Top 10 Food Tech Startups Innovating the F&B Industry
Food tech startups have moved beyond food and grocery delivery. Startups are now providing subscription-based meals, and smart water coolers that dispense filtered, flavored, and sparkling water on demand. In addition, these startups and brands are integrating waste reduction practices as well as zero-waste workflows to attract young and working consumers who are more aware of health and well-being.
Even in developing countries like India, these food delivery companies are noticing tremendous growth in their consumer base. VC investment in the food tech sector also saw a surge in recent years, per Crunchbase.
In this article, we’ll be discussing 10 Food tech startups that are innovating the Food & Beverage Industry and the solutions that they are offering:
|HQ||The United States|
|Total Funding Amount||$28 Million|
|Top Investors||CRV, Uncork Capital|
|Innovative Tech||Offers an on-demand platform for restaurant employees with several jobs or establishments|
Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Pared?
On-Demand Hiring App For Restaurant Workers – The app concentrates on back-of-the-house activities such as line cooks, prep cooks, and dishwashers. However, it could cover any aspect of a res aurant. Pared features different apps for restaurants (Pared app) and professionals (Pared Pros app).
Restaurants use the app to find a ‘Pro’ for any role they require and book them immediately according to their schedule. These diners are keen to pay extra to keep things going efficiently. Employees look through the jobs on the application and accept the gig if they are willing to work for an hourly wage. (Source)
“On our platform, every shift and rating you get, every connection you get in the industry — and it’s a very tight network — you build up your own reputation or identity. We’re helping them build up, it’s more like a race to the top than a race to the bottom. They start off as a prep cook, and they start getting offers for line cook positions. We might have videos for learning to do this or that. They can work their way up to build that reputation. It’s all about reputation, it’s about people you trust.” – Dave Lu, Founder, Pared.
Pared App Screenshots
|HQ||The United States|
|Total Funding Amount||$130.3 Million|
|Top Investors||Bessemer Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Cowen Group|
|Innovative Tech||Offers smart water coolers for businesses.|
Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Bevi?
Flavored Bottleless Water Dispenser – Bevi’s smart water coolers deliver filtered, flavored, and sparkling water on demand for business ventures. They provide sweetened and unsweetened varieties in still or sparkling water. Some of these flavors also contain beneficial elements, such as electrolytes and natural caffeine. The flavors are all-natural, vegan-friendly, kosher-certified, and devoid of sodium, gluten, and GMOs. The startup aims to end the use of single-use bottles and cans by marketing naturally flavored water on tap. (Source)(Source)(Source)
“We wanted to use design and technology to change people’s behavior. We wanted to build a smart beverage platform powered by tap water and data analytics.” – Frank Lee, Co-Founder, and COO, Head of Expansion, Bevi. (Source)
The Standup 2.0
What are the Collaborations and Acquisitions done by Bevi?
In 2016, Bevi partnered with Agua Brands to offer Agua Fruit Essence fruit-infused waters to customers at several Bevi-operated locations in New York City, Boston, and the Pacific Northwest Coast. Agua’s brand purpose of providing optimal hydration without compromising great taste was a perfect match with Bevi’s mission of encouraging people to drink more water. The brands launched a roll-out initiative with Agua’s ever-popular Lime + Mint Mojito and Peach + Mango Fruit Essence, letting consumers enjoy delightful refreshments from a brand they know and trust for its exceptional taste.
According to Sean Grundy, Co-Founder, and CEO of Bevi, “We’re thrilled to offer Agua Fruit Essence and Active Hydration to our customers throughout the country. Our corporate customers are always looking to provide their employees with the most innovative, healthiest, and best-tasting beverages out there. The Agua team has developed some amazing products and we’re eager to get them in our customer’s hands! This is our first experience working with a bottled beverage company to mix their formulation in our machines, and we’re really excited for the opportunity.” (Source)
In 2017, Bevi teamed up with Trinity Ventures and raised $16.5 million in Series B. This investment was utilized to assist the launch of their innovative countertop beverage dispenser concept, as well as to speed the development of IoT-enabled technologies that allowed users to customize their beverages at the Point of Use. (Source)
How many Patents does Bevi have?
