Spain as a global benchmark in FoodTech during the I InnoDays Madrid

Singapore, Israel, and Madrid? FoodTech is gaining momentum in the city trying to become a global reference. Public administrations and private agents have aligned their interests to position the region in one of the sectors of the future. These intentions were evident during the first thematic session of the Innodays, a series of sectoral meetings to promote entrepreneurship in the field of innovation organized by the Madrid City Council, the Community of Madrid, and the Madrid Innovation Driven Ecosystem (MIDE).

I Inno Days: Una nueva potencia global en foodtech

 

Spain as a FoodTech Nation

Among all the guests at the first InnoDays, Eatable Adventures’ Managing Partner, Mila Valcárcel, brought up a relevant topic: the geopolitical changes (and the consequent scarcity of food or raw materials) that will act as accelerators of changes in the agri-food value chain with the incorporation of new technologies.

These changeovers are led by technologies such as robotics, fermentation, bioprinting, artificial intelligence, IoT, new ingredients, cellular technology, or innovations in packaging. “We like to talk about Spain as a FoodTech Nation, a country that is much more than gastronomy and a world power in the agri-food field,” Valcárcel detailed. In fact, 10% of the national GDP depends on these sectors.

 

Startups, the main drivers of the industry

More than 30,000 companies are engaged in agri-food in Spain. “The great challenge for the industry is digitization, technology must reach the whole system. We also need more innovative and sustainable value chains, as is the case in other sectors”. Despite everything, the Spanish FoodTech and AgroTech environments have gained dynamism at full speed, as evidenced by the 700 million in investment attracted by agri-food last year, almost triple compared to 2020.

In this ecosystem, startups are clearly in focus, they are companies that are developing and generating interesting movements at different levels. As for Madrid, there are 407 startups operating in the region, representing 25.29 % of the national total. “They are companies that touch the entire value chain, from production to logistics. Madrid can be the Silicon Valley of food, the key is to work together to achieve it,” assured Mila Valcárcel.

 

Madrid, the Silicon Valley of food

Madrid should have a global ambition regarding its positioning on the FoodTech board. “We should take advantage to change what doesn’t work. For example, technology transfer is fundamental but very complex in Spain. We must mix technology and science to generate ambitious startups capable of solving global challenges.”

At a time when supply chains are breaking down and food autarky is on the rise, Spain has scientific teams, first-rate facilities, and a testing ground, such as Madrid Food Innovation Hub, where everything can be tested. “Let’s develop technology, intellectual property, and a solid business model around food,” said Valcárcel.

 

Educating the consumer

Meanwhile, we need to educate consumers so that they are aware of and able to exploit the disruption.  “For starters, FoodTech will allow us to make food accessible to everyone. This doesn’t mean we’re going to stop having traditional livestock or crops. It means there will be many other ways of doing things in the face of a world population that is growing and demanding functional foods, proteins…”

“It is important to work with the citizen on issues of perception and valuation. Countries like Singapore do a great job of dissemination. In this way, the consumer understands that there is nothing wrong with consuming laboratory meat or lettuce harvested in a vertical garden”.

During its first day, InnoDays aimed to highlight the needs of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and generate synergies between it. Watch the recorded session here.

Baking the Future – “Demo Day” & Second Edition Launch

Baking the Future

Baking the Future closes successfully its first
edition and opens its doors to new startups
with revolutionary ideas

 

Baking the Future

The first edition of our acceleration program Baking the Future, came to an end yesterday with the celebration of the “Demo Day”, a virtual event that aimed to present the projects of the three accelerated startups and communicate the opening of a second edition.

Innovation is part of our DNA. The company itself was born from an idea that revolutionized the bakery sector and since then, Europastry has always sought to be at the forefront of the sector, anticipating new trends and offering its
customers the most disruptive products. “If you stop innovating you end up losing competitiveness and capacity for growth. That is why it is very important to keep reinventing yourself and never think that what you have is for life“, said Jordi Gallés.

The Baking the Future acceleration program plays a very important role in this constant renewal. Startups help us to innovate and open up new opportunities that allow us to take our products to the next dimension, while at the same time we provide them with all of Europastry’s muscle so that they can grow and develop their projects with the greatest possible resources.

