The challenges and opportunities facing the food and agricultural industry are spurring a wave of innovation. Here, we look at main trends and some startups trying to shake the future of food and agri.
Plant-based and personalised nutrition
There is an exceptional increase of the population now on an exclusively plant-based diet and many consumers are looking for ways to simply improve their nutrition. With this in mind, companies are working harder than ever to truly diversify the way we eat and to create a personalised experience for the consumer, giving them competitive edge in an increasingly crowded market.
Producing animal-free meat while retaining the same appearance, texture and flavour of animal meat, Redefine Meat have created leading technology to develop its product from natural and sustainable ingredients. Meanwhile, taking care of the next generation, Else Nutrition have found a 100% plant-based alternative to dairy-based baby nutrition and Plant Pops have developed award-winning snacks made from popped Lotus flowers, grains and seeds. A healthy snack all-round, Plant Pops are vegan, gluten free and sustainably grown, using less water for harvesting and without any palm oil or artificial ingredients.
Coming in with a patented 3D printing technology which allows them to combine seven different active ingredients, NOURISH3D creates personalised supplements, based on consumers’ lifestyle and goals.
Sustainable packaging and waste reduction
As the world becomes more aware than ever about the need to eliminate single-use plastics, the removal of unnecessary packaging whilst continuing to keep produce fresh has come under the spotlight of vital requirements to aid the environment. A significant number of innovators and entrepreneurs have responded with technologies they hope will revolutionise the way our food is packaged and this trend shows no sign of slowing down.
With innovative solutions, Element Packaging has created alternative materials using corn starch, paper & cardboard, sugarcane and bagasse products and other sustainable polymers for the Food2Go, Retail, Travel and Fashion sectors which are fully compostable or biodegradable. Stix Fresh is helping avoid food waste as it has developed peelable stickers for fruit to help keep them fresh the all-natural way and safely extend the shelf life by up to 14 days.
Future farming technology
Taking agricultural development to the next level, a selection of startups offer revolutionary sustainable solutions to the future of farming.
Aiming to fundamentally improve global food production and innovate the current fertiliser supply chain, N2 Applied adds nutrient value to manure, enabling farmers to replace mineral fertiliser with one that is environmentally-friendly.
Computomics combines information on particular crops to make accurate predictions about which seeds to plant with desired traits and maximum performance. Their machine learning / AI technology enables data-driven decisions which can unlock the diversity of biological life, focus on biotech, breeding and indoor farming.
With technology that is best described using the company name, Lleaf, an acronym for Luminescent Light Emitting Agriculture Films, increases crop yield by optimising the light that reaches the plants in greenhouses, as they grow.
Sustainable supply chain solutions
Finding a way to control the world’s food waste issues and put used materials back into the supply chain is a crucial practice within the food and agriculture industry, to help sustain the environment. The industry must take drastic measures at every level of food production to become savvy on not only reducing waste but preventing it from happening in the first instance.
Trellis is an AI company specialised in the agri-food and beverage supply chain which allows key players such as growers, manufacturers and retailers to get insights to accurately predict both crop production and yield as well as supply chain fluctuations and market trends. This then results in lower costs, improved quality and reduced waste.
With the development of the Aero-D machine, Zero Waste Biotech is able to convert food waste into clean renewable energy therefore enabling a circular economy.
See the startups pitch
As Autumn is officially underway, FoodBytes! by Rabobank is gearing up for its second event in London, following the success of its European debut in 2018. The global food and agriculture discovery platform connects innovative foodtech, agtech and sustainable CPG startups with corporate leaders and investors and is at the forefront of identifying leading trends to arise from the most ground-breaking entrepreneurs.
With a fierce element of competition, this years’ 15 startups were selected from 157 applicants across 38 countries and five continents. Each startup will have three minutes to pitch live on the FoodBytes! London stage at Victoria House on 7 November 2019. The companies are in the running to win one of three awards; Judge’s Choice, People’s Choice and Highly Commended, and will receive intensive business mentorship as well as on-going support as they become a member of the FoodBytes! alumni - with access to trend insights as well as potential strategic client introductions and meetings on innovation.
Speaking of the trends to arise from FoodBytes! London 2019, Maarten Ooms, Managing Director, Financial Advisory & Solutions at Rabobank commented: “The calibre of the applications and the finalist pitching companies to FoodBytes! London continue to amaze us as they all seek to make a profound impact on the food ecosystem. We cannot wait for them to showcase their disruptive ideas and support them to grow a better world!