The Future of Food: How software feeds your stomach
Food tech market trends, opportunities and monetization
Software is feeding your stomach. The future of food is transforming the way we eat, nourish, and shop for food products.
Today, food technology is more than just ordering food from DoorDash, getting your recipe-in-a-box from HelloFresh, hiring a personal shopper from Instacart, or finding your favorite restaurants from Yelp.
New startups are entering the lucrative food industry through unique differentiation, solving valid problems, and becoming a huge success.
We’ll examine top startups that are reinventing the food industry and unlocking exciting opportunities for builders and backers to capitalize on the food space.
If you’re new here, 👋 I’m Zoe: builder, ever curious, built 11 MVPs, featured on Lifehacker, Product Hunt #1, and tech blogs in 7 countries. Also a Medium Top Writer & HackerNoon winner in VC topics. I unpack new insights on profitable markets — and how you can build the future of consumer tech. You may also like:
Top 10 Food Tech Market Trends:
(1) Consumers are demanding more than just convenience from food services:
D2C food companies are aligning value propositions with these shifting consumer preferences: no allergens (soy, GMOs, gluten); no chemicals (hormones, antibiotics, artificial ingredients); and environmentally sustainable (plant-based, ethical).
Magic Spoon replaces sugar-based cereals with low-carb and keto-friendly cereals.
Elite Sweets sells low-sugar, gluten-free, keto-friendly donuts.
Sids Farm sells grass-fed milk without added hormones and antibiotics straight from the farm.
(2) Plant-based and vegan food categories are booming:
New startups are rushing into the $22 billion vegan food market.
Singapore’s Next Gen Foods makes chicken burgers from plants. The company's latest funding round closed $100M Series A in 2022.
Israel’s Redefine Meat makes beef and lamb cuts from plants. The company recently closed $135M.
UK’s allplants ($52M funding in 2021) is an online vegan meal delivery platform.
(3) D2C food companies are innovating in the snack market:
Perky Jerky is creating all-natural ingredients meat-based snacks.
Peckish is making hard-boiled eggs snackable.
Mindright is creating nootropic-infused snack bars that can improve mood and mental health.
Truss Beverages is producing cannabis-based sparkling water, beverages, and tonics.
(🔒 Full version) +7 more key trends, backed by real company examples:
🔑 (4/10) Which food startup category gains the most investors’ attention? (3 categories)
🔑 (5/10) Which market segment produces winners aka IPOs (3 company examples)
🔑 (6/10) Top startups by categories that are scoring mega-rounds (4 company examples)
🔑 (7/10) What’s happening in the APAC food tech market? (5 company examples)
🔑 (8/10) How do new players differentiate in the alternative protein market (4 company examples)
🔑 (9/10) How do key players tap into B2B food segment? (4 company examples)
🔑 (10/10) Which market segment is struggling and how do key players tap into niche audience to thrive? (3 company examples)
2. Total 133 Market Players & Databases:
Find similar competitors and explore ways to differentiate new solutions:
🏢 Total 133 company examples across the food tech space
🔖 Total 11 market segments
🗃 Company databases: value proposition, website, stage, total funding raised, year founded, company size, and location.
👌 Filter competitors by categories. Or search by product name, country, funding stage, etc.
3. What Problems Do They Solve?
(1) Addressing dietary needs:
68% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. About 6% to 7% of the U.S population have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Food allergy affects 2.5% of the global population.
New companies are entering the food tech market by offering allergen-free food products.
Example: JUST Egg’s products are suitable for those who’re allergic to eggs. Ripple sells plant-based milk packed with richer protein, calcium, and Omega-3. Melt Organic makes butter from plants.
(2) Climate change is affecting livestock production:
By 2025, the global demand for livestock products is expected to grow 2x. The warmer climate is limiting livestock production due to reduced corp yields. Livestock also adds 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Companies are creating eco-friendly meat production technology without sacrificing the animals, environment, taste, and authenticity.
Example: ENOUGH (fka 3F Bio) ($51M Series B in 2021) ferments fungi with natural sugar from grains to produce meat. Remilk manufactures real milk without using cows that are free of cholesterol, lactose, hormones, and antibiotics.
(🔒 Full version) +5 more well-defined problems to help you capture real market demand and build something people want:
🔑 (3/7) How companies use food to increase workplace engagement? (2 company examples)
🔑 (4/7) Restaurants are struggling to survive. How food tech is solving the pain points? (2 company examples)
🔑 (5/7) How to build a highly profitable e-commerce food business by solving this problem? (4 company examples)
🔑 (6/7) What problems are costing $750 billion/year of economic losses? How do food startups solve this? (3 company examples)
🔑 (7/7) High frequency pain point is an indication of high market demand. 3 companies are solving this problem!
4. (🔒 Full version) Business Models & Revenue Streams
In this section, you’ll learn to layer multiple income streams as a food tech company:
Total 5 monetization and revenue models
Total 16 company examples and how they monetize
5. Next Big Opportunities:
(3) More fintech solutions in the food industry:
Fintech is a huge enabler for online food/grocery shopping, digital banking, contactless payment, QR pay, and BNPL (buy now pay later) purchase installments.
The future of food tech will tap into the fintech space, expand the addressable market, capture more values and generate multiple revenue streams.
The most obvious path is to become a super app. Grab offers rides, food, grocery, payment, insurance & BNPL in SEA.
It’s also possible to enter the food space as an investment tool. Bumped converts your spending on Starbucks, Chipotle, and Walmart into stock rewards you can own. Peach ($20M Series A in 2021) offers Lunch Card, an employer-subsidized digital card made just for lunch.
(4) Business-facing platforms will begin to catch up:
While most foodtech unicorns are consumer-facing (Takeaway.com, Instacart, Deliveroo, DoorDash, Grubhub, Swiggy, HelloFresh), B2B food tech is catching up.
Example: French’s unicorn Swile is a smartcard for all employee benefits in one place, including meal vouchers. Infarm (fastest growing AgTech) sells fresh produce through its vertical farming solutions to retain chains. DayTwo is a metabolic health meal planning for organizations.
New startups can adopt the enterprise model to enter the food space. They can position themselves as employee benefits, loyalty programs, corporate catering services, etc.
(🔒 Full version) +6 more untapped market opportunities:
🔑 (3/8) How to tap into communities and rewards for food consumers? (3 company examples)
🔑 (4/8) What kind of new business model will emerge? (2 company examples)
🔑 (5/8) What is a social-first food tech startup? (3 company examples)
🔑 (6/8) These 3 companies are building the future of food—biological foods
🔑 (7/8) What emerging products are being developed that can tap into this $380 Billion dollar industry? (3 company examples)
🔑 (8/8) How to expand the revenue stream by solving the next big challenges? (3 examples)
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