 

“CEREAL DEMO DAY”

The celebration of the “Demo Day” took place at Cereal, Europastry’s Innovation Center, where the first idea was born and where today we continue to work with great passion to bring to market the best products in the sector. To conclude the first edition of the Baking the Future program, the three accelerated startups presented their projects whose drivers are sustainability and health:

Agrain

  • The Chilean startup Done Properly with its cutting-edge technology which, through a bioprocess of fermentations, manages to reduce the amount of salt enhancing the natural flavors of food.
  • The Danish startup Agrain with its new way of producing food by recycling grains used in the brewing industry.
  • Spanish startup Bread Free, is the world’s first company capable of creating gluten-free wheat flour to make bread, pasta, and other bakery products.

 

BAKING THE FUTURE OPENS A NEW SELECTION PROCESS

Building an open innovation model for Europastry is the goal of the Baking the Future program. For this reason, we are opening a new selection process for Those startups that want to revolutionize the bakery sector with projects related to sustainability, improving the consumer experience, health, and food solutions and technologies aimed at improving production without losing sight of the quality of the products.

Starting today, those interested in being part of the project can apply on the Baking the Future website. Selected startups will have access to all the company’s resources – from mentoring sessions, workspace, and access to Cereal’s state-of-the-art technology labs to business plan design – to develop their products and test their viability in the market.

Meet the EAA Alumni: MOA Foodtech

Moa FoodtechMOA Foodtech is a Spanish startup that combines biotechnology and artificial intelligence to transform waste and by-products from the agri-food industry into a 100% sustainable ‘‘new generation protein” of high nutritional value.  Their goal is to implement new technologies that promote a fairer, more compassionate, and more sustainable food system while still being appealing to consumers.

We had the opportunity to interview Bosco Emparanza García, CEO and founder of MOA Foodtech, one year after going through our Accelerator Program. Discover what this meant to them, the advice he still retains, and how he sees MOA Foodtech in the future.

 

How did the idea of founding a company as MOA Foodtech arise? What is the main goal of the company?

The world is currently in a critical environmental situation. By 2050, agriculture will need to feed 40% more people, produce 70% more food, using only 10% more land.
The whole MOA team was concerned about the situation and the huge impact the agri-food industry has. For this reason, the three founding partners, Susana, José María, and I, made this decision to leave our jobs as scientific directors in a biopharmaceutical, M&A, and commercial company, respectively. As a step towards developing a sustainable agriculture-food model, we set out to investigate the following: Can we use waste and by-products from the agri-food industry to produce high-value food using biotechnology?

 

What were the benefits of working with Eatable Adventures in your first steps until the business was consolidated?

The beginning of our journey was a time of uncertainty. That same year was the confinement, and we found ourselves leaving our jobs. At that point, the Eatable Adventures team came on board; they believed in the project and shared our ambition. The solution we wanted had to be global, and thanks to Eatable’s way of working and networking, we were able to start a global project. As time passed, the most rewarding and intense hours of the week were our meetings with Mila and José Luis, when we wrote down our plans to overcome the next hurdle, and we did.

 

What is the most valuable piece of advice José Luis has given you in our Acceleration Program?

Having spent so many hours working together, it is impossible to choose just one. But without a doubt, there have been two in particular that made us change our approach and begin to see things more clearly.

The first, and undoubtedly essential, was that we had to seek international investment. This was the best way to position ourselves as a credible project and thus begin to grow.
And the second was to consider what we really were. Instead of thinking, we were just a protein manufacturer, we had to think of ourselves as a platform.

 

What is in the near future for MOA Foodtech and where do you aspire to go in the long term?

Our goal is to be a global project, so we are scaling the technology to an industrial level and developing solutions focusing on the Asian (where protein consumption will grow the most), European and American markets. In addition, we are working on applications not only in meat analogs but also in snacks and dairy analogs. We are also developing new processes utilizing by-products and residues, and perhaps most importantly, we’ve developed an artificial intelligence tool that helps us develop all of the above more efficiently and quickly.

Check out our other Alumni Interviews here.

Foodtech Opportunities in The Spanish Market

The foodtech sector is an emerging and dynamic sector dedicated to improving the entire food industry value chain sustainably. This intersection between nutrition and technology is changing the traditional food and beverage sector, prompting existing players to rethink many of their insights into manufacturing processes, consumers, and the market in general.

