes is an accelerated version of things that people go through on earth. And so we talk about what happens to a human being when they have to eat just soft foods. And so there's there's obvious comparisons to people who are maybe in an end of life facility or in a in a retirement community. And, and it's pretty commonplace to expect that as people begin to enjoy food less, they eat less. And then there's long term ramifications for that for people losing weight, having nutrient deficiencies. And so admittedly, I'm biased, but I'm more interested, I think in the in the flavor, as a as a mechanism to convince people to eat the things that they want. But obviously, there's also a scientific backing that I'd mentioned, which is that the environment that we've evolved to adapt to means that the way that we typically interact with food releases chemicals, and endorphins, and, and changes our perception of the food. And so a few things that we've been working on is is ways to engage the senses. When the human body is in an environment that doesn't seem to register, for instance, salt in the same way. And so obviously, there's no, there's no magical ingredient that you can add to season the food, if you can't taste the salt, but there's other senses that you can engage to, to make the food engaging from a sense from this sensory perspective. So a couple of those examples would be like Trigeminal stimulation, which is a long term that's used to describe the sensation you get if you eat wasabi, or if you eat a York, Peppermint Patty, and that cooling sensation, or if you go to your favorite session restaurant, and you eat the session peppercorns. So what I find most fascinating about this conversation is like, there's so many things that we take for granted about the way that our that our environment, has shaped the way that we interact with food, that we think for instance, oh, we can just take the water out of this ingredient. And then this will be great. We know exactly how much protein is in here, we know the rate at which it'll degrade. So how much we have to eat extra in three years in order to get to the right amount. But then we realize like, Oh, actually, chewing has a big impact on the mood and your desire to eat food. So I find this whole conversation so interesting.

Dan Reus:

Well, I think this is a great segue to the idea. You're both founders. So you're both trying to solve a problem, you know, Graham, as you described it, like solving for, you know, what people need to have a food experience in orbit or someplace else, in order to maintain the nutrition that they need to go by. And you talk about like end of life, we talked in our pre interview, that you know, disaster situations or situations where like, are those that are serving in the military, maybe like their food and you know, needs are different? So how do you as a founder, though, address this, you can't just have this vision of, we're going to create this great food experience for everybody. You have to start with a product and you ram you guys have a product that's out there. I know you're doing pre orders for it now. But how does a product what is kind of the iterative nature of solving in your case, this bigger problem? Where are you starting? And where did what kinds of steps is that going to lead to?

Graham Greene:

Right? So I would say that the beginning of the process started with realizing that there is a direct path from some of the food solutions that are needed for for instance, for pass space food programs that had a direct correlation to what would benefit customers on Earth, which which equals like a business that can operate as a commercial business on Earth, because obviously there's not very many people eating insects. on a day to day basis, and certainly not enough to justify a company that spends all of its time feeding those people. So I would say the first the first step was to identify that problem, we interviewed a bunch of astronauts, and talked about the specific pain points from their perspective on the spacesuit program. And something that we heard early on it. It's been remedied since but we thought it was an interesting. An interesting point is that when new waves early on, when new waves of astronauts will go up to the space station, they would notice a bunch of vitamin D tablets leftover, meaning that people weren't regularly taking their supplements. And, you know, for us, it was kind of like, well, if you can't expect these high performers to take their supplements, maybe there's a better way, using flavor to convince people to make better eating decisions or take or to incorporate some of these things into their diet. And so that's where we started off. It's not just with an asterisk

Dan Reus:

version of a great Flintstones chewable, right. I mean, there's got to be something more to it than that.

Graham Greene:

Yeah, yeah. And I'm glad you brought that up, actually, because Antoine mentioned earlier about, there was a time where NASA was looking at these powders as a way to kind of modernize the diet and make it very streamlined. And I remember growing up watching the Jetsons and I was really interested in food at a young age, but I remember feeling kind of sad watching them go, and that the vision of the future of food being they go to a restaurant order a prime rib, and there's like this little pill that they eat on a plate as if like, the the pinnacle of food will be that we take all the enjoyment out of it. So for me, I'm hoping that that future of food is actually quite in the opposite direction that it's like more delicious, and healthier and better for the environment than before.

