How we live today sets the foundations for our future and
sustainability becomes every day more important. It is a global need, a consumer
attitude and, obviously, a great commercial opportunity for startups.
The issues related to climate changes, ignited the growing sector of cleantech as, the call for sustainable innovation in the food-chain, is shaping the landscape of food-tech.
To explain the need behind this industry, it could be enough just to quote one figure: 1/3 of the food produced globally is wasted. This could be a number as big as 1.3 billion tonnes of food.
There is a need and there is an urgency too. This is why food sustainability can be found amongst the 6 European Commission priorities for 201-24.
What is food-tech?
It is technology applied across the whole food value chain, to implement the use of resources at rates that do not exceed the capacity of the Earth to replace them. Its application can spread from farm waste-based fertilisers to solutions to extend product shelf life as well as apps to manage food surplus or efficient inventory management.
Main Startups to look at in food-tech:
Too Good To Go – The Copenhagen-based food sharing platform fights food wasting, allowing customer to purchase unsold and surplus food of restaurants, hotels and stores. Founded in 2015 it has already “saved” 29 M meals. The company has raised over 10M Eur and its valuation is estimated between 24-36M Eur.
KITRO – The Swiss startup, funded in 2017, is on the mission to bring back the value of all food and it does it starting from the knowledge of how much is wasted. Its hardware solution is installed in the bins of commercial kitchen, where all wasted are analysed and recommendations are made to save food and costs. Debt financed for 60K CHF.
Kaffe Bueno – This Danish company developed a coffee bio-refinery to reuse spent coffee grounds, into active and functional ingredients (oil, proteins, polyphenols, sugars), for cosmetics, nutraceuticals and functional foods. Three investors (Capnova, EIT Food, Kickstart Accelerator) are supporting this venture.
Mimica – The London based team has developed a solution to detect when the food is still fresh despite an expiration date that is too cautious. Their innovative label is calibrated to detect when food spoils and consumers can have the answer with the touch of a finger. The label is smooth? Then the food is fresh. It feels bumpy? It is expired. They went of the ground with a seed funding of 70K Eur.
Solar Food – With this Finnish company the focus shifts to the production of food, disconnecting it from agriculture and making it possible just with the uses of air and electricity (solar indeed) as the main resources. They developed a protein made from carbon dioxide, air and electricity which, they claim, could replace meat. Their product release is expected in 2020 and, so far, they attracted venture funds for nearly 3 M$.