Interview with Sylvain Charlebois, Food Expert, Canada
What’s the purpose of the food tech industry?
The food industry is increasingly embracing technology to get products to consumers, faster and more efficiently. The whole idea is to really provide convenience to both consumers and producers, as food tech is also impacting in a positive way the BtoB sector.
But how technologies can help the food sector and benefit to consumers at the same time, according to you?
The exchange between consumers and the industry is being disrupted by non-traditional food providers, which is why the adoption of technological solutions in the sector is accelerating. Needs were always there, but the industry was forced out of its comfort zone
in order to recognize that change was necessary, to keep up with changing consumers.
What’s the potential of growth of this new sector?
In volume, it will be difficult for the food industry to grow. But emphasising on value will allow the industry to grow… and food tech is one way to do it, since consumers have very strong expectations regarding the development of new services provided by technology.
Have you heard of some innovations you would like to share with us?
Yes, in the food processing industry ! Many startups don’t want to be bothered by using traditional channels and major grocers. Why? They are low, inconvenient and expensive at the same time! This is why these startups are developing their own channels and connecting with consumers directly, not just to sell but also to integrate consumers in the R&D process through social media.
Interview with Junghoon Moon, Food Expert, China
How would you define the o2o food industry?
The distinction between the real off-line world and the virtual online world is now difficult to determine. Why? Because of the widespread of mobile devices which allows consumers to use online services at any time and any place. Everything is connected! And this is how and why the o2o food industry is emerging. We still eat food in the real world, but we more and more use the virtual one to choose, order, and even prepare food.
Do you think the Internet of Things could be a new source of income for the food industry?
Definitely! Food companies can earn more money by creating and offering new experiences to consumers through the Internet of Things. It is really the starting point of the o2o food industry!
Is the o2o food sector the only foodtech domain ?
Absolutely not! The domain of foodtech also includes traditional food manufacturing, marketing, and services merged with IT(Info-Tech), BT(Bio-Tech), NT(Nano-Tech), and so forth. All these activities are creating values, for consumers of course, but also for all the other players of the industry.
Could you tell us about some interesting innovations you’ve heard of so far, within the o2o food industry (from China and abroad)?
South Korea is one of leading countries in the area of o2o food industry. In this country, any food can be ordered and delivered to your desk at your workplace within a couple of hours - even from fine dining restaurants! Another example? A start-up has successfully developed a robot which replaces human waiters in restaurants! And on the other side of the planet, in Boston (Massachusetts, USA) at Spyce restaurant, the whole cooking team is made of robots, even the chef!