SAN FRANCISCOJuly 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Chef Robotics is launching a first-of-its-kind AI-powered flexible food robot made to help food companies overcome the global food labor shortage and increase production volume.

AI will have an immense impact on our world as the rise of foundational models like ChatGPT has shown. But the greatest impact will be on the physical world in the form of Embodied AI through robotics, given the physical world represents 90% of global GDP and the manual labor market accounts for half of all global GDP.

With 1,137,000 unfilled jobs and an annual staff turnover rate of 150%+, the American industry most in need of AI-enabled robotics is the food industry. While traditional automation exists in the food industry, until now, robots have only been built to automate one specific task each. They're not flexible enough to deal with the variety fundamental to making meals.

To solve this, Chef is leveraging mostly off-the-shelf hardware and combining it with modern advancements in AI to make it flexible enough to provide labor supply in the form of robotic automation to help food companies overcome their labor shortage. The robot operates using Chef's original food manipulation software, ChefOS.

Notably, unlike other food robotics startups, Chef's go-to-market is food manufacturing (not restaurants) where Chef can partially automate a food operation and thus add value in production to customers without requiring 100% full autonomy from the get-go. This enables Chef engineers to train ChefOS on real-world data accumulated from robots deployed at customer production sites in 6 cities across North America. To date, Chef has already completed over 20 million servings in production.

With every meal the robots assemble in production facilities, Chef's core AI models for food manipulation improve. The robots essentially act as data ingestion engines to train Chef's AI models to better adapt to variances in food and plate almost any ingredient, of any portion size, in any container over time.


As the AI that powers Chef's robots becomes more and more autonomous, Chef plans to leverage these systems to go from applications like industrial food production to ghost kitchens and ultimately, to deploying AI-enabled robots in every commercial kitchen in the country.

Today, Chef's AI-enabled robots are actively generating ROI for the food industry's leading manufacturers. Notable public customers that Chef has case studies with include:

  • Amy's Kitchen
  • Sunbasket
  • Chef Bombay

For example, Chef helped Chef Bombay reduce standard deviation by 30%, reduce food giveaway/wastage by 88%, increase labor productivity by 33%, and increase throughput by 9%.

Videos of Chef Robots in Action

Says Founder Rajat Bhageria, "Nobody has scaled intelligent robots at a massive scale. Just as Tesla ushered in the EV revolution, so too are we posed to help usher in the intelligent robotics revolution."



Swedish Bioplastics company Gaia Biomaterials has completed the development of a new and revolutionary compostable drinking straw material. The new material is stable, rigid, and heat resistant and allows for the manufacture of sustainable straws for all types of drinks.

The new material is a grade of the company's limestone based Biodolomer material. Biodolomer does not leave any microplastics and is certified compostable by BPI in the USA as well as European certification bodies.

The new grade has been developed with hot drinks, such as Irish Coffee and hot chocolate, in mind. It can handle temperatures over 80ºC without any substantial loss in rigidity and stability.

Several tests have been conducted with drinking straw manufacturers in Europe and the USA, and the results were so promising that the first full-scale production runs will take place in late May. The material works well in the machines, and the properties are according to expectations.

“Drinking straws have been an issue for many”, says Gaia Biomaterials CEO Peter Stenström. “According to many consumers, the degradable alternatives have simply not been good enough.”

“But soon you’ll be able to use straws again. With a clean conscience and without a distinct aftertaste of paper…”



Golden, CO — Meritech, a leader in automated hygiene technology, highlights their core product line for footwear sanitation: the Meritech Boot Scrubbers. These state-of-the-art boot scrubbers are designed to ensure superior hygiene compliance in food processing and packaging environments, aligning with stringent standards set by GFSI, FDA, FSMA, USDA, and GMP.

The boot scrubbers feature adjustable brush heights to accommodate a wide variety of footwear, ensuring thorough cleaning for every user. The system automatically maintains the necessary chemical concentration for effective sanitation, eliminating human error and ensuring consistent pathogen removal. Designed for easy maintenance, the brushes can be removed without tools, simplifying the cleaning process. Additionally, the bi-directional operation saves space and reduces costs by allowing the scrubbers to be installed in compact areas without sacrificing efficiency. For complete hand and footwear sanitation, the boot scrubbers can be combined with Meritech’s CleanTech® Automated Handwashing Stations, ensuring over 99.9% pathogen removal in just 12 seconds.

