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Food Innovation: the Most Active Countries & Sectors

Food Innovation: the Most Active Countries & Sectors

A look at countries and geographical areas the most active in the food industry, as well as the sectors attract most investments.

By FDL on

Which countries and geographical areas are most active in this innovative surge forward in the food industry? And which sectors attract most investments? The statistics provided below will enable you to understand who and what is moving ahead in the industry.

Five countries on the rooftop of the world

The US, India, China, Germany and Great Britain are the five countries that invest most in food technology worldwide. In 2015 alone, 104 start-ups were funded in the US compared to 74 in India, 27 in China, 15 in the UK and 11 in Germany (source CBInsights). In Europe, Sweden follows as the third most active country on this front (source

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Asia on the rise

If wider geographical areas are taken into consideration, however, from a comparison between North America, Europe and Asia, it is clear that there has been an abrupt inversion of the trend in the space of one year.

North America has been widely overtaken in terms of innovative investments in the food industry and in 2015 Asia became the most active continent in this respect. (Source CBInsights).

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Innovation Areas

The best performances have been recorded in many business areas. Food delivery is the Internet of Food (IoF) area which has attracted the greatest interest to date. It is followed by:

  • tools for restaurateurs (from online reservations to venue management software, for forecasting customer behaviour patterns or inventing new recipes);
  • the vast and variegated world of e-commerce (from the single raw ingredient to an entire ready-to-serve menu);
  • the search for new or “impossible” foods and ingredients (for example, meatless meat);
  • the frontier of big data applied to food that entails the collection and analysis of large quantities of data used to orient marketing strategies;
  • finally, devices – from 3D printers to sensors, from robots to drones – that are increasingly intelligent and food-focused.

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Source CBInsights

What to Expect from 2017

There is still no reliable data available on this year’s investments in foodtech start-ups. Various analysts have revealed that growth rates are generally lower than those of previous years.

It is possible that, following an initial phase of widespread enthusiasm, investors have started to exercise greater caution when choosing which projects to back, also because food shows several critical factors that make it different from other businesses.

But the road has been mapped out and, in the future scenario, an important role will be played by consumers who demand the abundance, affordability and easy access of the existing system along with produce that is genuine and wholesome, food associated with culinary traditions but also enhanced by new ideas.

At the present time, the most mature area - food delivery - is also the most crowded. As can be seen from the chart here below (source CBInsights), many companies have sprung up in recent years but the sector has already entered a phase of reorganisation, with the customary turmoil of closures and mergers characterising the market. Despite this, some operators continue to invest in new niche or ultra-specialised areas.

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There is one sector that shows no sign of slowing down, that of the restaurant industry to which IoF start-ups offer a vast range of products and services: from advanced payment systems to table reservations, from smart kitchen equipment to food waste management, from marketing to recipe creation and purchasing.

It’s a sector which, in 2016 – according to the forecasts of CBS Insight – surpassed the investment volume of 2015.

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The Restaurant Tech Market: products and services Waiting List Management, Table-top self-service ordering & payment devices, Smart Kitchen equipment, Guest Wi-fi, Tablet POS platforms, Energy efficiency, Phone charging stations, Marketing & CRM, Staffing, White-label delivery software, Digital Displays, Employee education, Food Waste Management, Financial management, Restaurant websites, Reservation Platforms, Broad restaurant management software, Loss prevention, Purchasing&inventory, Music systems, Smartphone payments, Customer Loyalty (Source Cbinsights).




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