Tag Archive for: food startups

Last Thursday, July 2nd we added another edition to our series of international webinars as we delved into the power of agtech investment to building a more resilient food system amid the covid crisis. In our latest offering Investing in Agri-Food Tech: Building Resilient Food Systems we were joined by some of the agtech industry´s biggest experts including Anne Greven, Global Head of F&A Startup Innovation at Rabobank, John Friedman, Director of AgFunder Asia & our very own José Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures, who offered their insights into the keys behind investing in agtech, the main drivers of change and which companies are currently leading this new agricultural revolution.

 

As the covid crisis affects every part of the food industry, investor and entrepreneur mindsets are changing and the pandemic has uncovered a fragile and overly traditional food supply chain that begs for change. Agtech offers new power and possibilities to leverage disruptive solutions. In 2019 startups raised approximately 20 billion worth of investment as they develop new solutions towards redesigning a more active supply system across the industry including in blockchain, automation and robotics.

 

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar in case you missed it:

 

What are the main drivers for agtech investment?

For John Friedman there has been a significant increase over the years, specifically compared to the year 2015 when agrifood made up only 5% of VC funding, which is miniscule if you consider the industry employs 40% of the world’s population. John stated that “we all rely on food and sustainability” and the lack of awareness and attention the sector has garnered is what motivated AgFunders founders to launch the initiative. He added that we are currently facing massive challenges as a food supply chain, including in population growth, climate change and changing consumption patterns.

This is something Eatable Adventures Jose Luis agrees on, adding that these factors were definitely the kickstarters to realising the need for quick actions towards producing a kinder way to make food for our planet. We´ve also seen a spike in agtech players enter the market. For example, when plant-based pioneers Beyond Meat announced they were going public people realised that agtech investment was accelerating and a space definitely worth investing in.

Another driver for investment has also been the outbreak of the covid crisis, as it uncovered a stressed-out supply chain begging for change. Anne Greven added that just now we are truly beginning to see more investors and entrepreneurs interested in the space, including governments and universities who are also recognising the need for change.

Singapore is a small country which relies on 90% of food imports to feed its population. With covid restricting everything from transportation to social distancing, importers were left with tonnes of food waste after supply and demand issues, which is another reason for creating a more nimble food system, and John Friedman believes agtech has the power to do so.

“Perhaps one of the silver linings from this experience is a sort of awaking around the fragilities of how we as a society live our lives and how we have taken so much for granted” – John Friedman.

 

How is agritech innovation adding value to the more traditional farming and agricultural practices?

 

“More and more is moving faster than we realise–more tech is being implemented” – Anne Greven.

The agtech space is definitely considered one of the more traditional spaces in the food industry. For Anne Greven one of the benefits of agritech innovation has been “creating greater efficiencies in the farms”. Technology offers more margins for farmers and those are the innovations poised to take off to help create a more sustainable food system.

It was agreed between our panelists that the main factor we are seeing, and that is securing the most support and funding, is low tech but high impact development and there are many corporations looking to help their farmers implement such technologies. John offered community farmer apps as a prime example, which help in a small way by
“putting the power back in the farmers hands..and cutting out the middleman”.

 

How do they compare in terms of profitability, complexity and availability of quality deal flow to other areas in foodtech?

“It’s a complex space that requires some solid engineering” – John Friedman.

The agrifood space is implementing increasingly more technology making a bigger market year on year. Jose Luis believes that even more doors of opportunity are being opened and that the “return is similar if not better, we think, than other areas”. He assures that the technology implemented doesn’t need to be that strong; “you can make big things with very simple solutions”.

In Rabobank the volume of applications are growing each year, and many agtech startups are able to secure financing when other spaces haven’t. In fact, this years 300 alumni alone bagged 120 million in funding. People are recognising this is a growing area worth investing in, and the greater implementation of tech, the greater return for the investor. John adds that although AgFunder has always been typically focused on the upstream, he has started to recognise the commercial opportunity of downstream areas like CPG, alternative proteins and foodtech over the past few years and admits the investment landscape has shifted across the food system.

 

What are the most relevant and promising areas worth investing in?

For Anne, one of the most exciting emerging areas is that of carbon trading soil; “the farming and agritech impact (to) reduce carbon emissions..there will be a lot of people looking to invest there”. But she adds that anything offering greater efficiency for the farmer as a general goal will be an area worthy of investment. Since margins are razor thin for farmers across the world, there is a huge need to manage this and give back dollars to the people actually producing our food.

