First of all, I wish you a happy new year on the behalf of DigitalFoodLab’s team! Let’s hope that 2021 will be a better, healthier and more peaceful year.
Even if many have struggled in 2020, the FoodTech ecosystem as a whole has prospered in the context of the pandemic. In many instances things have gone beyond the boldest predictions made one year ago. However, in the wake of a new year that could still reveal many new challenges, I still feel compelled to do this exercise of making predictions. So here are DigitalFoodLab’s 8 predictions for 2021 :
1. Plant-based startups will keep popping up in every direction (by the way, are you following Veganuary?). We expect to see more fast-food chains doing deals with meat substitutes while entrepreneurs launch new dairy and fish related products. We can also expect the competition to start moving from “I have the closest thing to the actual product” to “I taste the same that the animal product but I am also healthier, less processed or more local than the other alternatives”.
My wish here is simple: a product that is tasty with minimum processing and still digestible.
2. Boom of new startups venturing the food supplements ecosystem and also in hardware and services enabling consumers to understand and act on their food-related health.
Our wish would be to see credible personalised food supplements offerings based on data (such as the genome, activity levels tracked by your watch) and real science.
3. Major corporations will announce that they are about to launch new products based on precision fermentation components such as those enabling the “re-creation” animal proteins (think about Perfect Day to replicate dairy) and those creating new kind of proteins out of mycelium.
Our wish would be to see the case for precision fermentation moving forward in Europe.
4. Dark stores and other grocery delivery ventures will keep rising all over Europe with a mix of new ventures companies and more mature restaurant delivery companies switching to groceries.
As we see more and more startups venture in this field, we’d like them to be more innovative in the way they manage the packaging (meaning less single-use and plastic packagings).
5. More and more investments will go into cloud kitchens companies. They will come from related VCs but more and more from non-tech investors (from retailers to real estate investors).
I wish things could move faster in this ecosystem, notably if thanks to crowdfunding it became open to individual investors to finance the kitchens.
6. Fully autonomous cooking robots will make their (long-awaited) debut. It will be mostly kiosks in companies cafeterias, supermarkets and some restaurants.
After years of expectations and speculations, I really hope that these robots will live to their promise and create interesting experiences.
7. We’ll keep talking about clean meat (some will want to ban it before trying it), the money will keep pouring into the ecosystem, but we don’t expect products in restaurants or in the shelves in Europe.
My (quite hopeless) wish would be an open debate about this new set of technologies based on facts and not emotion.
8. The European FoodTech ecosystem will be stronger than ever. As large corporations will keep going on their shopping spree for startups, it creates an incentive for new entrepreneurs (many of them have started thinking about creating a food startup during lockdown) to think big.
For more information on current trends, look at our FoodTech trends and FoodTech brands reports. Should you want to discuss these trends (as an entrepreneur or larger company) and see how they could shape your business’s future, please contact us!
Have a great week!
TOP INSIGHTS FROM DIGITALFOODLAB
#1 – Gorillas raises $44M for its German dark stores
Gorillas, a German dark stores startup, just raised $44M to fuel its expansion. It offers 10-minutes grocery deliveries. Launched in January, Gorillas has grown fast and now expects to be available in 15 cities across Germany and Europe by the end of the first half of 2021…
#2 – Huge growth in grocery delivery in China
The Chinese tech ecosystem’s big names have released some figures about their grocery sales for 2020, and they are impressive. Meituan, a food delivery startup, is now betting on groceries. It will expand to a thousand cities with a goal of less than 30-minutes deliveries. For that, it will develop its own logistics with new warehouses. In the meantime, Pinduoduo announced that it expects its grocery sales to double to more than $6B this year.
#3 – Innovafeed raises €140M to build the largest insect protein factory in France
InnovaFeed raises €140 to build the largest insect protein factory in Europe. With Ynsect, which has also raised capital this year to expand its production in the USA, it leads the French AgTech (and more broadly FoodTech) ecosystem in terms of funding and internationalization…
#4 – Doordash’s IPO: $3 billion raised and a valuation quadrupled in 6 months
Doordash, the leader of food delivery in the US, just completed its IPO. It doubled its price of $102 per share on its debut and is now trading far above that. Doordash competes notably with Uber Eats (which has just completed the acquisition of PostMates) and Grubhub. It differentiates itself by focusing on suburbs and smaller cities. Interestingly, all are now public companies. We’ll see how this changes the landscape…
#5 – Cellular agriculture creates waves in Europe
As we keep talking about cellular agriculture week after week, it is creating not-so-nice comments in Europe. In London, the design museum hosted an exhibition showcasing the “Ouroboros steak”, a cell-based steak made of human cells that triggered a controversy. And, in France, the agriculture minister declared itself against cellular agriculture, and we are observing a burgeoning of opinion columns against it in the media. Their main arguments being that we don’t know if it is safe and that it could disrupt livestock farming as we know it…
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As you can see, FoodTech is indeed moving faster than ever in 2020. But you are not alone. DigitalFoodLab is here to help you :
- Stay at the top of your domain. We provide exclusive insights and information through talks and our FoodTech watch.
- Prepare for the future. We help you make plans for long-term trends and their implications on your business and identify the right startup to work on your current issues.
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No matter if you are a startup or a food giant, we are here to work with you and change the world of food! (contact us).