Bevi has filed 22 patent applications on its beverage dispenser system and machines of which only 2 were granted. The startup has filed patents in multiple jurisdictions such as the US, the UK, Europe, China, Canada, and Mexico.
|HQ||The United States|
|Total Funding Amount||$17 Million|
|Top Investors||PowerPlant Partners|
|Innovative Tech||Offers plant-based meal subscriptions|
Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Thistle?
Plant-Based Foods – Thistle serves customized plant-based meals to customers on a subscription basis. Its product portfolio includes organic and plant-based meals, cold-pressed juices, and snacks. The meals come packed with fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, inspired by cuisines from all around the world. (Source)(Source)(Source)
|HQ||The United States|
|Total Funding Amount||Undisclosed|
|Top Investors||Start Capital, Click Ventures|
|Innovative Tech||Offers culinary experiences and products.|
Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Cozymeal?
Culinary Experiences Marketplace – It is an online and in-person culinary experience and product marketplace offering culinary classes, cookware, recipes, and more. Additionally, it provides private chef experiences (a cooked meal without cooking training) and food tours. Interested cooks are screened for background, training, and expertise before an interview and mock meal. (Source)(Source)(Source)
“We provide you [the chefs] with all the tools you need to be able to market your craft. They can just focus on what they’re best at, which is providing superior culinary services and experiences to customers. We really focus on cooking classes as an experience. Chefs come to your house, cook, clean up, then leave.” – Sam Nasserian, Cozymeal Founder and CEO. (Source)
What are the Collaborations and Acquisitions done by Cozymeal?
In 2016, Cozymeal collaborated with 15 professional chefs including Bruce Naftaly, the previous owner of Le Gourmand. Booking, payment processing, and marketing are all facilitated by this platform, which receives 10% to 25% of each cooking. Furthermore, the company began offering cooking classes and catering in the Seattle area.
According to Samad Nasserian CEO of Cozymeal, “Cozymeal is the only platform that exclusively works with professional chefs and has vetted every single chef on the platform. This is why almost all major tech companies use Cozymeal regularly for their team events, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter.” (Source)
In 2019, Lindsey Metselaar demonstrated their culinary abilities, gave dating and cooking advice, and urged their fans to attend T-fal sponsored pop-up cooking workshops for singles and couples organized in collaboration with Cozymeal. (Source)
In 2022, Cozymeal began collaborating with several culinary classes in the United States, mostly to provide exclusive dining experiences to its consumers. (Source)
|HQ||The United States|
|Total Funding Amount||$13.9 Million|
|Innovative Tech||Offers spirit tasting on a subscription basis|
Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Flaviar?
Subscription-Based Alcoholic Spirit Tasting – Being a spirit-tasting firm, Flaviar offers tasting samples of rare liquors to its subscribers. The members get access to spirit information, customized suggestions and samples, private labels, exclusive bottling, and live events. They even receive complimentary bottles on a monthly basis. In addition to that, it enables direct purchases to be made on the website. (Source)(Source)(Source)
Tasting Box – Premium Spirits Samples
What are the Collaborations and Acquisitions done by Flaviar?
In 2017, Flaviar’s first cooperation was with Mezcalistas Mezcal Box. They concentrated on offering samples of spirits in special selections such as this mezcal box so that their subscriber base may try and then purchase their preferred spirits. (Source)
In 2018, Flaviar launched Frérot XO Cognac in partnership with 800 of its members through ‘crowdtasting’. Flaviar chose three XO mixes for the ‘crowdtasting,’ and members received them in a tasting package delivered to their homes. Frérot XO Cognac Assemblage de Crus, limited to 2,000 bottles, was made available to non-members for the first time which could be purchased online for $130. (Source)
In 2020, WhistlePig Rye Whiskey partnered with Flaviar to launch WhistlePig HomeStock Whiskey. WhistlePig donated 20% of online purchases through Flaviar & Caskers from HomeStock to the USBG Foundation’s Emergency Assistance Program. WhistlePig and Flaviar’s teamwork, as well as the entrepreneurial character of both organizations, guaranteed that this project got from concept to reality in a matter of weeks.
