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Foodfunding: Weird and wonderful culinary projects that need your money

In some ways, crowdfunding is a brave new world for revolutionary food-based ideas. Without Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, Crowdcube et al, the innovative schemes of countless chefs, restaurateurs and culinary inventors would have withered and died on the carpet tiles of a bank-manager’s office. But for every piece of culinary brilliance they’ve gifted us, there are the brain farts. The monkey tennis. The ones you wouldn’t waste the back of your fag packet on. Essentially, it’s like a global Britain’s Got Talent of food-based ideas, only some of them are good. Here’s our guide to the most weird and wonderful offerings out there right now.

The sandwich knife

Sandwich knife

“It’s not a bread knife, it’s a sandwich knife,” claims the Kickstarter page for this product from Toronto. We’re looking at a serrated, two-bladed knife that uses one motion to slice two pieces of bread. According to the promo video, its USP is its “parallel and vertically offset blade configuration”. Or, as we might think of it, “the way it glues two bread knives together and tries to flog them to credulous chumps”.

Will it hit its target? Its goal is C$22,500 (£11,600); with just hours to go, it has raised C$6,586. Will enough people consider saving the hassle of slicing twice to be worth C$25? I’d guess no.

Clear coffee

Do we need coffee that looks like petrol? Entrepreneurs in the Slovakian city of Košice want to launch a see-through coffee, the main purpose of which is to “not negatively affect the whiteness of your teeth”. Actually, this isn’t a terrible idea, and judging by the promo video of it being taste-tested by random people on the street, it has exciting possibilities. Their lack of any scientific explanation is a worry, though.

Will it hit its target? I wouldn’t bet on it. It has taken 30 days to raise €327 (£233) – 1% of the €35,000 required – with 24 days left to go.

The Dausage

The Dausage

“A cross between a sausage and a doughnut,” excitedly exclaim the people behind this Welsh startup, attempting to muscle in on the cronut craze of years gone by. “There are no finer foods in the world than sausages and doughnuts, but they seldom appear together,” point out the would-be purveyors of the jam-filled meat tubes. The photos look grisly, with a botched-home-vasectomy aesthetic. The video shows jam oozing out as someone off-camera slits the sausage’s top end. Apparently, the combination of sweet and meat has gone down very well in extensive taste tests. I’m happy to take their word for it.

Will it hit its target? With five days to go, it’s stalled at just more than a third of its £2,500 goal. Not a banger, then.

Decoded beer

Beer decoding

A “citizen science” project from Geneva that aims to map the flavours of beer. The idea is that each beer has a distinct genome, which they call “the beer’s DNA”, that these bods can plot on a big family tree of beer to provide a scientific categorisation of beer flavours. It sounds like it was devised after much sampling of beer genomes, but they do wear lab coats in the video, so maybe they know what they’re talking about. Beer and science, two of the internet’s favourite things: got to be a winner.

Will it hit its target? It already has, attracting €10,219 of its €10,000 goal with a few days left to go.

A petting zoo and gourmet chocolate shop


Bizarrely, this chocolate shop-cum-mini zoo already exists, in Temecula, California. Customers are chauffeured by horse-drawn carriage to pet real live zebras, emus, alpacas and a range of mini animals (pigs, cows, horses) while chomping champagne truffles. The money is for repairs and new pens, and investing will earn you boxes of chocs or an overnight stay.

Before Elixir

Will it hit its target? With three days to go and $30,000 (£19,100) to reach, it’s earned a grand total of zero. So probably not.

Mobile toast

This is an attempt to raise cash to create a mobile street-food stall by sprucing up the knackered-looking bike of a chef in Hackney Wick with a pedigree in toasting sourdough bread. The solitary photo of what appears to be a gigantic DJ’s record box welded to the front of a bike suggests this is a very deserving case. Then again, the entirely detail-free write-up suggests that what they really need is some ideas.

Will it hit its target? He’s raised just £100 of the £3,500 he’s after. But. A street-food stall. On a bike. Sourdough bread. Hackney Wick. Essentially, it’s a ludicrous rollcall of hipster cliches. So – judging by hot-tub-based restaurant Suppertuband Cannabistro, the weed-themed restaurant in Dalston, both of which open on Friday – probably.

Those we backed

Before Elixir

A red beverage that apparently cures “alcohol flush reaction”, by which booze causes your skin to turn red and blotchy. Drink it before you imbibe and its blend of fruit, milk thistle and B vitamins will reduce the amount of toxins your liver produces in response to your attempts to pickle it.

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How much did it raise? Almost 10% more than its target, $13,575.


Bocusini 3D printer

3D food printing is big in crowdfunding circles – this is at least the second successful venture in a year. Put a little food-filled cartridge into the machine, create a design on your computer and then, judging by the demo video, make a tiny maze from mortadella, a creepy, mashed-potato octopus or write someone a message in jam. Useless or utterly, bafflingly ingenious.

How much did it raise? €40,581 – over €10,000 more than they asked for. People really do enjoy playing with their food.

Cricket protein powder

A cricket

Desperate for a muscle tone that says “unitard full of melons”, but worried that your insatiable bulk-lust is ruining the environment? This protein powder claims to assuage your conscience. The company doesn’t actually explain its eco impact, which rather leaves us guessing, but didn’t worry the backers.

How much did it raise? It earned 164% of its funding total, pulling in €16,428.

Those we sacked

The zero-gravity coffee cup

Already used on the International Space Station, this oddly nose-shaped cup lets astronauts drink beverages without the liquids attempting to float off in homage to George Clooney in Gravity. The benefits for earthbound drinkers? Not so obvious.

How far off-target? About $16,000. But the $34,312 it did raise means we wouldn’t be surprised to see it re-enter our orbit in the near future.

Powdered peanut butter

Powdered peanut butter

Sure, peanut butter is a delicious, slow-release form of energy. But it’s so … wet. Not a problem for this product, which has turned a tasty, spreadable treat into a jar full of powder because … because … nope, no idea. It’s actually on sale in more than 1,000 UK outlets already; the cash they’re after will help “create new and innovative products”.

How far off-target? This crowd-funding equivalent of “lend us a tenner, mate” raised £11 of its £10,000 goal.

Hello Hungry

The main problem of a work schedule that leaves you banging your head against emails for eight hours solid with nary a second for a lunchbreak is our bodies’ pesky desire to fill themselves with food. No problem for the creators of this “liquid meal”, made from buckwheat, that allows you to nourish your feeble body in a manner that’s “easy to hide”.

How far off-target? Thankfully, it only raised $6,500 of its $30,000 target.


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