Meritech automatic boot washers are specifically tailored for Food Safety and Quality Assurance Managers and Supervisors in the food processing industry. Meritech aims to significantly enhance hygiene practices within this sector, ensuring compliance and safeguarding public health. Meritech’s boot scrubbers are crucial in maintaining high hygiene standards, essential for pathogen removal and regulatory compliance in ready-to-eat (RTE) and frozen food sectors. The boot washers ensure that footwear does not become a contamination point, maintaining product integrity from processing to packaging.

Meritech’s boot scrubbers are the best choice for the food processing market due to their ability to meet and exceed hygiene standards, their ease of use, and their efficiency in removing pathogens. These scrubbers are made in the U.S.A. at Meritech’s Colorado headquarters, ensuring top quality and reliability.

For more information about Meritech’s boot scrubbers, visit:



(Hartville, OH) Renewable Lubricants introduces ultimately biodegradable Bio-Food Grade™ Hydraulic Fluids for food and water processing equipment. Multi-functional, biobased formulations include ingredients that are Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS), contain no VOCs, and are safer for employees and the environment. Available in ISO viscosity grades 15 and 22, Bio-Food Grade™ Hydraulic Fluids meet or exceed the requirements for food grade lubricating oils for use on food processing equipment. They are acceptable as lubricants with incidental food contact (H1) for use in and around food processing areas. They may be used on food processing equipment as a protective anti-rust film, as a release agent on gaskets or seals of tank enclosures, and as a lubricant for machine parts and equipment in locations where there is a potential exposure of the lubricated part to food. BioPreferred Fluids are ideal for use in sensitive areas such as agriculture, marine, and food processing plants. Typical applications include hydraulic systems for labelers, palletizers, lifts, and packaging equipment, as well as extruders, conveyors, and more.  Gear drives, gearhead motors, drip oilers, air-oilers, air tools, water pumps, bearings, machine oils, roller chains, cables, circulating oils, and general lubrication applications are also well suited.

These patented biobased hydraulic fluids are formulated to perform in high- and low-pressure hydraulic systems that require Anti-Wear (AW), anti-rust, anti-oxidation, anti-foam, and demulisibility properties. With patented antioxidants (Stabilized™*), these biosynthetics provide improved performance in oxidation stability over standard plant/vegetable/HETG and unsaturated HEES type fluids.  They are highly inhibited against moisture and rusting in both fresh and sea water, and pass A and B sequences of the ASTM D-665 Turbine Oil Rust Test.  They also provide excellent water separation as show in ASTM D-1401 Demulsibility Test. Formulated to provide a longer seal life with reduced oil leakage, this environmentally friendly, zinc-free product meets or exceeds high-pressure pump requirements. 

Designed for use in vane, piston, and gear-type pumps, Bio-Food Grade™ Hydraulic Fluids have shown excellent anti-wear performance in ASTM-D-4172 Four Ball Wear Test. The anti-wear performance meets or exceeds requirements for Vickers M-2950-S (35VQ-25) and 1-286 (V-104-C), Rexroth, US Steel 126, 136, and 127, and DIN 51524 Part 2. They also meet the requirements for ashless GL-1 and gl-2 gear oils in reduction units and gear sets where EP gear oils are not recommended. The super high viscosity index of the HOBS naturally improves the thermal shear stability of the formula and increases load capacity. The HOBS extremely low volatility significantly increases the flash point and fire safety features of the formula.

Environmentally responsible Bio-Food Grade™ Hydraulic Fluids are formulated from renewable agricultural plant resources. They are more biodegradable, renewable, have low toxicity, contain no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), are EPA and ISO 14000 compliant, and safer for both the environment and the employees using them. With a significantly higher flash point than traditional hydraulic fluids, they are much safer around hot running equipment.

Bio-Food Grade™ Hydraulic Fluids meet EPA 21013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) guidelines for Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) and should be used in hydraulic systems where low toxicity, biodegradability, and non-bioaccumulation properties are required.

