I hope you still have a bit of summer weather where you are. With chilly air, in Paris, we have no temptation of going back to the beach! Surprisingly, many things happened during the summer in the FoodTech ecosystem around the world. To help you get back your feet, here are 5 of the top news that you should know to make small talk around the coffee machine:
#1 – Deliveroo announced that it will soon buy and deliver ingredients to restaurants (see Restuarant Dive article here)
Why does that matter? It is a clear sign of an accelerating overthrow of the way we think about the foodservice value chain. Initially, you had producers, grocers along the chain of procurement toward restaurants which eventually get to the consumer directly (notably using the internet). A restaurant is only able to access to a big chunk of its clients through one or two delivery platforms (today 2% of the foodservice market, tomorrow it could be 20%). And now, it will (only?) be able to order its ingredients through the same platforms.
Finally, in the long run, it really looks like the first step to source ingredients that could then be delivered directly to the client.
#2 – Starship technologies raises $40m for its autonomous delivery robots(VentureBeat, see article here)
Why does that matter? There is right now a big competition between delivery robotics startups to collect the biggest number of partnerships with big players. Starship Technologies and its robots are already experimenting with Sodexo and others, mostly in universities. This deal is another sign of the momentum of this (European) startup. This size of the deal also shows that investors look for a big picture for the company and the underlying technology.
Delivery robots still sound far fetched or limited to a college campus, but they are coming, and maybe faster than we thought.
#3 – Beyond Meat and Impossible burger are still racing after each other.
Beyond Meat (plant-based meat alternatives sold initially in retail), after its highly successful IPO entered a race with Impossible Foods (plant-based burgers initially sold only in restaurants) entered a competition to which would land the bigger number of partnerships with fast-food chains. This summer, Beyond Meat created the buzz by launching fried chicken in a KFC (it lasted only 2 hours but was enough for a lot of media coverage). Impossible Foods is expanding the field of the battle. First, it has signed a partnership with Sodexo to launch its burger in 1,500 locations. Then, it is also targeting retail with a launch in September.
Why does that matter? While it can seem (and at least, partly is) as news of startups fighting each other with the money of their respective investors, it is much deeper.
Plant-based products, those of startups or leading companies (Here, Nestlé is launching its plant-based and inspiringly named Incredible burger in the US) will change the industry and current protein sellers should think about it.
Why does that matter? While we talk mostly of B2C related startup businesses to appeal to everyone, we are keenly interested in what’s happening behind the doors. Logistics and especially food procurement are one of our favourite topics. Today’s food logistics are a complicated matter, notably for restaurants, with a lot of inefficiencies and middlemen.
Many startups, small or big, are entering this market and will change it in the years to come.
#5 – Perfect day, the cell-based milk startup put ice cream on sale (here)
Why does that matter? Often talked about, but rarely seen, cell-based products are almost mystical with their promise of meat or dairy products without any harm done to the animal. Perfect day, specialising on milk and a fermentation process (a much easier and replicable process than the one needed to produce cell-based meat) has therefore created the buzz by putting some product on the market (sold out in one day). It also opens a long road before “real” commercialization with questions like “what is this product” (it is not dairy per se, at it doesn’t come from a cow, but someone with dairy allergies will react to the product as it contains the same proteins as milk).
After considering the near future of a plant-based protein world, we have also to consider a more long term future with these new cell-based products.
Have a great read!