The food industry is booming! Food production, patterns of consumption and distribution circuits… are areas in the food sector where technology and innovation are yet to be discovered.
Startups are using technology to transform the dynamics of the food sector. In particular, the expansion of mobile applications that allow you to order prepared food in a snap!
- The well-known food applications trend is the delivery meal, as Foodora, Delivero or Digifood. These kinds of apps offer to deliver you a meal in a very short time, right after your order.
- In the landscape of food applications, you have services as La Fourchette that allow you to book and get a discount on a menu in a chic restaurant. In the same category, let’s mention Booking & Dining that allows you to book the best table thanks to a vision of the restaurant’s seating plan.
- Web-services exist such as Wine box or Console my box that allow you to order food-baskets. These food-concepts are based on food and beverage selection.
To add to these new food services, there is a development in the modes of consumption in the food sector; customers are more and more connected (according to “La Fevad”, 8 costumers out of 10 go on the Internet before going to the restaurant for instance.)
Services and customer patterns are changing. Consequently, it appears there are new terms in the food Industry. Professionals are talking about the “Food technology ” but what is food technology? How are food services developing in comparison to the food services that already exist? What is the evolution compared to the food services that already exist? Is it a new phenomenon or it is simply an extension of food startups we already know?
Lets start with a definition: What is “FoodTech” ?
It is a new kind of business that comes from the alliance between technology available around us and the food sector. An official definition doesn’t exist yet. For the moment, we can describe Foodtech as “the intersection between food and technology; the application of technology to improve agriculture and food production, the supply chain and the distribution channel.” ( definition given by the e-mag thefood.rush.com.)
We generally associate Foodtech with Food innovation. “Food innovation involves the design and development of new food products, the improvement or combination of existing food products, research into food trends and food management.”
Both Foodtech and food innovation define the landscape of the Startups in the food sector in 2016. There is even the first dedicated exhibition in USA: “bon appétech” (on the good food innovation),
Historically, Foodetch appeared in the USA some years ago. Nowadays, Foodtech is undergoing a real boom in Europe. Particularly in France where people are culturally interested in the food sector and gastronomy.
The main difference between both countries is that; in the USA Foodtech simply means the alliance between technology and food innovation while in France, Foodtech has an underlining meaning. French startups in the food industry want to avoid mass food retail in order to reconnect citizens with products of quality and showcase the exchange between people.
- The best French example of successful French food tech is “La Ruche qui dit oui”*:
It was created in 2011 in Toulouse and the service works in France today. At the time when it was largely industrialized, an important part of the population wanted to reconnect with the local production. The concept allows you to order food & beverage from farmers and producers after subscribing to the website. Every week they meet each other in “Ruche” to deliver baskets that customers have already ordered. The value of the concept is both; the idea that the customer gets certified high quality products and the special contact between producer and consumer.
Their philosophy is « Let’s get together to buy the best food available, directly from local farmers and foodmakers. »
To conclude, Foodtech is the continuity of what we already know. Delivery food companies, restaurant booking apps and food-basket deliveries fit the criteria of Foodtech(s); they are part of the food sector (food innovation) and they use technology. However, Foodthech is developing more and more through social & quality products issues, aiming transparency between people and transparency on products conception. The competition is strong but great opportunities exist!
* Translation possible: “The beehive that says yes “