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By Estefanía Ustarroz Wood
In recent years the world population has changed its perspective on food; looking for healthier trends, focusing on what you eat and being more and more conscious about your consumption. As a result of this interest in improving nutrition and promoting healthier eating habits, what is known today as FoodTech has emerged . An emerging and dynamic sector dedicated to transforming the food industry into a more modern, sustainable and efficient ecosystem in all its stages, ranging from food processing to distribution and consumption.
As its name indicates, FoodTech is a sector which involves technology; as well as research and development (R&D) projects to create new solutions in the industry that face contemporary challenges such as population growth and its repercussions on food security, the digitization of society, the effects of climate change, scarcity of natural resources, food waste and the environmental impact of food production.
In the context of the above, it should be noted that Israel is home to one of the most vibrant and advanced food technology ecosystems in the world, making it a desirable hub for innovation. It is recognized worldwide for being the country that invests the most in R&D, allocating around 4.3%. Similarly, it has more than 1000 startups active in AgriFood and FoodTech.
Behind the excellence of the Israeli FoodTech ecosystem worldwide are unique characteristics that distinguish its success story. In the first instance, the history of food and water shortages in the country created a demand for ingenuity and innovation in agriculture; thus promoting the formation of advanced scientific and technological knowledge that would allow achieving food security in the population. Second, Israel is home to some of the world’s first academic technology transfer companies, with a strong connection between the academic and business sectors.
An essential factor for the development of disruptive solutions is the support that entrepreneurs receive from the government and the education that is instilled in them. Although, the population is not afraid to take risks and make their projects and ideas come true; since failure is seen as another step towards success and learning. On the other hand, Israel’s food culture is affected by the existence of its numerous immigrant communities, which demand a variety of flavors and are uniquely open to new ones.
FoodTech companies have highly creative work teams with a great innovative force with the aim of revolutionizing the way of seeing the global food map and the development of tools to redesign the consumption concepts pre-established in the market
Today we can find different solutions such as alternative proteins, in which the Israeli company Savor Eat stands out ; which recreates the experience, flavor and unique texture of meat without a single animal. Thanks to the combination of a revolutionary kitchen robot, proprietary 3D printing technology and exclusive non-GMO ingredients of plant origin, consumers can now enjoy the different textures that characterize meat, adapted to their taste, diet and style. specific lifetimes.
On the other hand, we find technology like Tastewise , which can predict food trends. The company collects billions of data across social media, recipes, and menus to provide a comprehensive view of how consumer needs are driving food and beverage trends.
In addition to innovation, consumers opt for a personalized and sustainable shopping experience, as well as transparency of the origin of their food, the reduction of waste and the type of ingredients that the products they buy contain. For this reason, the FoodTech sector also includes smart packaging solutions, home delivery, prepared meals, the value chain and sugar reduction; among other. In 2020, Forbes published two lists compiled by SVG Ventures-THRIVE in which ten Israeli companies stood out among the top 50 companies in the world in the food technology and agricultural technology sectors.
The growth and skill of this ecosystem have contributed to fostering cooperation and attracting investment from some of the world’s largest food companies such as Grupo Bimbo, Coca-Cola, Mondelez, Tyson Foods, Nestlé, Danone, AB inBev, Starbucks, PepsiCo , McDonalds, Heineken and Unilever. BIS Research estimates that by 2022 the sector will reach a market valuation close to $ 250 billion.
BIS Research estimates that by 2022 the sector will reach a market valuation close to 250,000 million dollars / Image: Depositphotos.com
The rise of FoodTech during the pandemic
Covid-19 may have affected many industries; However, startups in the emerging food technology space have seen an increase in demand for their services and products. Faced with the new restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, companies have had to opt for new solutions that meet the needs of consumers.
Some of the verticals within the FoodTech sector that have flourished during this situation have been food delivery services, in which restaurants have had to innovate to become the main sales channel; as well as providing contactless delivery and payment options to ensure hygiene measures. On the other hand, there are dark kitchens or “ghost kitchens” that are based on the preparation of food exclusively for home sales. Smart-packaging solutions are not far behind offering an extension in the life of packaged products, a reduction in food waste, and an increase in food safety.
We are at a watershed where FoodTechs are revolutionizing the industry. It is time to generate new alliances with startups that provide added value to the food sector.