In recent years, Israel has positioned itself as one of the world’s FoodTech leaders, and it has succeeded. In just 70 years, it has managed to turn its threats into opportunities and become a world reference in innovation, responsible for some of the most disruptive and revolutionary technologies in multiple areas. 

 

Investing in Spain’s FoodTech Sector

In our country, investment in the foodtech sector has tripled in one year after national startups have raised 695 million euros in 2021, which is 220% more than the previous year, according to data from ICEX’s recent report. Thus, the Spanish ecosystem is the fifth foodtech ecosystem with the highest investment in Europe after Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands, offering numerous opportunities for innovation, some of which make this country a global benchmark.

Webinar Israel

Imagine how powerful these two ecosystems would be if they were connected? That’s exactly what happened during the webinar on February 22. The Foreign Trade Administration of the Ministry of Economy of the State of Israel engaged Eatable Adventures and leading Spanish corporations, such as Europastry and Pascual, to be part of the conversation and share best practices in open innovation.

Although we still have many challenges ahead of us, all levels of government, associations, clusters, and large food companies are working simultaneously to address them. We live in the era of collaboration, in which people, startups, investors, and administrations, are allied to build a better future; and of course corporations in the agri-food sector cannot miss this joint work.

 

Open Innovation Programs: Mylkcubator & Baking the Future

Startups in this sector are undoubtedly an engine of innovation that can bring a lot to the industry. In order to benefit from this, we need to create open innovation programs that identify the best startups to partner with, lay the groundwork for this collaboration, and channel joint efforts that benefit both parties.

Mylkcubator Companies of all sizes and nationalities are implementing programs along these lines every day. Important Spanish food companies have developed their open innovation programs, accelerators, and investment arms, such as Pascual’s Mylkcubator and Europastry’s Baking the Future. With these programs, companies can discover new business models, explore new channels with their consumers, reinforce the sustainability of their operations, diversify in categories or geographically and, above all, increase the efficiency of their business.

baking the futureThere are many ways in which companies in the sector work on open innovation, and it will depend a lot on the culture of the company, the position it is in, and the structure it has. In this regard, it is always helpful to have an ally who can advise the company on how to move forward, identify startups to work with, and lay the groundwork for collaboration with them, such as us, Eatable Adventures. 

If you want to know more about the Spanish foodtech sector, visit our recent article.

Meet the EAA Alumni: Ekonoke

 

Ekonoke Ekonoke is a Madrid-based company with a disruptive business model. It produces hops of the highest quality, ensuring sustainability and reliability of supply, and developing climate-resilient agricultural solutions with the least use of resources.

We had the opportunity to talk with Inés Sagrario, CEO and Co-founder of Ekonoke, which participated in our Eatable Adventures Acceleration Program (EAA) in 2019. Read on to learn more about Ekonoke’s experience as part of the acceleration program.

 

Could you narrate Ekonoke’s journey since you’ve been part of our accelerator program?

Ekonoke joined the Eatable Adventures Accelerator Program in September 2018. Our original project had nothing to do with what we are now. Even the partners at the beginning told us the project wasn’t quite right, but that they were confident in our team. We made fundamental decisions together to put the project on a better track, becoming who we are now.

In the first place, we suffered some confluence of our work with the Eatable Adventures team and the alterations of climate change we had to face. In March 2019 there was a beastly heatwave in Madrid, passing 40 degrees in the greenhouse, which was not prepared for it. This led to a drop in production, making us unable to get to serve customers we already committed with.
During this time we realized we couldn’t continue working in a greenhouse, and we had to switch to indoor cultivation.

With support from Eatable Adventures, we also realized that our vertical garden model focused on Horeca was not a scalable project, but rather an artisanal one. Responding to what our restaurant clients requested, we made our first change by offering ready-for-harvest live mini-gardens. Through Eatable, we were introduced to a variety of events, and in one of them, we met our partners Tallos microgreens. In combining the two projects, the brand Ekonoke was born.
Simultaneously, we continued testing with crops that did not have climate risk, one of them being hops, which has led us to what we are today.

