Although it may sound unnatural, Foodtech is the fusion of the food industry with the technology industry.
As a result of this combination, more than 1,700 companies have already started to use robotics, drones, artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and 3D printing as part of their work methodology.
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There is no doubt that Foodtech is based on innovation and transformation of the food industry, but its main goal is to create more efficient systems that help to build a more sustainable future.
What is Foodtech
FoodTech is not limited to food innovation, it applies to the entire food chain, from the production or cultivation of food, through transport, tracking, storage, sale and consumption, to our plate.
FoodTech is not limited to food innovation, it applies to the whole chain, from food production or cultivation to our plate.
It seeks efficiency in processes and to build a more sustainable system, providing solutions to various problems. For example, food production consumes 30% of the energy we generate and emits 22% of the total greenhouse gases.
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In addition, every year we waste a third of the food we produce, sometimes before it reaches our tables. Not to mention the fact that 26% of the world’s population is overweight or obese.
Diet has a direct impact on us as individuals, but it also affects the environment, through water wastage, overfishing and the degradation of marine ecosystems. All of this diminishes our capacity to supply food.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of this and are demanding more sustainable, healthier and more environmentally and consumer-friendly alternatives.
A clear example of this trend appeared in 2019, at the CES consumer technology show. The winner of this show was Impossible Foods’ creation, the Impossible Burger 2.0, a burger made without meat, which aims to offer a “real” burger taste without the environmental drawbacks of intensive livestock farming.
Food science does not stop at the production of more environmentally friendly ingredients, there are other applications, such as BioBean, a company that uses coffee grounds to produce biofuels.
There are also solutions that are based on the creation of farms designed to save 99% of the water used or the use of LED lighting that uses different wavelengths, depending on the type of crop, to optimise production. The examples are almost endless.
Within Foodtech, we have different categories depending on the main focus of their respective activities:
They develop solutions to improve the production and quality of agriculture, using drones, management software or new agricultural products. For example, they create urban farms that help reduce the distance between production and consumption sites. This saves both the need for transport and the use of fossil fuels. Another example is achieving higher yields by developing new generation farms that are more efficient and sustainable.
In this category we present Agri Marketplace, a company that seeks B2B digital marketplace solutions, connecting producers and industry. The company fosters transparency in agricultural market transactions through a digital platform in combination with a network of services and collaborating partners. It facilitates online payments between buyer and seller, product quality control options and logistics services.
These startups in the foodtech sector differentiate themselves through innovation in food technology, in the product itself, in the transparency of its composition or the means of distribution.
There are projects that seek to develop a new generation of household appliances or kitchen utensils. This equipment is more personalised or offers new uses. This trend includes companies dedicated to finding sustainable and healthy alternatives to ingredients that we already consume, such as sugar, or projects that seek more sustainable food packaging.
This category includes Memphis Meats, a food technology company based in Berkeley, California, that aims to grow sustainably farmed meat, which would help reduce the impact of livestock farming on the environment.
Foodservice y Delivery
They improve the way hospitality, catering, and food and beverage companies are managed today. They implement services to improve restaurant management, their online presence or their marketing strategy. For instance, we have companies that allow anyone to hire the services of a local chef to organise a dinner or cocktail according to their tastes and budget, as in the case of the Spanish app Take a Chef.
This classification also includes companies that are reinventing delivery, such as the rental of kitchens or dark kitchens. Moreover, Uber Eats launched the concept of Starship Enterprises. It basically consists of replacing the pizza delivery person with a robot to do the job.
Retail and Foodtech
They develop solutions for the food retail industry, from digitisation of the supply chain to a better in-store shopping experience.
They provide tools to manage data, build interactions between brands and their customers and generate more information on consumer behaviour to achieve better sales results and productivity.
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This includes Noweat, a company that produces healthy food vending machines for offices, and Company Tellspec, a big data company that offers restaurants portable food analysis devices, in real-time, which provide information on, for example, the degree of ripeness of fruit, possible allergens or food properties, quickly and easily.
We briefly summarise what Foodtech is, the advantages and why we should be interested in this sector.
Technology is entering our farms, restaurants, and homes to make our lives easier. In addition, it transforms the way we produce food and how we consume it. The industry is working hard to respond to an increasingly conscious consumer and to find solutions to the problem of sustainability or food waste.
Foodtech is a sector of which we have only seen the tip of the iceberg and which will undoubtedly grow strongly in the coming years. We are sure that it will be a big topic. It will be an important driver in helping to solve some of the environmental problems we are facing. Foodtech will change the way we feed ourselves.
If you are thinking of creating a startup in the foodtech sector or if you want to digitalise your company, tell us about your project. We will be happy to help you.