“New retailers” is a sub-category of the Delivery sector. See all definitions of FoodTech and its categories here.

The “new retailers” FoodTech category regroups startups developing grocery e-commerce platforms, including farm-to-home solutions and delivery from stores.

Food e-commerce has been long to take off and the levels of penetration are very different from country to country (around 17-20% in China and South Korea, 8% in the UK and less than 1% in Germany). However, Covid has had a huge impact. The growth has been spectacular and the medium-term trajectory has been impacted with an expected growth significantly higher than what was previously projected.

The question is now much less about the existence of the food e-commerce market but much more about “how to make profits on it” and “who will master it”. As traditional players have been reluctant to enter food e-commerce, the market is open to new players. One should keep in mind that in the US alone, the grocery market was above $750B in 2020. This explains the flood of investments in this space oriented toward startups that are looking to disrupt the grocery market.

New retailers

The new retailers are the startups that are looking to rebuild the infrastructure of a traditional retailer with a focus on e-commerce. Starting from scratch, they are able to use the new tools that traditional retailers have a hard time adopting. It means both software (how the supply chain is managed) and hardware (unified fleet of (often electric) vehicles, modern warehouses, etc.). In a word, they combine the best of both worlds: they are operated as startups but with the ambition and knowledge of a century of mass retail. This combination attracts a lot of investments, notably in Europe with a new generation of players that is able to make a dent in the market by growing food e-commerce sales in their markets and then by taking significant shares.

Key startups to consider

  • Picnic, in the Netherlands, now expanding in new European countries
  • Oda, born in Norway where it leads grocery e-commerce and is now expanding in new markets
  • Rohlik, a Czech Republic-based company that is also expanding fast
  • Mathem, which leads in Sweden

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