When Worldwide Food Tech Transforms Our Eating Habits


In 2017, worldwide investment in start-ups from the Food Tech and Agri-Tech sectors reached 10.1 billion dollars. A record for this sector, the financing of which has been booming for several years.

From the promotion of healthier eating, to the reduction of waste, via the all-important delivery platforms, worldwide Food Tech is a booming sector, in spite of the much publicised failures of promising companies (like Pronto in the UK).

Which different businesses are emerging in the Food Tech sector? Which are the leading start-ups in the sector in Europe and around the world? Here’s a quick overview:

Delivery of meals to the home or workplace: the leading Food Tech start-ups

Deliveroo, Hungry House, One Delivery, My Food, Domino’s Pizza… Platforms for the delivery of meals to the home or workplace are legion and continue to thrive year after year. However, they don’t all follow the same model. There are three main types of meal delivery platforms:

The aggregators

Aggregators provide an online platform that enables consumers to compare menus and prices from different restaurants. When the order is placed, the aggregator collects commission paid by the chosen restaurant, which operates the delivery service itself. In this market, the biggest players are the German company DeliveryHero (that took over its competitor and compatriot Foodpanda in 2016), the British company Just Eat (that bought out the French company AlloResto), and the American company GrubHub.

The deliverery guys

You’re sure to have heard of Deliveroo and Foodora: these two European start-ups (the former British, the latter German) are among the most highly valued in the sector. From the restaurants’ point of view, these companies enable them to no longer have to manage the logistics of delivery (or quite simply to start delivering!). From the start-ups’ point of view, the growth possibilities are almost infinite, bearing in mind the number of restaurants in the world.  

The online restaurants

Lastly, there are those who have decided to go for a made in-house offering, rather than establishing partnerships with restaurants. These include the French company Nestor (which has already managed to break even, quite an achievement in the Food Tech sector) which, with the help of prestigious chefs, creates a single menu every day at a price of €15. With slightly different models, there are, Frichti, PopChef and FoodChéri who are also tickling the taste buds of Parisians every lunchtime.

Food boxes: the new perfect gift?

Subscriptions to “boxes” are riding high in every sector of business: beauty, fashion, lifestyle, tea, flowers, beer… and food, obviously.

Some, like the American companies Plated and TryTheWorld, provide you with original recipes and all the ingredients you need to make them and produce delicious, well-balanced meals. Others are riding the organic and/or gluten-free wave, like Lush Bites cookie boxes and Love With Food gluten-free snacks. If you want something spicier, you can also try Hot Sauce Depot or Flaming Licks.

In France, the most popular boxes are more directed towards regional products with a distincly French feel. For example, wine from Le Petit Ballon, cheese from Tentation Fromage or Les Nouveaux Fromagers, and deli foods from Gourmet Box.

These boxes come with very different price tags attached and take pride of place in the rankings of most popular gifts. Apart from their undeniable quality, the box subscription market is absolutely booming.

When technology, chemistry and food come together

Beef that’s not beef

Are you desperately trying to go veggie but just can’t resist a nice juicy burger? Impossible Foods may have the answer: a juicy burger with the taste and colour of beef… but vegetarian.

In 2011, the biochemist Patrick Brown perfected this amazing recipe comprising wheat protein, potato and coconut oil for the flavour. Leghemoglobin is what gives the burgers their colour and ‘bloody’ appearance. A great way to combat the over-consumption of meat which is unviable in the long run as well as being harmful to the environment.

Insects, the food of the future?

Do you dream of finding a protein bar that is both healthy AND tasty? As astonishing as it may sound, Exo Protein has created a protein bar based on powdered crickets. Although that may sound far from appetising to you, the American start-up has nevertheless raised more than 5 million dollars.

Meals: a time constraint?

Are you fed up with wasting time (and money) shopping, cooking, and eating? Do you occasionally need an all-in-one meal that only takes a few seconds to eat? The German company Bertrand and the French company Feed offer nutritious organic bars and drinks as an alternative to traditional foods.

Their Californian counterpart, Soylent, was created in the kitchen of its founder Rob Rhinehart who sees meals as a costly waste of time. A rather sad view of things, made even sadder by the use of ingredients which although nutritious are made (proudly) from genetically-modified products.

Many other areas are being studied and reinvented by Food Tech start-ups worldwide: the management of supplies for restaurants, nutrition coaching, product processing and distribution… “From farm to fork”, the Food Tech slogan is a perfect summary of the idea.

More than ever, the sector is fascinating, particularly in the light of the evolution of nutritional trends. And although it may still be in its infancy in Europe, Food Tech is a market that is firmly established on the other side of the Atlantic, and European entrepreneurs have everything to gain by taking inspiration from the Americans and replicating tried-and-tested models in Europe!

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