Dan Reus:

So so to test this whole, you know, this, this, this thesis that you know, you want to develop these products, what's your first product?

Graham Greene:

Yeah, so astraeus. It's named after the first product. And so that's a series of functional chocolate bites, there's different layers of texture, because obviously, like for every reason I mentioned before, texture is a really important component of how we enjoy food, both on earth and out, we hope that this will be enjoyed in space. And also each of the flavors in that line has a different function. And so the first one has 100% of your recommended daily amount of a whole bunch of different micronutrients, as well as minerals. And then the second version is going to be an energy version. So it small, small, bite sized sphere, but it has the same caffeine as a cup of coffee. There's CNE and from tea, which helps to kind of like regulate the coffee, the caffeine rather, which is why sometimes people who drink tea notice like a better feeling of energy. And then there's an ingredient as well for a cognitive function called Sita Coleen. And then we're going to do a rest version as well. And then past that, we have some things that we're working on for kind of like a solvable dissolvable pouch that could hold like water soluble powders. So that could be used for anything from a soup base to coffee, do a whole whole bunch of different applications. They're

Dan Reus:

interesting. Okay, so now i'm john, you got you have an engineering background. And what you're working on is more of the technology to deliver, packaging these, these foods and reconstituting them. So talk a little bit about your, your journey from you know, the, what you started with? And where you're building along to is that from a product roadmap perspective?

Anjan Contractor:

Yeah, yeah. So you know, my, my journey was a really interesting event to me, sometimes when I look back, when I was working on NASA project, I was so excited about that, that I was always hoping that I will work on phase one, phase two, then phase three, and that will probably one day, implement this machine. At ISS, we will test it over there. And then when Mars missions are ready, we will take it out, take it up or higher Earth orbit. And, you know, this machine will be something that I worked on for years, and I'll be very happy, very excited, very fulfilled, having a wonderful career. But you know, nothing goes in a straight line in when I completed phase one, and by the way, in phase one, I worked my heart out. I put in at least 10 hours a day, six days a week, many times 15 and I made a machine that could 3d print pizza, based on astronauts micronutrient requirements and their caloric intake. And we were waiting for phase two. And there was a pretty bad congressional gridlock in 2014. And a lot of NASA's funding was I was gone. And this project was one of it. So I decided to invest my own capital in 2015, quit my job, invest my own capital, and start working on the project. And it took us almost a year and a half to raise seed funding, you know, until then I had my own investment and then friends and family investment. And then, after a year and a half VC rent investment from Mr. Jim grody, who is the founder of donatos pizza. And that was a wonderful moment for myself and our co founders. We got help of groovy family, groovy families, the one running donatos pizza. And they identified a sector where we can immediately apply our technology and start generating revenue. That was in bakery industry, we noticed that a lot of desserts are being decorated by hand, and our machine replaces that skillful labor. That is a dying trade right now, not a lot of youngsters want to go and decorate cakes, cookies, cupcakes, or anything as such. So we have a wonderful opportunity in that area, we are growing very fast. The second opportunity we saw was, in fact, very interesting. NASA scientists who were involved in our project, they connected us with the US Army, and at that time, military funding was going up. So they started working with us on the same concept of personalizing food for US Army soldiers. We were funded in 2017, we worked for years, and now we have a brand called healable nutrition, which is selling personalized nutrition bars. You know, consumers can go on that platform, we asked a bunch of questions. And based on their answers, we recommend the micronutrients and macronutrients that this individuals require and be processed with our machinery, we packaged them and ship them directly to the consumer. So we are on a growth trajectory right now. The vision that we had that food should be personalized, and there are many reasons, you know, probably we will have a question why do we need personalized nutrition? Or what's the point of funding this sort of heavy duty requiring lot of funding sort of technology? For for space, food preparation? Well, you know, some of some of the some of us, we won't question that. Why are we even worrying about going to space or going to Mars? So you know, personalized nutrition, the things which started in space, it's already being available commercially. Why a b, x and b, x is brand and astraeus. You know, what Greg Graham and his companies working on, pretty soon it will be available to consumers. So it is super exciting time.