According to Grisa Soba, Co-Founder of Flaviar, “We’re going to be talking about this period in history for a long time, and what we all did to stave off cabin fever. Instead of saying they learned how to make sourdough or banana bread like some kind of quarantine cliché, Flaviar members will be able to brag about learning to blend whiskey during the lockdown and being part of a piece of liquid history that they can now own and savor. Exclusive content and experiences like this have always been a big part of Flaviar and we’ve just taken it to another level.” (Source)
6. Fig (Food Is Good)
|HQ||The United States|
|Total Funding Amount||Undisclosed|
|Top Investors||Artis Ventures (AV)|
|Innovative Tech||Offers food scanners and discovery mobile applications|
Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Fig?
Food Scanner And Discovery Platform – Fig develops technology that empowers nutritional requirements. The app assists in the discovery of food products that a person can consume (which have been customized for allergies, intolerances, and lifestyle preferences). Furthermore, users could also build up a profile to see what’s available at the grocery shop they’re at. They can also check whether the product composition is safe or not and can even get to know if alternate options are available at that particular store. (Source)(Source)
Fig Product Scanner
Fig Alt rnatives Finder
|Total Funding Amount||$5.7 Million|
|Top Investors||Kima Ventures, Demeter|
|Innovative Tech||Offers AI-based nutritional coaching app.|
Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Foodvisor?
AI-Based Deep Learning Nutritional Coaching – Foodvisor’s smartphone app logs everything a person eats to help them lose weight, diet, or get healthy. Depending on the user’s profile, the application discovers what fits best for the users by employing its very own proprietary AI technology. Thus, allowing them to reach their particular health and wellness objectives. Through deep learning and image recognition, the app can identify what a person is about to consume, and food type, and estimates the food’s weight. Users then also receive personalized coaching from nutrition specialists. (Source)(Source)
Working on the Foodvisor Application
Which Awards have been received by Foodvisor?
- Foodvisor won the App Awards 2016 under Best App for a Startup Award. (Source)(Source)
- Foodvisor won the Petit Poucet 2016 award under the category of Food Tech & Gastronomy. (Source)
- Foodvisor won the Special Award Foodtech Application award at the Concorso French Innovation Corner a Vitafoods 2016. (Source)
|HQ||The United States|
|Total Funding Amount||$61 Million|
|Top Investors||FirstMark, 3L Capital|
|Innovative Tech||Uses the cloud to offer real-time insights across food value chain firms.|
Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Crisp?
Retail Food Analytics Software – Crisp uses the cloud to link and analyze retail data sources to give real-time insights and trends across food value chain firms, allowing them to concentrate on their platforms. The company eliminates global food waste and provides retailers with actionable analytics to manage inventory, and boost revenue. (Source)(Source)(Source)
Working of Crisp
What are the Collaborations and Acquisitions done by Crisp?
In 2021, Crisp partnered with REMA 1000 to run the business at scale while continuously satisfying demand, increasing profitability, and eliminating waste. Crisp’s REMA Connect allowed the retailer to exchange up-to-date sales and supply chain data with top suppliers, increasing transparency and driving cost savings, supply chain efficiency, and revenue growth for both REMA 1000 and its brand partners.
According to Cecilie Jarlsbo, Head of Data & Insights Commercialization, REMA 1000, “Crisp’s platform makes it easy for our team to collaborate with suppliers in real-time, helping us better serve our customers and grow revenue while also enabling suppliers to succeed.” (Source)
In 2021, Crisp collaborated with UNFI to deliver benefits to CPG brands. Food and beverage companies will be able to exchange, alter, and use UNFI data within their own business intelligence tools, such as Excel and Power BI, by utilizing the Crisp platform. Crisp allows CPG manufacturers to track UNFI sales and inventory levels throughout their retail sales channels.
According to Chris Testa, UNFI President, “This relationship with Crisp is a great example of how UNFI is helping food companies better leverage data to make smart decisions going forward and ultimately improve the service level to our retail customers. I encourage all our suppliers to explore this new offering.” (Source)
In 2022, Crisp collaborated with Omnicom Media Group to power the industry’s first supply chain-based media activation solution. CPG brands will be able to optimize their media expenditure based on the present product offerings.
