Food and Agriculture Industries have a massive economic, social and environmental footprint. According to a McKinsey report, they represent 10% of global consumer spending, 40% of the world’s employment and 30% of greenhouse-gas emissions. Although “innovation” is a word that has invaded many areas in our life, the way we produce, consume and dispose of food has remained disproportionately less innovative. As the global demand for food is set to increase by 60% in 2050, investors are becoming even more interested, in fact, there are a lot of startups trying to appropriate a share of this $5 trillion industry. We wanted to investigate and find out what are the food companies around the world that are generating lot of interest and buzz around their disruptive business models.
So here is the list of eight innovative startups that want to revolutionize the way we interact with food:
Freight Farms and Cropbox are two start-ups that are bringing farms into the city. They take old shipping containers and transform them into modern modular farms. The containers come equipped with everything and all the environmental conditions, like the level of light and heat, can be controlled from a smartphone. This level of control means that Freight Farm grown crops need 90% less water and 80% less fertilizer than traditional cultivating methods. This revolutionary invention investigates how the future of farming could look like in a world where resources like agricultural land and water are becoming very scarce.
Soylent is a revolutionary company because it wants to cut down completely the time people spend on planning, buying and cooking ingredients, by replacing entire meals with a 500 calories drink. This is, however, not a diet but an actual full meal replacement containing all the necessary nutrients the human body needs on a daily basis. It is also a cost saving with a “meal” priced at around 3 euros. The idea stems from Rob Rhinehart’s desire to improve things around him and make things work more efficiently. The question is: is the world ready enough to give up delicious meals in favour of a time and cost saving alternative?
Eggs are a cheap superfood that serves many functions, both nutritional and non-nutritional. Josh Tetrick, the founder of Hampton Creek is trying to disrupt the egg industry. The company was founded five years ago and they are on a mission to find the perfect combination of plant based proteins as a perfect substitute to eggs. Prominent investors like Bill Gates and Marc Benioff support the initiative, who seem to believe that HamptonCreek can bring systemic changes to the industry by creating food that is good both for the body and for the environment.
Will insects ever become a staple in our pantry? Megan Miller and Leslie Zingler, co-founders of BittyFoods are trying to achieve that. Food based on cricket flour is not seen as crazy anymore and a bunch of startups are slowly carving out a niche market for themselves. There is a list of reasons for using cricket flour as a source of protein with environmental reasons topping that list. Besides that, as BittyFoods is trying to prove, cricket flour is also a very versatile ingredient. The company is selling familiar foods like crisps and chocolate chip cookies.
5. Beyond meat
Ethan Brown thinks that there are two alternative ways you can think about meat. The first is to see meat as coming from cows and chickens and the second is thinking about it in terms of its component parts: amino acids, carbohydrates, minerals, lipids and water. With the help of technology, Beyond Meat is producing fake burgers and chicken fillets out of mundane peas. The result is nothing short of extraordinary- the meat is similar to the real one in both taste and texture, but it has more protein and iron than normal beef plus a bunch of other good stuff like antioxidants.
Mintscraps is an app that essentially helps restaurants and other food businesses monitor, manage and, as a result, decrease their level of food waste. Restaurants can input data into the subscription-based app and then get reports calculating the cost of waste and providing savings recommendations. The United Nations estimates that global food waste equals 1.3 trillion tons so Mintscraps is a good example in how technology and useful data management can help solving this crisis.
Gnammo is an Italian platform for social eating. It allows people to cook delicious meals in their homes and invite people over via the website. The host sets the price and then shares a small percentage of that with the company. However, do not worry if your strength is more in eating rather than cooking, you can scroll through all the choices on the website and enjoy a nice dinner whilst meeting new people.
Instacart is a grocery delivery app that has been named by Forbes Magazine the number one “Most Promising Company” in America. With the help of technology and sophisticated algorithms, Instacart can deliver groceries to people’s homes in as little as one hour. It acts as a platform connecting personal shoppers, local shops like Whole Foods or Costco and the end customers, which is why it has the nickname of the Uber of grocery deliveries.