Dan Reus:

So Graham, let's go back to you. You know, you talked a little bit about right now, your first product is not that personalized. It's based on these functional ingredients. But is this idea of titrating based on different needs, or on different expectations? And in time, an important part of what you guys are developing? Are you really looking at it like developing products that uniformly work to solve the problem for everybody at a at a at a with a with a single product?

Graham Greene:

I guess there's a couple answers to that question. So on one hand, a line of products that do things, for instance, like aid focus helps sleep, give you energy could be for lack of a better term self prescribe to people who are looking to solve specific problems in a given day. And then the other the other side of that answer would be that depending on depending on the application, we don't have any immediate plan to do to do that for commercial products. But we have some ongoing conversations and possibilities to fly the product coming up. And so, for instance, for a, for a spacesuit program, it might be more feasible to do that kind of personalized nutrition, given the given the volume and everything like that.

Dan Reus:

So something rather than just like the sledgehammer of an energy drink, that you can have it be a little bit more nuanced or have more variety of function than just keep me up all night.

Graham Greene:

Right, right. Yeah, I mean, I will say as a as a disclaimer, it's definitely not definitely not a I wouldn't call it a sledgehammer of energy. It's a sustained energy and helps with focus as well. Right.

Dan Reus:

So no, I was Yeah, I think that you're What what I'm understanding from you is something that's less like a sledgehammer and more and more prayer, right? Yeah. So talk a little bit about what are what are some of the things that you guys see as opportunities? Are you finding ingredients that are well known? Are you finding novel ingredients to accomplish these things or you find me it's about how they're put together and what the experiences of eating them talk a little bit about how you create something to have how you create a food product to have functional differentiation like that.

Graham Greene:

Yeah, I'm happy to go go for it as

Anjan Contractor:

well. So um, you know, we have right now we have so much overload of information. But in a good way, in our opinion, for example, you mentioned about ingredients, but they are not just ingredients, but the function of those ingredient are very dependent not from person to person. So for example, if someone takes in wheat, the reaction of that individual in in their body is very different, based on their genetics and epigenetics. And the G vas program genome wide area network, that program started in early 1990s to collect all the genome available in the US but then eventually across the world. And its outcome every gene and RSI these outcome for for cancer, for celiac disease, for absorption of nutrients, and what now, we have so much data that we can start utilizing some of the data to introduce different micro nutrients in food. So for example, you know, it is well known that certain type of virus IDs can absorb vitamin C better than others, or some type of gene analysis IDs are rapidly repelling the gluten more than the others. And this sort of information is something that we have, we are we are using in our algorithms in our software, to recommend different types of foods. Not only that, you know, recently we have studied investigating that epigenetics epigenetics is the environmental outcome of a gene. So for example, if somebody is living into polluted air environment, or they're having polluted water, or certain type of food is predominant in their diet, having certain types of bacteria and fungus, their gut biome and their vital presence in their body changes quite a bit. And that effects was how they digest micro and macro nutrients. So there are companies they have tried to identify what are the gut biome? What are the microbiome in their gut and based on that recommending foods. So, all in all, what we see is that personalized food is data driven. And if we have development, some other companies, they also develop machineries which can directly communicate with this data stream and fabricate food. So the conventional idea that the same type of food is what what is available for everyone. You know, it's millions of years ago, we have had this concept of you know, same food for everyone. You know, family of four, even though they have different physiological structure is having same type of food. The mass production of food for everyone is also something that needs to change radically. We are all very different our genetic structure, our gut biome is extremely different from each other, and therefore we need unique nutrition and therefore personalized nutrition is having a great future and I think that will be the way we will be consuming food.

