Food entrepreneurs are changing the world but where do they want us to go? It can be difficult to navigate around all the new products, some more innovative than others, new services for restaurants and farms, robots, etc. Is there a common goal to all food entrepreneurs (and also to the investors that bet on them)?
Indeed, as I often say, it is harder to launch a food startup than a fintech or beautytech. You have both hardships of dealing with a lot of regulations and a road to market that is paved with difficulties (such as dealing with retailers). I have wondered a lot about this question of what future food entrepreneurs are building for us. I had the opportunity recently to talk to agrifood businesses and experts about that exact question: here is the video (French). That’s certainly only a part of the answer. Let’s continue the discussion!
#1 – Sodexo deals with FreightFarms to build containers to grow food on US campuses
Food giant Sodexo launched a partnership with Freight Farms, a US-based startup developing urban farms in shipping containers. Freight Farms container, the Greenery, will be deployed into US university campuses serviced by Sodexo. The farms will be directly connected to the restaurants, meeting their product needs.
#2 – Vegan cheese startups are growing everywhere
In a couple of weeks, many news regarding vegan cheese has popped up. After a series of significant deals in the US in late 2019, this domain continues to attract investors. Yet, doing plant-based cheese is far from a new thing (vegan cheese replacement have been distributed in many supermarkets across the US and Europe for years). However, the taste and feel of what is currently available is … not too cheesy and these products are often highly processed. What this new batch of products is trying to do is basically the same thing Beyond Meat, Just and Impossible Foods have done in the last ten years: make a plant-based substitute as good, as cheap, etc. as the original thing.
#3 – Is Frozen the new cool
Alpha foods raised $28m for its frozen foods. This is only one of many big rounds in frozen foods startups. Is this becoming a trend? And can expect to see more of it? Indeed, while entrepreneurs are mostly betting on fresh produce and on-demand fresh meals, this concentration of entrepreneurs in frozen is intriguing.
This new kind of brands which deliver to your door high end frozen ready to eat products differentiate themselves both by their healthy offering and their communication.
You still want more, here are some of our favourite reads of the last couple of weeks:
- What is killing malls? The Internet? No! This article shows that 3 forces, each bigger than the impact of e-commerce have damaged some of the shopping centre as we know them: big-box stores such as Costco have created more new sales than Amazon, increasing income equality with less middle-class incomers which were the targets of these places, and finally services with more and more consumers being subscribers than buyers.
- The French startup Monbanquet is getting acquired by the German B2B company Food Group
- Liquid Death raises $9m for its water in a can (yes, a can)
- A bit of fun: an ad aired during the Super Bowl by a lobby criticising plant-based meat startups for their use of chemical ingredients was met a few days later by an ad by Impossible Foods pointing to the presence of faecal bacteria in meat.
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 prove 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 implication on your business and to identify the right startup to work on your current issues.
- Innovate faster. We work with you to define the innovation strategy fitted to your business means and needs.
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).
Have a great week!