  

Walk us through your rebranding process decision, why did you decide to focus only on one type of crop, as well as only selling your products at a B2B level?

We put together the situation Ekonoke was in at the time. On the one hand, our mini-gardens were not being profitable. Despite receiving very positive feedback from customers, we didn’t have the level of repetition that we had envisioned in our pre-covid business model.

On the other hand, having already been working with hops and being in contact with breweries, we realized that the brewing industry faced an important challenge of supplying their raw material sustainably and reliably.

Putting these two situations together, the answer was clear. One of the strongest supporters of our decision to completely change our business model has been Jose Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures.  

 

What is the most valuable piece of advice you have received from Jose Luis in our Accelerator Program?

First of all, I would like to emphasize that the greatest advice I have received from Jose  Luis was not really during the Acceleration Program period. Once you are part of the program, you create bonds, connections, and relationships that last a lifetime. It is very valuable to have a team behind your project with a vision and the ability to guide and support you as you make future decisions.

Having said that, the biggest piece of advice he told us was to decide to focus on growing hops. It was hard to accept and put aside our mini-garden project, but after long conversations with Jose Luis, he made us understand that the future of Ekonoke was in being a hops company.

 

Where do you envision Ekonoke in the short and long-term future?

In the short term, we are already working to have our first commercial-scale hop growing facility in Galicia, having close connections with Estrella de Galicia’s brewery. We want to show the world that different types of crops can be grown in different ways, starting with hops, so that food and ingredients do not have to travel thousands of miles, but rather the knowledge and technology will do.

In ideally 4-5 years, we will have our indoor hop growing facilities available worldwide, being the leading company that has completely revolutionized the hop industry.

 

Unmissable Foodtech Events in 2022

foodtech events in 2022

Get your calendars ready for all the exciting foodtech events in 2022!

2021 proved the industry’s resilience when faced with a global pandemic by quickly shifting years of dynamic face-to-face events to an online format in a matter of months. Thankfully, we are slowly getting back to a pre-covid world and foodtech events all over the globe will mostly offer a hybrid in-person and online experience.

January

January 18-20
Fermentation-Enabled Alternative Protein Summit

This is the only industry-led event designed to scale-up production platforms to commercialize clean-label, animal-free, and regulatory-approved alternative meat, dairy, eggs, and functional protein ingredients. The in-person event will explore key challenges and opportunities in the successful commercialization of fermentation-enabled alternative proteins for human consumption.

March

March 8-10
The Future of Protein Production Summit

The Future of Protein Production Summit is an event targeting companies involved in making the global food system more sustainable. Over 1000 attendees are expected to converge online for the three-day virtual conference, which will showcase the latest research and trends to help develop sustainable production technologies and exploration of highly sustainable processes and solutions to help make the global food system more sustainable, kind, and fair for the planet, people, and animals.

Use our exclusive code FPPEAA20 to save 20% off your ticket. 

March 22-23
World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit

The event will take place in San Francisco and will gather 1,300+ global agri-food corporates, investors, and technology start-ups from around the world to uncover the most exciting innovations in the agri-food sector and to forge the right partnerships to take those solutions to market.

March 24-25
Future Food-tech San Francisco

The Future Food-Tech Summit has become the annual meeting place for the global food-tech ecosystem. Food brands, active investors, start-ups, and technology leaders come together to exchange insights, be inspired, and identify future partners.

You will be able to join in-person or online as it is a hybrid summit. This allows you to meet and collaborate on the same platform, opening up the summit to a bigger global network than ever before.

Use our exclusive code EA10 to save 10% off a delegate pass.

April

April 4-7
Alimentaria

Alimentaria is an international event of reference that takes place in Barcelona, Spain, for all professionals in the food, beverage, and foodservice industry that allows the attendees to be up-to-date with the latest food industry trends, promoting internationalization, innovation, gastronomy, and sector specialization.

April 27-29
Anuga Foodtec 

As the leading global trade fair, Anuga FoodTec, taking place in Cologne or online, is the most important source of impetus for the international food and beverage industry. As the world’s only supplier fair, it covers all aspects of food production. Here, the industry presents its latest innovations and technological visions – from process technology to filling and packaging technology to food safety, from packaging materials to digitalization and intralogistics. And beyond that, there’s plenty more to discover.