Dan Reus:

Right? Pause us here for a second. All I just want to make sure you're aware that we're pausing your grant. For some reason I'm having difficulty asking you a question that really makes astraeus look good. In my mind, so I want to I want to make sure it comes across that you're just not making you know, a chocolate bite that has some functional claims behind it. I want to make sure that we we We put you guys in the right setting because I know that's more than you're doing. So I'm going to actually pause here to record, I have to record a couple of sponsor tags. And so I'm and when I come back, I'm going to just ask you the question, I'm going to give you a few minutes to, you know, a minute to kind of say, like, what makes this extraordinary about what you're doing or something, but I want you to, you know, kind of shoot for the Scott stars or whatever, make sure that you plant the flag for doing some great stuff. Okay. I didn't want to, I don't want to minimize what you've said so far. But I do want to have have, you know, you really shine here so. Want to pause just for a minute. This podcast is sponsored by the Donald Danforth plant science center, harnessing the power of plants to cultivate a better world. Dan. Dan. This podcast is sponsored by the Donald Danforth plant science center, harnessing the power of plants to cultivate a better world. Danforthcenter.org. This podcast is sponsored by the Donald Danforth plant science center, committed to growing the 39 North innovation district 39, North stl.com. This podcast is sponsored by the Donald Danforth plant science center, host of Ag tech, next, ag tech next.org. Graham, I want to get back to you. So you've got these chocolate bites. So I'm sure chocolate bytes that are formulated to have these functional needs met by a Michelin trained chef, are going to be great. Tell me what's really great about the product line you're doing and the path that puts you on?

Graham Greene:

Yeah, I think I think what really separates, there's a handful of things that really separate us from things you would commercially find on the shelves, not to mention our overarching space goal. So I think if you if you were to go to the store, typically, typically you would find a series of products made made with similar ingredients. And those products would fall into a couple categories. So on one hand, you'd be able to find products that are utility driven, and offer little to no taste or texture, certainly in the supplement aisle, or in terms of a protein shake those kind of products, or you would find things on the other end of the spectrum, which disappoint in terms of flavor, or sorry, rather, are great in terms of flavor. But when you look at the ingredients list, it's things like corn products, its palm oil, which has a bunch of difficult issues in terms of your personal health. And so what we're really looking to do is kind of bridge that gap between a flavor and function. So oftentimes, I think those two broad categories can leave out, can leave out the people who are interested in incorporating healthy habits into their lifestyle, but just haven't been convinced because of the flavor. So our product, because we spent all this time to to work on engaging your different senses, we developed a product that you know, we spent time making sure that it has the perfect crunch, so you can hear it in your inner ear, there's a creamy chocolate and on the inside, that has textural contrast, we sourced the best macadamia nuts that you can get in the US. And then on top of that it has the function that you would expect from one of these utility driven products. We're also not using things like palm oil, there's no corn base sugar. So we really think that this type of approach to to a product is really what the modern consumer is looking for.

Dan Reus:

It's fantastic. So and these are available now. And I noticed on the website, it says pre orders being taken, is that something that I can get for the holiday season for my first and a loved one or is that is that are we just slightly too early.

Graham Greene:

So we didn't know initial run got tremendous feedback, but we're unable to keep up with the production so we're going to do another run and plan to have it available for for the holiday season.

Dan Reus:

That's awesome. And so that's astreas.com?

Graham Greene:

astreas.co.

Dan Reus:

So i'm john, your products. I mean you make process oriented things and you're doing some obviously projects for government agencies and other large contractors but are your products available to the average consumer?