According to Are Traasdahl, CEO and Founder of Crisp, “As supply-chain challenges and inflation pressures continue to impact retailers, CPG brands and distributors, leveraging open data sharing will be crucial to helping brands optimize product inventory throughout the supply chain.” (Source)
Which Awards have been received by Crisp?
- Crisp was recognized as one of the Most Innovative Retail Startups in the 2022 CB Insights Retail Tech 100 List under Merchandising & inventory management category. (Source)(Source)
- Crisp was recognized by Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards under the category AI and Data for the years 2022, 2021, and 2020. (Source)(Source)
- Crisp won the Inc’s Best Workplaces of 2021 award. (Source)
|HQ||The United States|
|Total Funding Amount||$34.4 Million|
|Top Investors||Social Capital, Resolute Ventures, Aidenlair Capital|
|Innovative Tech||Uses AI to reduce food wastage by purchasing only the quantity of food that is required for delivery.|
Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Farmstead?
Smart-Buying AI Technology – The smart-buying AI technology utilized by Farmstead helps to cut down on the amount of wasted food by purchasing only the quantity of food that is required for delivery. Its AI digital grocer locates and delivers fresh food in less than an hour. The AI-based program, which is linked to the company’s smaller-format dark shops, assists in determining the ideal stock levels and facilitates smooth order picking, packing, and delivery. Hence, it delivers for free while maintaining costs lower than local grocers. (Source)(Source)
Cost – Farmstead vs. Others
What are the Collaborations and Acquisitions done by Farmstead?
In 2022, Farmstead teamed with Dematic to assist supermarkets in driving operational efficiency through software and automation. This cooperation now combines the final component of the warehouse-in-a-box offering, enabling retailers to fully automate their business – from receiving to fulfillment to shipping with Dematic’s supply chain solutions. The two firms may deliver an end-to-end e-commerce solution, combining powerful Grocery OS software with Dematic’s effective automation solutions to dramatically increase a grocer’s e-commerce efficiency.
According to Pradeep Elankumaran, Co-Founder and CEO at Farmstead, “Dematic has a decades-long track record of helping retailers improve efficiency. We’re proud to bring Dematic, a trusted partner in automation, to the table when we’re speaking with grocers about driving operational efficiencies at scale.” (Source)
In 2021, Farmstead teamed up with Forage to address food insecurity. Farmstead plans to integrate Forage’s technology into its own e-commerce operations by the second quarter of 2022, allowing it to begin accepting EBT/SNAP payments for e-commerce orders. Forage’s technology will be integrated into Farmstead’s Grocery OS platform, which is licensed to other grocers to help run their own e-commerce and delivery operations.
According to Pradeep Elankumaran, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmstead, “Addressing food insecurity has been a core part of Farmstead’s mission since day one. Our entire business is based on the premise that grocery delivery should be for the masses, and that it’s possible to have fresh, high-quality groceries delivered to your front door at the same prices you’d pay at the store, with no additional fees. Accepting EBT at Farmstead, and integrating EBT into Grocery OS, marks a big milestone for us, and we’re proud to be working with Forage to make this a reality.” (Source)
In 2021, Farmstead and Halla teamed up to assist retailers in better tailoring their eCommerce products by combining Halla’s Taste Intelligence engine with Farmstead’s Grocery OS platform. The firms will work together to provide a solution for launching and efficiently running a food eCommerce business, including the ability to predict what a consumer would want to buy next, which has been shown to increase basket size and sales.
According to Pradeep Elankumaran, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmstead, “Data has become a significant advantage for retailers, and those who leverage it wisely are going to win more market share. Having Halla data and insights along with Grocery OS helps grocers provide more value to customers while increasing their own sales. We’re excited to work with Halla to help our joint customers boost basket sizes.” (Source)
Which Awards have been received by Farmstead?
Farmstead won the Technology Vendor of the Year award (Rest of World) category at the 2020 RTIH Innovation Awards. (Source)
|HQ||The United Kingdom|
|Total Funding Amount||$53.1 Million|
|Top Investors||Octopus Ventures, VNV Global|
|Innovative Tech||Offers platform to share extra food instead of throwing them.|
Which Innovative Technologies are being used by Olio?