Predictive analytics was also an area of interest, since despite being present in the industry for some years now, data sources are always getting bigger and with more predictive measures now available there are more efficient ways to help farmers than ever before. This goes for artificial intelligence, too. Jose Luis states he’s seen a few companies already giving back to farmers, even a solution as simple as through a phone app where they can download real time data on crop performance and weather patterns. The CEO of Eatable Adventures also believes that products offering higher nutritional values are one to watch.

“We also believe that this industrialization approach is going to be a great area getting production closer to consumers”.

 

 

 

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

 

Last Thursday, June 18th, we added another edition to our series of international webinars as we delved into open innovation in the food industry, to discover and analyse the benefits of startups and corporates working together.

In our latest episode “Accelerating the growth of the Food Industry: The power of open innovation” we were lucky enough to host Sejal Ravji, Director of Open Innovation at Calidad Pascual ; Maria Paula Rios, Director of Innovation and Strategy at Team Foods and José Luis Cabañero, CEO and Founder of Eatable Adventures, who shared their visions and insights from their professional experiences with open innovation.

 

 

 

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar in case you missed it:

 

Constant changes in the agri-food sector

For Sejal Ravji, one of the changing aspects in the agri-food space is the introduction of technology, and with it comes the need to develop innovation quickly and efficiently. “Technology is accelerating all changes. The great challenge now is to predict where the changes are going and where value is generated in the ecosystem. It is in this space where innovation is born”, he stated.

José Luis Cabañero, who said that there has been a wave of disruptive new startups in the past few years, commented that “they are daring to develop new models with technology, such as artificial intelligence, which can be very beneficial for companies who want to present a unique and differentiating product.”

For María Paula Ríos, “Big companies have to start looking outside of their own teams to challenge themselves. We have begun to realize that those companies, which have a longer history, have to look beyond where there is greater knowledge and to work hand in hand with other agents,” said María Paula Ríos.

 

Corporations and Startups: a profitable collaboration

 

For both Sejal Ravji and María Paula Rios it is essential for a corporation to choose the right startup to work with carefully but the most important thing is to know what the objective of the collaboration is. According to the Director of Open Innovation at Calidad Pascual, the purposes of a company can be many: “What new technologies do you want to incorporate? What new markets and businesses do you want to reach? Do they need a venture capital fund to invest in other businesses?” He stated.

As for José Luis Cabañero, “it is essential that both parties understand the limitations of these relationships. Startups have to understand the rigidity of corporations, just as these companies must understand the fragility of startups. ”

 

Startup & corporation collaboration

Collaborations between startups and larger companies are not as simple as one may think, due in part to the structural differences and clashes in business culture between both parties. However, if a mutual commitment has been established the end result can be promising.

“I have spoken to many startups, and we know that collaborating with a corporation is not easy because there is a different speed involved. In a company, the processes are usually slower than in a startup,” Sejal Ravji acknowledged.

For María Paula Ríos there is no single collaboration model to choose from, it all depends on the characteristics of each company, but what is common to all models is the need for flexibility on both sides. She stated that there must be full cohesion between both teams and this is exactly where the success in her companies open innovation strategy lies “What we want is to be able to work with a startup since it has a differential knowledge that contributes value and enhances our products. Only by doing this will we get to the next level, together.”

 

KPI´s in open innovation

José Luis Cabañero highlighted two classes of KPIs to measure the effectiveness and the final result of open innovation between startups and larger teams: there are KPIs that are associated with business growth; while there are other KPIs that are more difficult to measure such as the number of products launched.

Sejal Ravji and María Paula Ríos agreed. The Director of Open Innovation at Calidad Pascual added that “when the corporation is clear on its objective, it is easier to identify and measure the KPI”. The Director of Innovation and Strategy at Team Foods also added that “if there is a project that does not generate value, it won’t survive”

 

 

 

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

 

On Thursday June 4th, we launched the latest edition of our series of international webinars on innovation in the food sector, with an aim to discuss the most relevant initiatives facing our food system today.

In the webinar “Riding the Plant-Based Wave: Leading the Food Revolution” we were joined by industry experts Nir Goldstein, Managing Director-Israel of The Good Food Institute; Elizabeth Gutschenritter, Managing Director, Alternative Protein at Cargill and José Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures, who shared their visions and insights into the present and future of alternative protein.

 

 

Nir Goldstein explained that one of the main goals of The Good Food Institute is to work on increasing the production of plant-based meat substitutes, to ensure they offer sustainable products that mimic the taste and texture of their animal protein counterparts. 

Elizabeth Gutschenritter stated that for Cargill an important objective is to offer clients and their customers food in a more sustainable and safer way. “We work throughout the supply chain to meet this need, and we have seen that protein consumption has increased worldwide for years,”.