Anjan Contractor:

Yeah, we have we have our bakery equipment product line that we have been selling across the globe or products our our machines are right now located in Canada about 10 different states in the US and Mexico. Probably next few years will expand to United Kingdom Fire Island and Brazil and also you know it would apply more and more machines in the US. We are working with a very large retailer I cannot name who but they they will be implementing our cake decorating machinery in almost all The stores where consumers can go and personalize the cake decoration. So we are on a growth trajectory on for on that industry. Our nutrition bar equipment which can personalized nutrition bar based on individual's health, physiological health is something that we have already developed. And we have introduced a prototype brand called healable. Nutrition, you should check it out healable nutrition calm, what we do is we ask a bunch of questions to a consumer about their physiological health and goals, their height, weight, gender, obviously, their goal if they have any allergies, and if they would be interested in sharing their genetic data, either from 23andme or ancestry.com. If they don't want to do that, we can also we can still personalize their nutrition bars. But if you provide any information that will give us better insight. So after collecting data, we convert that directly, you know, once they make a payment, we directly convert that into a machine code. And that machine could use up in our production line. And based on the time stamp the process, or we fabricate these bars. The beauty of this machine is that the first bar is completely different from the second two completely different from a third to the fourth and so on. And without losing the production speed. So you can imagine, you know, the Doritos chips, you know, probably you know, hundreds of 1000s per minute. Imagine your personalized Dorito chips with the same speed, very marginal difference in cost. But hell the Dorito chips that you can have at your door. That is what we are done for the nutrition bars.

Dan Reus:

But I'm gonna pause you right there because I know that Graham's co founder as a big data perspective, and how does data fit into into developing food products? You know, because we think about food products as they get a formulation that's done one time, how does data about individuals and data about the products themselves fit into a model? Is that does it fit? Oh, is it? Is it she got out of that world? Because she didn't like it anymore?

Graham Greene:

No, no, I mean, what Yeah, it's definitely part of the model. So one of the biggest benefits, I think, through an e commerce platform, is that you have the ability to engage directly with the customer in a way that you wouldn't, if you were going through a retail setting. And so something that is not live in the website yet. But that we've been sort of like working on as a way to learn more about the customer's preferences, so that when we have a range of products, we can suggest, essentially a personalized version, it's not not something that's far enough along the development that you can do it now. But being able to engage directly with the customer through an e commerce platform, I think really changes changes the dynamic between a company and what they're able to offer that that end consumer versus, you know, giving it to a retailer and having to paint with brush, broad strokes, who you think is going into that store, and why they're purchasing their products and what demographics they fit into, etc.

Dan Reus:

That's great. Well, we were about to end here because I know you guys are both very busy. I want to give Graham I want to give you a chance to, to close us with your vision. So you think about it. We've talked about data driven, we've talked about functional and, and the taste in the food experience matching. And we've talked about how space is kind of this interesting petri dish for drying out a lot of these ideas. What do you think is the vision of this over a year over 10 years? You know, where can this lead us? And how can people join for the ride? You know, are you guys looking for customers? Are you looking for commercial partners are looking for retailers you're looking for, you know, what is it that you need? How can people help you? And where are you going?

Graham Greene:

Yeah, I mean, we're, of course, no business has too many customers. So we're certainly people can follow us on Instagram, and I'm happy to give the the handles of the end. But I want to bring this back to space. I think anjan mentioned something important that is that oftentimes people think, during this whole space conversation is you know, why are we even going there? Like what's the what's the reason to spend this amount of resources to pursue something like this, but I think any anytime humanity has faced a difficult challenge that it's had to overcome. It's really it's really brought together people from different industries to collaborate in ways they haven't before. And it's brought the best of the best to try to tackle the challenge. And so, if you asked me where I think this is going, I think the more the more that we can focus on trying To solve new problems, the more that the individual end consumer can see the benefit of those solutions. So you look at things that Andre is talking about you look at how, for instance, you can produce shelf stable foods that are nutrient dense, that compete in flavor with those foods that you buy and feel guilty about. I think that that those type of solutions are really going to change the way that people eat.

Dan Reus:

And that's going to be just not just for the people that go into space, that's going to be for the people that never go to space.