May

May 4-5
Rethinking Materials 2022

Join a world-class gathering of visionary CPG Brands, Retailers, Producers, Converters, Regulators, Innovators, and Investors focused on scaling bio-based and circular solutions in plastics & packaging. Whether in-person in London or online anywhere in the world, all delegates will be able to meet and collaborate on the same platform.

Use our exclusive code EatableAdventures10 to get 10% off your ticket. 

May 10-12
Bridge2Food Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Summit Americas

Bridge2Food brings together key leaders from all along the value chain who are working to drive transformation. Join the three-day event to learn the latest innovations and research, find solutions and strategies, grow your network, and discover where the plant-based sector is heading next.

May 12-13
FoodHack Summit 2022

A 2-day event in Lausanne bringing together the world’s best and brightest food tech founders, leaders, and innovators. You will network with the best and brightest minds in FoodTech, discover upcoming startups and taste the latest industry innovations.

Use our exclusive code EATABLE-15 for a 15% discount on all ticket types.

May 16-17
New Food Forum

The New Food Forum at Frankfurt, is a bite-sized item on the program of the newly established IFFA Factory area, providing insights into the developments in the alternative-protein sector at IFFA, the world’s leading trade fair for the meat industry.

May 17-19
Food4Future

Food 4 Future, in Bilbao, is the place to be for any professional in the food industry and its value chain, where you can acquire the latest and most promising food technology applications, robotics and automation, data technology or processing techniques. The event aims to be the platform to discover the latest innovations and trends that are driving the transformation of the food industry.

May 18-19
F&A Next

F&A Next is about thought leadership and connecting promising start-ups and scale-ups, dedicated to food & agtech investors and innovative corporates. Expect top executives and opinion leaders to discuss the impact of innovation in the agrifood industry and consumer behavior. Plus, selected startups will be presented as the Next Heroes in Food- & AgTech.

 

June

June 1-2
Sweden Foodtech BigMeet

Expect five days of bold ideas, stunning demos, and insightful comments galore! You will meet key actors in the private sector, government, and grassroots initiatives.

Use our discount code BIGMEET20 for a 20% discount on your ticket.

June 13-14
Food Innovate Milan

Join a global network of food innovators and discover how to distinguish your product in a saturated market, achieve a cleaner label without sacrificing taste or tradition, discover and define the latest trends in consumer behavior and buying patterns across the world, enhance product formulation with some of the most innovative and exciting ingredients, plan your product life-cycle journey with break-through technologies, and much more!

Use our discount code EA895 for more than 50% off your ticket. 
This code will need to be inserted on the third page of the booking form, where it says ‘Enter promotional code’.

June 20-22
Bridge2Food Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Summit Europe

Bridge2Food brings together key leaders from all along the value chain who are working to drive transformation. Join the three-day event to learn the latest innovations and research, find solutions and strategies, grow your network, and discover where the plant-based sector is heading next.

June 21-22
Future Foodtech Alternative Proteins

Future Foodtech Alternative Proteins will take place in New York, connecting global food leaders to map out the future of protein. They will be focusing on three key pillars: plant-based, cell-based, and microbial fermentation. You should expect different discussions that will explore all facets of alternative proteins, providing a comprehensive overview of key players, markets, and solutions, handling topics from ingredient discovery and product formulation to regulation, communication, and commercialization

June 28-29
World Agritech Latam

World Agri-Tech Latam will connect international agri-food leaders to advance financial and environmental sustainability across the value chain. Join this event in São Paulo!

September

September 20-22
Bridge2Food Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Summit Asia

Bridge2Food brings together key leaders from all along the value chain who are working to drive transformation. Join the three-day event to learn the latest innovations and research, find solutions and strategies, grow your network, and discover where the plant-based sector is heading next.

September 22-23
Future Food-Tech London

Join 500+ C-Suite food brand executives, investors, and entrepreneurs from around the globe working together to scale solutions in health, nutrition, and alternative proteins. The next Future Food-Tech event will be in London!

September 29-30
New Food Conference

The New Food Conference is a unique, industry-oriented event that aims to accelerate and empower these innovative food technologies by bringing together key stakeholders.  The New Food Conference team is excited to welcome leading pioneers in the alternative-protein realm to Berlin – on-site and in-person – with a program packed with insights, an exhibition space, a startup area, food tastings, and loads of networking opportunities.

