Eatable Adventures’ Top 10 FoodTech Headlines of 2021

As 2021 is coming to an end, Eatable Adventures has created a compilation of the Top 10 Foodtech news. Additionally, you can download the report “The State of Foodtech in Spain” – presented this month – and learn about every great evolution that has undergone this industry and how it has tripled its investments in the last year.

Top 10 FoodTech Headlines of 2021

  1. Eatable Adventures launches a €50 million Fund for investing in Early-stage food and Agriculture Tech startups. The fund will make early and growth-stage investments targeting the most disruptive startups in food and agriculture tech across Europe and Latin America.
  2. The World’s First Incubator for the Dairy sector was launched by Pascual Innoventures in collaboration with Eatable Adventures. Mylkcubator becomes the first international incubator focused on the detection and development of highly innovative startups in the dairy industry.
  3. The Future is Cultured Meat. Cell culture production is one of the most promising trends, which will allow the development of functional and personalized products. Cultured meat is expected to account for 35% of meat industry consumption within 20 years.
  4. The Forward-thinking Projects Expected to Revolutionize the Bakery world. Baking the Future, the world’s first bakery acceleration program hosted by Europastry, has singled out three revolutionary startups from hundreds of hopefuls, which are expected to change the bakery space.
  5. The Spain Foodtech program aims to support the development of Foodtech projects with a solid technological base. Spain is coming out as one of the leading countries in Foodtech in Europe and even on a global level; the market has developed significantly in the past few years and is having enormous momentum.
  6. Madrid Food Innovation Hub is a Pioneering Experience in the World. The business incubator Madrid Food Innovation Hub was born with the mission of promoting disruptive food technologies and revolutionizing the global food industry in order to become a European reference center.
  7. The 10 Startups that are developing Plant-based Seafood Substitutes. Seafood is gaining a lot of traction with the rise of alternative proteins in the industry and startups are focusing on developing more sustainable products from algae and plant-based proteins.
  8. The Future of Food: Fungi and Robots Rule. From fermentation to robots, the future of food and how the world eats are dramatically changing. Here are some of the most exciting innovations on the horizon. Sustainability will definitely remain a trend in 2022.
  9. The 6 Startups that are using Mushrooms as an innovative solution in the Foodtech field. Companies in Foodtech are also harnessing mushroom fermentation to develop more sustainable food. Mushroom-based protein seems to be catching up with plant-based and cell-based solutions in popularity.
  10. Cultivated Meat: Out of the Lab, into the Frying Pan. Cultured meat has the potential to replicate the taste, texture, smell, nutritional composition and appearance of conventional meat. Making cultivated meat a $25 billion global industry by 2030 presents opportunities within and beyond today’s food industry

Spain has one of the most advanced Foodtech ecosystems in the world, growing exponentially year after year. Eatable Adventure’s quantitative study “The State of Foodtech in Spain 2021” clearly demonstrates the country’s strengths by analyzing several different areas within the sector.

Discover the answers to questions such as How has Foodtech evolved in the last year? and What are the keys to improving the competitiveness of the food industry in Spain?

Download the report here

5 Spanish Startups Leading Investments in 2021

Spanish foodtech startups are attracting higher investments, even from initial rounds. As a result, investment in foodtech projects has experienced an important growth during 2021 reaching a total of 695 million euros. This represents a 220% increase compared to 2020, which demonstrates the potential of the foodtech sector in the coming years. 

The investment momentum is determined by a set of relevant factors: greater knowledge of the sector by non-specialized national investors, the entry of international venture capital with bets similar to those of more developed ecosystems, and access to larger rounds by more mature startups and scale ups. 

 

GLOVO

The Barcelona-based multi-category delivery startup landed the largest funding round for a Spanish startup earlier this year of 450 million euros. Glovo’s intention is to use the investment to expand their presence in their existing 20 markets, plus focus more on the Q-Commerce (Quick Commerce) division. 

 

BIOTECH FOODS

BioTech Foods is a Spanish start-up founded in 2017 with the mission of producing and commercializing cultured meat. JBS, the Brazilian meat giant, is looking to expand into the cultured meat sector and invested 36 million euros on BioTech Foods to enable the firm to build an industrial plant in the Basque Country with the main objective being to have the new plant ready in 2024, when commercialization is expected to begin. 

 

HEURA

Most famously known for their vegan chicken alternative, foodtech startup Heura received 16 million euros in funding. The funds will go towards developing vegan pork and increasing its global expansion, especially in the British and American markets. This investment came just weeks after Heura’s crowdfunding campaign that raised 4 million euros in just 24 hours. 

 

BIOME MAKERS

Biome Makers raised 15 million dollars to secure their position as a global leader in biological soil analysis. The funds will go towards accelerating the global expansion of BeCrop® as the industry standard for functional soil analysis and sustainable soil health recovery, and Gheom® as an independent assessment program measuring the impact of crop inputs and farming practices to support a personalized agriculture.

 

CROWDFARMING

CrowdFarming raised 15 million euros to facilitate the entry of new producers onto its platform, improve its logistics and help more producers obtain EU organic certification. The startup’s mission is to democratize the food supply chain through direct sales to the end consumer, for which they have developed a marketplace where customers can access products in this way.