Exchange edible surplus food – OLIO brings together neighbors and works with local firms to share extra food instead of throwing them. This makes it possible for neighbors and local firms to find a solution to the problem of food wastage and contribute to the transformation of society. The type of food may be those getting close to their expiry date in local stores, extra vegetables, or the extra foods in the refrigerator. Furthermore, OLIO also enables sharing of non-food household goods. (Source)(Source)
What are the Collaborations and Acquisitions done by Olio?
In 2022, OLIO partnered with JOKR, a Mexican dark store unicorn, to begin a project to prevent food from going to waste in inventory. This collaboration, the first between OLIO and a Latin American firm, entails gathering leftover food fit for JOKR consumption and distributing it to members of local vulnerable communities. Since its inception, this pilot initiative has allowed over 350 local residents to obtain free food from OLIO and JOKR, equivalent to 2,673 meals that would have otherwise gone to waste, saving up to 838,528 liters of water.
According to Tessa Clarke, Co-Founder, and CEO of OLIO, “Our pilot with JOKR has already been very successful and we have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from OLIO users and our Food Waste Heroes. We can’t wait to see the partnership roll out to more hubs.” (Source)
In 2022, OLIO collaborated with Pandamart in Singapore to reduce food waste in Lion City by redistributing unsold food to local communities for free. The collaboration began in December 2021, with over 400 kgs of food successfully donated. This works up to 900 dinners for 180 families. Any Pandamart food that has passed its sell-by date, as well as damaged canned products and minor defective foods, are offered to local communities using the Olio app. Food waste, being one of Singapore’s primary waste sources, is a key impediment to the country’s Zero Waste Master Plan. Working together, Olio and Pandamart hope to prevent perfectly edible food from being thrown away. (Source)(Source)
In 2022, Bexley Household Food Waste Project was launched in collaboration with OLIO and Kitche. The project will be ongoing, with activities to market it to Bexley families throughout the year, culminating in the ‘Bexley Eco festival’ at the end of June, which will be a face-to-face event at the NEST in Thamesmead.
According to Tessa Clarke, Co-Founder, and CEO of OLIO, “Last year was incredibly important for sustainability, with COP26 putting climate change firmly on the worldwide news agenda. As a country, we’re definitely becoming more conscious about the impact our behavior has on the planet – but our work is far from done. Food waste is still at a dangerously high level, which is why initiatives like this are so important. We can’t wait to see the impact this program has in Bexley, and hope that more councils follow suit in the very near future.” (Source)
Which Awards have been received by Olio?
- Olio was a winner at The Escape 100 2022.
- Olio won the award for the Best Sustainable Living App of 2022 under the Lifestyle Category.
- Olio won the Special Achievement Award under the Food loss and waste / Hospitality and leisure sector category at the 2021 waste2zero Awards. (Source)
The global market is expected to reach $342 billion by 2027 with a growth of 6% CAGR, per Emergen Research. An increase in emerging tech utilization in food processing techniques, innovation in robotics and data technology, and rising awareness of health and wellness among the prime audience are the key opportunities for growth in this sector.
With such opportunities, there is scope for big companies and startups as well. In some cases such as online food delivery, we have seen startups getting an edge over big companies that also provides delivery services.
But it is too soon to say, companies like Amazon have a big pile of cash, and with the rapid acquisitions they are doing, it won’t take much time to be a bigger player in this sector as well. The same is true for Walmart as well.
Further, merger and acquisition activities in the Food tech sector have been seeing a rise. So, it won’t be a surprise if there would be an acquisition by a big company in near future.
Especially in other markets such as India where Food tech is totally dominated by startups like Zomato and Swiggy. Despite Amazon’s presence in the country for almost a decade, the company hasn’t been able to roll out food delivery except in a few cities.
We have already discussed various areas where Food-tech startups are innovating such as Nutraceuticals, and the Plant-based food Industry. It will be exciting to see how the future of food tech startups would turn out and how it will change consumer behavior further.