The key figure
10 billion dollars. This is the amount of private global investment that the Food Tech industry generated in 2015. This impressive figure includes 5 billion dedicated to products and services, and another 5 billion for delivery and business. To give you a general idea, it's more or less the equivalent of R&D investment by agri-food stakeholders, as pointed out by Kevin Camphuis, co-founder of Shake-Up Factory, in an interview published by LSA on 1 June 2016. This goes to show how this economy is raising the aspirations of private stakeholders and audacious entrepreneurs.
How can this success be explained?
It's simple, food tech start-ups are growing at breakneck speed thanks to a considerable advantage: command of new technologies. Artificial intelligence, connected devices (IoT), machine learning, GPS, etc. A reflection of how digital technology has transformed work, start-ups have access to kaleidoscopic talent, a range of skills, and don't hesitate to speed up decision-making processes to be the first on the market.
To summarise, these start-ups are shaking up the food industry to reinvent the user experience. And as we all know, food is a universal and daily need. In developed countries, it is subject to new expectations and new needs: home delivery, product quality, origin of ingredients, waste reduction, veganism, etc. There are still many fields to be explored to invent new solutions. This is where food tech start-ups shine; they have managed to use technology to create new solutions.
Let's start with France! Created in June 2015 by Julia Bijaoui, Fritchi is a start-up providing home-delivered meals that raised 12 million euros in April 2016! And if that's not enough, you can book a private chef through La Belle Assiette, which raised 1.3 million euros in February.
If you're more focused on reducing waste, you'll be interested to know that Optimiam also landed 500,000 euros in February to develop its app, which tells you about food surplus in real-time.
Next up is a tour of China with Ele.me, which has raised over 1 billion dollars and headed straight into the top 3 start-ups in the country. 10,000 cyclists pedal tirelessly in 250 cities to deliver dishes from 300,000 partner restaurants... to the delight of 40 million users.
Next stop: the USA with YourBite, which is launching an energy bar designed by consumers! A choice of ingredients, nutritional information, allergy warnings, etc. — the start-up takes care of the rest and sends off your 100% customisable energy bar.
The same trend can be seen in Israel where Consumer Physics are helping people to watch their diet with a sensor to evaluate the calories and nutritional value of foods.
The list is long. Food tech is having a moment: every week, more and more funds are raised in France and internationally.
This is also happening in the service sector linked to the restaurant industry, as Maddyness reminds us in a recent article: 'We saw an increase of 50% in investments in Europe related to this domain between 2014 and 2015, according to Tech EU's latest report'. Maddyness wonders if there's a risk of a bubble. The competition seems stiff. The broad range of market segments for the complementary services born of the digital economy, the quality of products, proximity, the demands of personalisation and geolocation seem to provide many ways for start-ups to stand out and remain in the race, confirming food tech's role in history.