You’ve seen it already over the news, social media or documentaries such as the Netflix original creation “Game Changer”: the way we nourish ourselves and the approach we take to agriculture is fundamentally changing. A change of mind led by innovative ventures and that is now followed by bigger players such as Nestlé or Unilever. In a way, food delivery startups like Deliveroo or Just Eat launched the term “foodtech”, but their activities now represent only the tip of the iceberg from what is being achieved in food disruption. The food industry now faces public health and environmental challenges which lately increased the development of new technologies to answer them.
To quote Techcrunch: “There is no bigger industry on our planet than food and agriculture, with a consistent, loyal customer base of 7 billion. In fact, the World Bank estimates that food and agriculture comprise about 10% of the global GDP”.
Investment-wise, the foodtech space captured nearly $9 billion in total invested capital during 2018 (according to Pitchbook). As much as it concerns the fate of our civilisation (remember we will be 10 Billion people living on Earth by 2050), a fundamental remodelling of our infrastructures and consumer behaviour outlines the advent of a prosperous industry.
From Farm to Fork, each stage of the value chain is being reassessed and renewed with products, services and ways of consumption. Here is a list depicting the major areas that will transform the future of food:
Digital Solutions: connecting actors of the food industry, from restaurant recommendations to all-in-one solutions for restaurant management. Tripadvisor and Foodetective are examples to name a few
Protein Alternatives: one of the most booming areas in the past years, answering the needs of vegans but also environmental concerns. Products such as oat milk convey are accessible to allergic citizens but present additional properties, such as extra protein levels or can be stored longer (making it a superstar product during coronavirus times)
Ghost Kitchens: linked to the rise of food delivery, these production venues centralise processes for those who do not have any point of sales but can also be shared with other vendors for cost optimisation
Sustainable Packaging: one of the biggest challenges of the industry which has considerable negative effects on the planet. Where we see more and more food pre-packaged, it is essential to develop bio, recyclable or reusable packaging
Food Waste: about 1/3 of our food is wasted. Through educational incentives or tech solutions, it can be reduced. Companies such as Too Good To Go or Kitro tackle this sensitive issue directly among restaurants, caterers and other food suppliers
Transparency: on one hand, consumers do not want to be cheated on anymore; on the other, suppliers and industrials want clearer traceability of their products. This can be achieved with techs such as blockchain, IoT or anti-counterfeit labels
Food Delivery: as people spend less time cooking, combined with the accessible and large offer of leading food delivering companies, it is with no surprise that this consumer behaviour is now part of our everyday life
Marketplace: to reduce environmental impact and cut on the cost, several companies such as Farmy link directly producers to the end-consumers. Peer-to-peer marketplaces are also flourishing, through which you can simply order a meal from your neighbour’s
Nutrition: adopting a healthier way of living includes having a better nutritional balance. Several solutions exist such as independent scoring on supermarket labels, software for chefs, online recipes for individuals and in the future, food orders related to your nutritional deficiencies
Agritech: optimising the farming of crops and animals via various technologies à farm management software, sensors, drones & robots, smart irrigations, predictive data analytics & AI. Leads to the existence of smart farms such as Agricool
Aquaculture: fish represents a healthy substitute for red meat and contains less saturated fat in addition to proteins. It also generates ten times less greenhouse gas per kg compared to beef. Can also be considered the culture of algae, another promising protein alternative
Cellular Agriculture: still in the R&D stage, it can present a solid alternative to beef farming when laboratory costs will reduce. Meat cultured in vitro will, however, take more time to be found on supermarket shelves than plant-based meat
Natural & Organic: as consumers are more aware of industrial practices, a return to the roots is demanded where additives should no longer be an option, a behaviour to be supported by governmental incentives
Today we find numerous Venture Capital funds that are investing or are completely dedicated to FoodTech. The number of deals is close to the thousand and this is just the beginning with the increasing establishment of food ventures. This is a train that already left the station, but there is still time to catch it at the next station. Don’t hesitate to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Altarius, not just a ManCo