 

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar in case you missed it:

 

Increased demand for plant-based products in recent years

For Nir Goldstein, there are four main reasons for this increase: economic, health, environmental and animal welfare awareness. According to his forecast by 2030, these products may occupy 10% of global meat market consumption. “This sector has attracted more investment this year than in all of last year,”.


Elizabeth Gutschenritter agreed and added that this increase resides in the interest of consumers demanding more sustainable and healthy products on shelves, although 93% still continue to eat meat.

Startups as an innovation engine

Innovation continues to be vital for corporations which increases the need to collaborate with startups, which offer more agile mindsets and increased ability to adapt faster and more efficiently to consumer demands, essential if wanting to achieve competitive advantages in an often crowded market.

For José Luis Cabañero, mutual support between corporations and startups is imperative to satisfy new consumer demands, adding that innovation and speed are the most important tools today to survive in the market.

 


Success stories of collaboration between startups and industry in plant-based

One of the collaborative success stories that stands out for José Luis Cabañero concerns the University of Berkeley, which launched alternative protein training programs along with incubation programs for startups in the sector

“There have been a lot of investments in the sector, especially in marketing and in the R&D departments in cell-based and plant-based. Our partners are helping us to bring the product closer to the market ”, acknowledged Elizabeth Gutschenritter.

For Nir Goldstein, the best success stories come from experience and learning that one internalizes when discovering how to move forward in the future. “There are a significant number of products that are in the initial phase of flavor texture adaptation, but are not developed on a large scale. Startups must move from pilot tests to more industrial developments to find out if they like their products on the market or not. ”

 

Effects of the pandemic on the plant-based boom

Nir Goldstein stated that despite the effects of the pandemic we are still seeing startups securing significant investments which represents a positive trend in terms of funding and growth. “For example, Impossible Food got a half-trillion dollar investment during Covid-19. We see growth in the food sector of 200% that is partly driven by the consumption of alternative protein products,”

Elizabeth Gutschenritter predicts that plant-based consumption will increase in the coming months. Why? Consumers are seeking healthier and more sustainable-driven food and this will remain post-covid. To keep up with the squeeze of new consumer behaviour, companies are developing and launching fast solutions, like KFC in China.


 

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

 

We recently launched a series of international webinars with the aim of providing a scope of insights from the main pioneers of the food tech industry where we cover the most pressing challenges our food system now faces amid the current covid crisis. In our latest episode we travelled (virtually!) all the way to Israel where we hosted our webinar in collaboration with the Economic and Commercial Mission in the Israeli Embassy in Spain and the Israel Export Institute.

 

We were joined by four of the most disruptive startups across the Israeli startup ecosystem as we dug into the various solutions young companies can offer across a range of different disciplines during this time through the application of their innovative food technology:

 

 

Evigence sensors 
This innovative startup provides food freshness information through a small visual chip device which enables the user to see blind spots in the supply chain and can help reduce food waste and offer suppliers and consumers alike ease of mind regarding the safety of  food amid the current pandemic. The solution can be applied across the complete supply chain from the producer, to the supplier right to the end user. It’s easy to use and facilitates freshness indication of a range of food stuffs including meat, fruit and even frozen foods. The company have worked with a number of important brands like Mcdonalds, where they designed a number of sensors specially for their frozen buns so they knew when and how to store and serve them.
COVID: In times of covid its important that the full potential of food is activated. Consumers are becoming more cautious about the quality of food they eat – how do they know it’s fresh? How do they know it was stored correctly? This solution offers an easy to use and deployable solution that applies transparency across the food supply chain  including remaining shelf life. The added advantage is that it also helps promote more sustainable operations, as sustainability is more on the agenda than ever “waste is becoming even more of an issue”..”using our sensors you can reduce waste dramatically”.

 

Kitchen robotics
Traditional restaurants haven’t changed dramatically for the last 300 years, gathering ingredients, mixing, chopping, cooking, cleaning…but even before covid first buckled the food industry we started to see a shift in the way restaurants were running their operations. How? Many companies were turning to delivery options like Ubereats and Grubhub, which in turn borned a new trend: dark kitchens. These are off-premise, delivery only operations and Kitchen Robotics was developed in the midst of this shift, offering an automated robotic solution to create a variety of dishes.
The startup offers a four-way solution:
1.collecting 2.cooking 3.serving 4.cleaning with Its hardware capable of creating between 30 to 40 dishes an hour.
“If we solve the issue for dark kitchens the solution will be suitable for other industries as well”
COVID: “Almost every dining solution is trying to make a shift towards dark kitchens”. As restaurants close their doors many owners are looking for new business models to keep afloat amid covid, and this startups solution offers the answer to delivery-only, off-premise and take-away devoted business. Restaurant robotics offers a range of benefits including more efficient and automated operations, reduced labor necessity and increased consistency which is perfect for not only restaurants but other players in the food space like supermarkets, universities and hotels.