 

Download Eatable Adventure’s Report THE STATE OF FOODTECH IN SPAIN 2021 here.

 

Investment received by foodtech startups in Spain triples in 2021

Spain has more than 400 Foodtech startups, being one of the major powers in the sector worldwide.

The agri-food sector is one of the engines of the Spanish economy, concentrating almost 10% of GDP, but we also have the opportunity to become a world power in innovation in the sector, thanks to “Foodtech”, a term with which any technology applied to the agri-food value chain is known. And this is demonstrated by the 2021 edition of the report on the State of Foodtech in Spain, a quantitative study that analyzes the sector that has been prepared for the second year by Eatable Adventures, one of the three leading foodtech accelerators globally.

2021 has been a great year for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in new technologies applied to food. Despite the difficulties suffered by the economy as a result of COVID-19, the net figure of 407 startups in the sector was consolidated, with 9% of them having been born this year. Spain is positioned as one of the main global powers in the sector, similar to France, ahead of the United Kingdom, but far behind the 900 startups in Israel or the 200 in Singapore, much smaller territories than our country. 

However, the most remarkable fact is the significant growth in investment received by these startups throughout 2021, reaching 695 million Euros, a growth of +220%, more than triple that in 2020. This figure places foodtech as the second category of investment in startups in our country, behind only transportation. Most of this investment takes place in very early stages (23% preseed and 46% seed). The 23% is in series A and only 5% in later stages or 2% in acquisitions. Glovo leads the highest round, with 450 million euros, followed by Biotech Foods with 36 million euros, Heura with 16 million euros and Biome Makers and Crowdfaming with 15 million euros each. 

Startups and the agri-food value chain

The concern of our entire society for sustainability, combined with the growing demand of consumers for healthier products, has been understood by the sector as great opportunities, increasing the number of startups that focus on the primary sector of the chain, on agriculture and livestock, seeking more sustainable formulas in production. Thus, 24% of startups work in agrifoodtech (vs. 17% in 2020), 35% in production and transformation, 24% in distribution and retail, and 17% in restaurant tech. 

Of those startups working in the primary sector, this year there is a greater weight in projects focused on the modernization of crops, applying software and automation in the processes (36%), while the weight of new methods of cultivation (18%) or the application of biotechnology in the fields (16%) is slightly reduced.

Analyzing the food process, which continues to be the most important point in the agri-food value chain (35%), there is a change in the search for new ingredients with which to produce alternative foods (47%), as opposed to plant-based or insect-based foods, which was the main driver until now (24%).

In the logistics section, the weight of direct-to-consumer models (74%), which in 2020 had gained very significant weight due to COVID-19, is slightly reduced. However, we see how many of these startups, which started out focused on the distribution of cooked food in restaurants (delivery), are expanding their catalogs to shift towards e-grocery.

Finally, in restaurant tech, we can clearly see how projects related to improved management thanks to artificial intelligence and the use of data are growing (40%), whereas until now this category was led by reservation platforms.

An important point of the study is the technology used in these projects. In 2021 we see how the use of biotechnology (32.05%) grows, mainly in food processing and crop improvement, but also Artificial Intelligence (28.21%) and Machine Learning (24.36%), in this case in a much more transversal way as they have applications in practically all points of the value chain. Robotics (12.82%) and Blockchain (6.41%) have a lower use in the volume of projects analyzed, for having a lower versatility and being more specific technologies but we see how there is growth compared to the 2020 report, confirming their consolidation as base technologies of foodtech.

It is important to highlight that 30.2% of the projects have patents, which helps to build a solid ecosystem with its own intellectual property that places our country in an opportune position of leadership, allowing us to export not only materials and processes, but also knowledge.

The profile of the entrepreneur is similar to that of the previous year: 40 years old, male (80%), starting up alone (14%) or with 1 partner (26%), and with less than 5 employees (46%), but 92% of them declare that in 2022 they will increase their workforce, confirming the employment generation capacity of the ecosystem.

 

What still needs to be improved, according to entrepreneurs

The study also includes a qualitative dimension that seeks to reflect the sector’s unfinished business. According to this, entrepreneurs state the importance of research centers in the development of startups in the sector (89% in 2021 vs. 65% in 2020), although it is perceived that universities do not fulfill this role, although this has improved slightly (50% in 2021 vs. 61% in 2020).

Knowledge of the sector by international investors is attributed as a reason why they invest in the sector (88% in 2021 vs 85% in 2020), which contrasts with the sentiment that the domestic investor lacks this knowledge, although this has improved this year (41% in 2021 vs 63% in 2020). It is important to highlight how the data reflects the change that the food industry is undergoing and is perceived as supporting the development of startups (67% in 2021 vs 43% in 2020).

And the point of subsidies is still pending, although it has improved. Entrepreneurs continue to demand greater ease of access to specific public aid for the sector (53% in 2021 state that this is a problem vs 72% in 2020).

For José Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures: “The tripling of investment data in 2021 and the significant volume of startups operating in our country show how the foodtech sector is confirmed as a great opportunity for the economy of our country, which will grow even more with the involvement of the public sector, corporations, research centers and universities”.

Download here the report and get to know more about our thriving food technology scene.