October

October 26-28
Asia Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit

In its fourth year, the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit will bring together the world’s leading agribusinesses, growers, CPG and ingredient brands, entrepreneurs, investors, retailers, and policymakers to share ideas and collaborate towards greater security and sustainability in Asia’s agri-food system.

November

November 30- December 1
Plant-Based World Conference

This is the only 100% plant-based event for trade professionals – retailers, food service, hospitality, distributors, manufacturers, and investors. Network with professionals who have successfully embarked on both personal and professional plant-based journeys, many of whom have created some of the world’s most revolutionary plant-based products and foods. Share experiences, learn from peers, and immerse yourself in a truly collaborative industry. 

November 1-4
Web Summit

At a time of great uncertainty for many industries and, indeed, the world itself, this event gathers the founders and CEOs of technology companies, fast-growing startups, policymakers, and heads of state to ask a simple question: Where to next?
This year will be held in Lisbon, make sure you don’t miss it!

December

December 6-8
Fi Europe

Discover innovative products and solutions from 1000+ exhibitors, and hear firsthand from them at the Exhibitor Showcases. Stay updated on the latest industry trends through the comprehensive agenda of live and on-demand content sessions from global experts, and build relationships by networking with current and prospective business partners, thought leaders, and industry peers.

TBD

Food Tech Matters 

Date to be announced

Industrializing Cell-based Meats & Seafood

Date to be announced

We will be regularly updating this article with foodtech events in 2022 as they come along!

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.

Do you have THE IDEA that will revolutionize Consumer Packaged Goods?

The first incubation program for consumer packaged foods and beverages in the city of Madrid has launched, promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and technology in the food sector. It is a pioneering experience in the world that will revolutionize the industry from our city, by Madrid Food Innovation Hub.

This incubation program is dedicated to projects developing packaged food products and packaged beverages by applying new technologies during formulation and/or production. They also may be accompanied by the development of new business models in the digital environment that allows a direct relationship with the consumer and the disintermediation of the sale of these innovative products. 

The selected startups must have the ambition to revolutionize the sector, and have a very clear focus on the commercial viability of the projects and their contribution to the industry, with a real impact on the economy and society. The program is focused on the establishment and consolidation of new companies. 

What kind of projects is the program looking for?

  • Packaged products with a focus on sustainability.
  • Foods or beverages with a positive effect on health (extra energy intake, proteins, superfoods…).
  • Products with improved nutritional composition (short list of ingredients or without superfluous additives).
  • Ready-to-eat or easy-to-prepare foods and beverages (snacks/prepared meals).

 

Who is the program aimed at?

The incubator is aiming to receive projects with less than 12 months of life, still in the idea phase or projects that need to transform/pivot. Also, innovative projects developing packaged food and beverages, responding to new consumer needs.

Some of the areas considered of interest may be:

  • Packaged products with a focus on sustainability.
  • Foods or beverages with a positive effect on health (extra energy intake, proteins, superfoods, etc.).
  • Products with improved nutritional composition (short ingredient lists or without superfluous additives).
  • Ready-to-eat or easy-to-prepare foods and beverages (snacks/prepared meals).

Projects that will also be especially valued include having advanced business models that allow a direct relationship with consumers and facilitate access to these new products; projects that have an ambitious team willing to scale their project; projects that have not yet received their first investment or are planned as self-employment projects; and projects promoted by unemployed or economically vulnerable people will be especially valued. All projects must be based in the Community of Madrid.

 

What does the program offer?

A 12-week personalized theoretical and practical program in which participants will enjoy a free coworking space in Madrid Food Innovation Hub, located in the Villaverde district of Madrid, equipped with a kitchen and laboratory with everything necessary for concept testing.

Participants will also benefit from weekly tutorials with the program director to advance in the development of the project, in addition to mentoring sessions with experts. They will also have access to the largest network of food entrepreneurs with more than 25,000 people.

Moreover, there will be a demo day to present the projects and test days with consumers. This wil include a network of potential investors, venture capitals, business angels and corporations.

 

Visit the website for more information!