 

SRP analytics
In the business of grocery this startup is providing big data solutions to manufacturers. When you look at local neighbourhood stores you’ll notice they are lacking one thing: technology. They don’t have anything to manage consumer or manufacturer relationships. SRP analytics noticed this white space in the market and built a three-way platform that connects all the stakeholders in the supply chain. The platform collects information like recommendations on what goods the store owner needs to buy or what promotions manufacturers need to follow to sell more orders, and transforms them into insights. Utilizing this technology makes their day-to-day operations easier and helps create new revenue streams.
COVID: With more consumers in lockdown we are seeing an increasingly more digital world. Going online offers consumers a different approach to ordering food. “E-commerce is the king for consumers”. This solution offers the deployment of “different processes with minimal physical interactions.” With larger retailers suffering from extended delivery times, this app provides smaller local stores with more digital abilities and more options for consumers to avoid leaving the house.

 

Vertical Field
The vertical farming market is growing into a 10 million pound market with increasingly more investment interest and limited spaces for land to deal with overpopulation. This solution offers businesses the chance for a greener transition.
Vertical field has created a vertical farm in a 40 feet container which is controlled by an IT system to help optimize the plants environment. They shorten the supply chain and reduce intermediaries in order to bring the agriculture directly to the retailers and end user. Through this food supply chain short cut, they offer an easy to use platform which facilitates the complete management of the farms and allows establishments like supermarkets a long arm in price and quality, without the need to worry about weather conditions or logistics.
COVID: During the current climate the food supply chain has been frozen, with labor shortages and transportation halted, this solution offers a “grow your own” alternative. You know that the food you will consume has been produced safely and cleanly avoiding human touch and ensuring proper sterilisation. They avoid the use of pesticides and therefore provide fresher and cleaner produce which offer higher nutritional values. It also offers a more sustainable “touch”; these solutions help lower waste to roughly 5-10% for a more efficient supply chain as well as higher yields and constant supply.

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

 

We recently launched our series of international webinars where we delve into the main challenges facing our food system during the crisis and welcome some of the most disruptive companies in the foodtech space to offer their insights and solutions

 

This week we were joined by two companies at each end of the value chain; Mondelez International  as a manufacturer and Sainsbury’s as a retailer, in our latest webinar episode  “Accelerating Food Industry Growth: The power of Open Innovation“. We hosted Gil Horsky – Director of Innovation Snacks Futures at Mondelēz International and Milena Lazarevska – Head of Future Brands at Sainsbury’s who offered insights into the keys to collaboration between corporates and startups, as well as the plethora of benefits for both sides. 

 

At Eatable Adventures we believe that startups are one of the main agents leading the new food revolution, as the food system is changing so is consumer demand, and during the current crisis it seems to be happening at unprecedented rates. To properly embrace these new challenges and offer viable solutions powering open innovation between corporates and startups is an efficient way to whether the shifts appropriately.

For Gil Horsky working with startups is “very important” and has been “growing as the priority in the last few years”.

 

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar

 

How companies engage with startups

 

There are a number of ways that startups can engage with corporates across the food chain, including through technology advancement, investments and licencing agreements.

Sainsbury’s works with startups “across the business” relishing the search of more distinctive brands to add to their product portfolio. Being the second biggest retailer they offer one of the first opportunities for commercialisation and market traction to new companies through their Future Brands initiative which scouts and incubates new brands.

 

Positive outcomes from startup/corp collaborations

 

Collaborations are win-win as corps attract more customers while offering incremental sales for young companies.

While corps add value in the form of investment and R&D support, and just generally tapping into corporate knowledge, startups help address a consumer pain points. Just like Sainsbury’s, it can help establish you as a destination for more exclusive brands as they offer out-of-the-box thinking and refreshing new perspectives. Milena Lazarevska stated that the real benefit is how efficiently they react to consumer feedback and then “how quickly they turn around a new idea”

“Exclusive agreements with startups lead to benefits for the corps such as consumer attraction and rapid answer to consumer demands” – stated Milena Lazarevska.

 

Working with startups in a crisis

 

The key to working with startups during this time, as Milena Lazarevska stated is to “be a good partner”be flexible where possible and offer more preferential payment terms, or just be there to help with in issue if you can. It’s important you show you are committed to your partnership and that you are a trustworthy brand that doesn’t run away when the going gets tough.