With oxidation performance comparable to full synthetics, this is one of the safest hydraulic fluids for the environment.  Ideal for stationary or mobile environments, like balers, compactors, or collection vehicles, these super high Viscosity Index (VI) fluids are proven in systems up to 10,000 psi and in systems with ultra-fine filtration.  To ensure performance and long life, Renewable Lubricants developed the stringent IsoGreen filtration standard which meets or exceeds the Rexroth pump guidelines for hydraulic fluids.  Non-toxic, zinc-free formulations contain no heavy metals.  In addition to enhancing performance, Renewable Lubricants (RL) helps companies achieve their sustainability goals.  They are ideal for use in all types of hydraulic systems including trash compactors, collection vehicles, balers, compactors, shredders, pumps, and other OEM equipment.  

Renewable Lubricants, Inc. began as a research and development company in 1991, developing high performance products that would directly replace petroleum-based products.  Starting from a single corn-based engine oil developed in the inventor’s garage, the company now offers more than 250 products and has over 100 worldwide patents.  They manufacture their products as environmentally friendly as possible without sacrificing performance.  For more information on Renewable Lubricants, Inc., contact Benjamin Garmier at (330) 877-9982, or, or visit



CHICAGO, June 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Brown Gibbons Lang & Company (BGL) is pleased to announce The Zidian Group, which operates Summer Garden Food Manufacturing (Summer Garden), has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Lassonde Industries Inc. (TSX: LAS.A) (Lassonde), a manufacturer of private label and branded food and beverage products. BGL's Food and Beverage investment banking team is serving as the exclusive financial advisor to The Zidian Group. This deal marks another successful branded food M&A transaction for the Food & Beverage team and furthers their experience and expertise in the consumer-packaged goods sector.

Based in Boardman, Ohio, Summer Garden operates out of a 10-acre campus consisting of a Green LEED-certified manufacturing facility with research & development and production capabilities, including high-acid and low-acid (retort) manufacturing capabilities. Summer Garden is an owned subsidiary of The Zidian Group, a family-owned manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of premium sauces, including BBQ sauces and pasta sauces, as well as dipping sauces, marinades, dressings, and other shelf-stable products. The business' owned brands include G Hughes Sugar Free, Little Italy in the Bronx, and Gia Russa. It is also a recognized and trusted co-packer for well-known and growing brands. The company's product portfolio consists of more than 250 products sold at more than 20,000 retail outlets.

Zidian Group's owned brands include:

G Hughes Sugar Free: the leader in the sugar-free and better-for-you ("BFY") barbeque sauce segment, as well as dipping sauces, marinades, dressings, and other specialty sauces

Little Italy in the Bronx: a super-premium line of Italian pasta sauces inspired by Arthur Avenue, one of the oldest Italian neighborhoods in the United States

Gia Russa: a diversified portfolio of Italian food products, including pasta, pasta sauces, oils, olives, vinegars and other specialty food products

The acquisition of Summer Garden to Lassonde's portfolio will catalyze their ongoing growth in the branded and private label specialty food sectors with the expansion of new product offerings and manufacturing capabilities. Lassonde's culture and values align seamlessly with those of Summer Garden, a multi-generational family business known for its entrepreneurial spirit and strong commitment to its employees, customers, consumers, and the communities it serves.

"I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this transaction. The goal for my family when we began considering alternatives for the company was to identify the ideal partner who could preserve and grow what we have built over the last 75+ years with Summer Garden. BGL did an incredible job positioning and communicating our story to the market, which enabled us to select Lassonde to support the company's exciting growth trajectory within both the Branded Products and Contract Manufacturing divisions," said Thomas Zidian, founder and owner of The Zidian Group. "I thank Dan, Stephen, and the rest of the BGL Food & Beverage team for providing invaluable strategic advice, a steadfast commitment to the transaction, and delivering outstanding results."

BGL's Food and Beverage investment banking team, led by BGL Managing Director Daniel Gomez, has deep sector knowledge and extensive transaction experience, representing companies across the entire food and beverage landscape. Coverage includes retail of both branded and private label products, global supply chain sourcing, contract manufacturing, processing, distribution, and wholesale.

To learn more about the state of food & beverage M&A, including the trends and opportunities in the specialty food sector, download our most recent Food and Beverage research reports:


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