Graham Greene:

Yeah, exactly. I mean, I mean, we're, we're sitting here today, both of us working on a space related problem, but there's no, there's no way to produce, at least in today's day and age, a solvable business, that doesn't also have plenty of commercial application. So I think the big takeaway, and sometimes, sometimes I forget to even bring it up, because I sort of take it for granted is that these these solutions aren't worth very much if you can't apply them commercially. And so that's that's really at the core of what we do is how do we how do we take what we've learned from you know, how astronauts maybe aren't taking their vitamins to? How does the the changes in sensory perception in terms of flavor and texture and all these things? How does that affect the way they eat? Like, how can we apply what we learn from looking at those problems to the average person and how they eat on earth?

Dan Reus:

That's true, because the one thing about astronauts is that they are, we know have more data about them. And we'll have about any consumer at this point.

Graham Greene:

Yeah, exactly.

Dan Reus:

I know you might have to drop off. So I'm going to go ahead and ask you to email Trevor, your Instagram and everything else. So make sure we include that in the show notes, show notes. Just if you need to drop off. And I'm going to go to you with the same question. We've talked about bringing together this idea of personalized nutrition or functional things that food experience and flavors and how they vary for from situation to situation, shelf life, data, all of these things about creating food products, where are you going? And then in the next year to five and beyond? And how can people work with bx to make this happen?

Anjan Contractor:

Yeah, look, I'm going to start with a bigger vision. You know, I'm not sure when they will pan out maybe next 25 years, 50 years? 30 years? 100 years? I don't know. But it will definitely happen. So imagine this, that human life is 150 years. It entire life is healthy, healthier, happier, and vital. What could you do? If that's the situation, I mean, I literally think that if I speak about myself, I could probably finish not only one, two, but couple of PhDs. I could probably do 10 odd startups. And if I think if I if I talk about some of the individuals, you know, many of them fancy about becoming a billionaire, but they will probably be fancy fencing about becoming a trillionaire. Okay. If you have 150 years of healthy life, okay. That is what we are talking about with the personalized nutrition. We are at a beer just grass craft scratching the surface of personalized nutrition. Because first came data, first game understanding of our genetics, understanding of our epigenetics, understanding of our vitals, how they work. Many, many people these days are having smartphones, having variable sensors, Fitbit and Apple Watch and Nike watch and Garmin and whatnot. A lot of people are health conscious these days, you know, they know how many calories they need to take, what type of food is ideal for them. We are taking it way further with the personalized food. We want to study your uniqueness, you know, in terms of what genetic structure you have, and what is ideal for you. And based on that. We want to recommend not only just nutrition bars, but all foods, you are unique. Therefore your food should be unique. That should help you not just fulfilling your dietary needs, but also all the factors in life that matters. You know, your focus your concentration in education, in studies in sport, your vitality, your happiness. And I think this is no less than a revolution in my opinion. How do we how do we granularly define that future that a lot of visionaries including myself has predicted this is by breaking down into small steps. And amazingly, believe it or not, you know you It started with NASA, NASA had this vision for astronauts that you know, when they send astronauts who are high asset individual, you know, spending billions of dollars to enable Mars missions or any sort of higher Earth orbit missions, they have to perform optimally, they have to have the best and most optimized mindset, their mind has to be clear. Their happiness has to be optimal, or their physiological health need to be a top class. And NASA had to think how we can how we can achieve these goals. Now, when I started company, my goal is to enable that for rest of the world for entire human population. And NASA was a start, be hack starting my company enabling equipment and software technologies data driven technology to personalize food is a next step. Graham's company, introducing his product is also another step. I think there will be lot more player coming in. And we will see beautiful outcomes in next 10 years, when we will have 150 years of lifespan, I don't know, probably soon enough.

Dan Reus:

Thank you so much on john and Graham, it's been a great session. That's all the time we have for right now. But I encourage you to check out unconventional growth.org so that you can see the show notes and see the links to things that Anjouan grandma referred to. And I want to thank you again. We'll be back in two weeks with our next episode of unconventional growth. Look for us every two weeks wherever you find and listen to podcasts or unconventional growth.org. And until then, take care. Thanks, john.

Anjan Contractor:

Thank you everyone. Thanks, Dan.

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