🤖 Food automation is booming

Food automation is one of the five “mega trends” that emerged from DigitalFoodLab’s recent trend analysis of the FoodTech ecosystem (free 74-pages report here). For us, food automation basically means: getting food cooked and delivered at your door by robots, with the implication that upstream stores & warehouses would also be operated by robots.
In the last couple of weeks, more than 5 deals were announced in this space, which shows a growing appetite from investors, entrepreneurs and maybe more importantly from large corporations to experiment seriously with automation.

🧑‍🍳 ➕  🤖  Robotic cooking

  • White Castle, the US fast-food chain announced it will be installing 100 “Flippy 2” robots in 100 locations. Flippy is a robotic “fry station” (for french fries but also soon to be adapted for chicken restaurants)
  • Hyphen raised a $24M Series A for its automated assembly line. This device is quite interesting as it looks like a traditional assembly line. Humans can actually use it “normally” but beneath it, an automated assembly line can execute orders in parallel.
  • Bolk, a French startup raised €4M for its food canteen. Inspired by Chowbotics (acquired by DoorDash), it can cook hundreds of meals in a 2 square meter space inside an office building.

All of these companies are answers to the pressing challenge of finding qualified human resources. They also answer the need for fresh and quick orders (notably in the context of delivery which can disrupt a restaurant).

🚚  ➕  🤖  Robotic delivery
Kiwibot just raised $7.5M for its small sidewalk delivery robots. Among the investors, Sodexo, the canteen giant, announced an expansion of its contract with Kiwibot to expand its fleet to 1,200 delivery robots across 50 US college campuses.

🏪 ➕  🤖  Robotic store
Boxy raised €25M for its autonomous corner stores. Each has a small offering of 250 food products to enable fast restocks. Consumers have to download an app that allows them to open the store. Then, they pick the items they want and leave. They are charged automatically. Stores are located in underserved areas (notably around offices or factories). The French startup wants to build a network of a thousand stores by 2025.

Do you want to understand what food automation may imply for your business or your clients’?  DigitalFoodLab is here to help you navigate the food revolution waves and build your strategy to leverage long-term opportunities. We can provide you with information (workshops, FoodTech watch), insight and strategy consulting.

Best deals and top FoodTech news (2022 - week #8)
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