ACQUISITIONS & OTHER NEWS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF FOOD
Before the deals, let’s look at what happened beyond investments, showing that things are moving forward even in the middle of summer.
🌍 🌡️ A recent study shows that a vegan diet reduces by up to 75% emissions, water pollution, and land use compared to meat-rich diets. Compared to other, more theoretical studies, this is based on more than 55,000 British consumer diet patterns and data from thousands of farms worldwide.
🇺🇸 🥬 AppHarvest, an indoor farming publicly listed startup, filed for bankruptcy, leading to a significant drop in its stock value. The situation for vertical and indoor farming startups is particularly complicated this year, with most well-known players shutting down.
🇺🇸 🖐️ Amazon’s palm-scanning payment technology will be available in all Whole Foods stores in the US by the end of the year. It scans the user’s palm and associates it with their Amazon Prime account.
🇺🇸 💥 Nowadays, a US plant-based chicken startup shut down. It couldn’t scale its sales fast enough to justify the distribution costs (which were high because it produced frozen products). Interestingly, this startup was known for its innovative processes that enabled a very short list of ingredients. It seems that consumers didn’t value this additional “health benefit” enough to justify the price. Our analysis shows that for alternatives to animal products to be successful, they first have to be cheap, then tasty and finally healthy.
🌎 💰 Mixed quarterly results: publicly traded startups provide us with a wealth of information on the state of their respective markets each quarter. Here are a few things that we learned from the second quarter results announced a couple of weeks ago:
- Beyond Meat is not doing well (at all): its second-quarter sales are down by more than 30% compared to last year’s.
- Oatly isn’t doing much better. It also accuses slow growth in China as it reduces its expectations for this year.
- Uber announced a profit! After more than a decade of losses, that’s quite noticeable.
- DoorDash beat sales expectations, notably due to an expansion in grocery delivery.
- HelloFresh’s customer base shrank, but its margins increased (with the help of AI).
🇺🇸 🏦 Serve Robotics, a US-based food delivery robot startup, became public. It also raised $30M in the process. It has announced a partnership with Uber Eats to deploy 2,000 robots, up from its current 100 active robots. That’s a vote of confidence for a category (delivery robots) facing many challenges.
14 DEALS & NEWS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
🇮🇱🌱 Brevel, an Israeli startup, raised $18.5M to develop a new microalgae-based protein. It will be used in plant-based alternatives to dairy products to boost their nutritional profiles.
🇪🇸 📦 Paack, a Spanish food logistics startup, raised €40M+, both to cover its increasing losses and to fund its growth. Very few startups are focused on food logistics, and while it is a highly complex business, it may be one with the direst need for disruption.
🇨🇳 🤖 BotInKit, a Chinese l startup, raised $13M for its kitchen robots. It shows how much robots are much more a booster to restaurants’ productivity than a replacement. They can also help to fasten the propagation of new recipes (and new chains) across continents.
🇩🇪🥛 The Oater, a Germany-based startup, raised over a million for its “oat drink as a service” machine. While plant-based drinks could benefit from a new “form factor” and a new user experience, as they are mostly water in cartons, we are pretty sceptical of putting yet another machine on the countertops of European consumers.
🇨🇴🍔 Foodology, a Colombian startup, raised €17M for its cloud kitchen business, enabling it to open 30 more locations across Colombia and Mexico.
🇩🇪 🛰️ ConstellR, a German/Belgium startup, raised €10M for its nanosatellites used for environmental monitoring, notably in agriculture.
🇺🇸 🌍 Yard Stick, a US-based startup, raised $10.6M for its hardware tool that measures soil carbon. This technology is critical if we want to have a robust and auditable way to assess the actual “value” of agroecological practices and create a strong carbon credit market.
🇮🇱 ☕ Ansā, an Israeli coffee startup, raised $9M for its “micro-roasting technology”. When you spend some time in the FoodTech space, you can only notice the surprising number of startups raising huge amounts of money for coffee-related subjects. They seem to target other entrepreneurs (who often like to talk about coffee). However, few have reached a larger audience.
🇺🇸🌱 GroGuru, a US startup, raised $2.3M for its water management solutions for farmers. Investments in water management are growing fast as it is now clear that farmers will be required to monitor and care even more about how they use the resource.
🇬🇧🤖 Fieldwork Robotics, a UK startup, raised €1.7M for its harvesting robots.
🇩🇪 🍽️ Neotaste, a German startup, raised €5.9M for its restaurant booking application. It is already active in 13 cities with 1,300 restaurants. Consumers pay a monthly fee to have access to deals. It is interesting to see how this sector (restaurant booking) keeps reinventing itself every five or six years with new value propositions.
🇦🇺♻️ Goterra, an Australian startup, raised $10M for its technology turning food waste into insects, which are then used are animal feed or fertiliser.