Gil Horsky said when working together ensure you “set up the relationship in the way you have a big chance of success” – be clear on your objectives, KPIs and future plans. Transparency is the biggest gift – be honest with the startup, if their idea isn’t viable, don’t waste their time. 

Covid has accelerated a shift in trends and companies now need to respond and adapt faster than ever. Trends currently making waves amid covid19 include immune boosting, e-commerce, well-being, food safety and traceability and digitisation across the supply chain. Solution? Find the relevant startups that can help you accelerate these trends in your company. 

Gil Horsky said it’s okay to ask for help in a crisis – reach out to the ecosystem and scope the startups already working on potential solutions. Mondelez recently launched a challenge scouting startups working on antimicrobial surfaces for their packaging as consumers look for safer to eat products.

Startup contributions

 

How do startups valuably contribute to corporations? Sustainability remains an important issue to be addressed across the spectrum as larger companies become increasingly more responsible, but in order to create a more efficient supply chain corporations must rely on the efforts of the smaller brands they work with for more sustainable operations and incremental improvements to help the planet. Sainsbury’s aims to go net zero by 2040 and as Milena  Lazarevska stated they require “the help of startups in this effort.”

As larger brands currently struggle from staff shortages and logistic constraints smaller companies hold access to an alternative supply base which has offered them a new wave of visibility. Consumers are now interacting more with new brands thanks to increased online presence and bigger in-store baskets. As Gil Horsky said the “inspirational” and “cultural” shift that smaller teams can contribute to corporations is often overlooked. Working with startups allow companies to experience a dose of motivation when they work with more agile minded entrepreneurs and see a product being created and marketed to a supermarket shelf in less than a year.

 

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

 

 

Last May 7th we celebrated the first of many in a series of international webinars with the aim of providing our community with opinions and insights from the main leaders in the food sector, covering the most relevant topics facing the industry at the moment. 

 

In our first webinar we had the pleasure of hosting two of the most relevant agents in the food industry, to discuss and share insights on a business model that is here to stay and the role that food startups play in its propagation: Direct-To-Consumer

 

 

 

In the “The rise of D2C FoodstartupsEmna Neifar, Chief Commercial Officer at Cortilia and Ivan Farneti, Founding Partner of Five Seasons Ventures, shared their visions and perspectives with José Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures, on the present and future of the D2C model.

For Emna Neifar, the model is “fascinating in terms of the amount of data these models provide and how they help us obtain fundamental insights for daily decision-making applied from a new product to new features of the service offered.”

“Direct to consumer food has managed to do well for businesses and well for society” these were the words of Ivan Farneti, who emphasized the lack of flexibility of large global corporations to adapt to this new reality and also stressed the opportunity that this now represents for startups.

José Luis Cabañero added that this growth in D2C models is a trend that has already been recognised and embraced by Eatable Adventures: the “food industry is becoming what the internet was 20 years ago and is a tremendous set of opportunities lane ahead for the companies that take the step and go forward “

 

Some relevant insights from the webinar

 

Defining D2C models and how startups are innovating

 

D2C models are the answer to a now more demanding consumer: It is delivered through storytelling on things like origin, process, environmental & social impact.

In these models the service part is just as important as the product part: this will make a resounding difference with competitors.

They have contributed a lot of techniques and mindsets from the digital world into the physical. 

We can highlight 5 types of D2C models; from the most engaged to the least: DNVB Digital Native Vertical Brands (e.g. Butternut Box), DVNR Digital Vertical Native Retailer (e.g. Cortilia), D2C as a secondary channel (e.g. Soylent), selling in big digital platforms (e.g. products in Amazon), social media awareness creation (e.g. Impossible Burger).

Benefits and barriers of D2C models

 

A great benefit is the ability to offer high traceability and freshness: Direct means a shorter supply chain. In the current situation it has offered consumers extra confidence on where their food is coming form.

They allow us access consumer information in an era where data is essential: “Optimization will become a religion” according to Ivan Farneti.

“The experience is 10 times better”, because the flexibility of startups has allowed them to develop services with a real focus on the consumer.

Startups overcome consumer mistrust barriers by developing a solid relationship with producers, creating consumer communities, and applying the correct communication.

 

How is COVID19 affecting the development of these models?

 

These models have gained market share in recent months.

The experience of convenience and quality will have an inelastic effect. People who have used these platforms for the first time will use them again in the future.

D2C Food Startups have applied three different phases: React, Adapt and Disrupt.

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

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