Last week I attended Future Food Tech, an incredible conference about innovation and investment form farm to fork organised by Rethink Events in London.
Here are some thoughts and take aways from the event.
Food Tech – say what?
Slightly confusing, I know. Apparently Food Tech points to a functional, personalised ways of delivering food to the consumer. It includes innovation across the whole food value chain (production, transportation, storage, processing, marketing, distribution, consumption and ultimately disposal), eloquently expressed by YFood founder Nadia El Hadery.
I was a little confused by the term and asked the investor panelists whether or not kAAKAO is considered to be part of the food tech landscape as we are breaking the rules by replacing traditional ingredients with alternative, innovative ones….but don’t really work in a ‘techie’/’sciency’ way.
Their answer? The consumer decides.
No more regular meat
Some investors are looking for new, technical solutions (such as non-meat like Beyond Burger, produced in a laboratory), whereas others want to back simple, awesome products. There seems to be room for everyone.
Here’s an interesting point: the experts and investors involved in Beyond Meat, Memphis Meat, and all the other ‘meaty’ companies predicted that these plant-based proteins and alternative meat products (using animal cells) will be available on supermarket shelves in 8-10 YEARS.
While it’s great that all these companies are solving MASSIVE, global issues long-term, we also need other solutions short term. Better continue innovating…
Branding is key
Trends emerge and fade rapidly. Brands experience fierce competition from white labels, and that’s why it’s even more crucial today to build brand loyalty and engage with consumers. And even if you’ve invented/created a kick-ass food product, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be successful. It needs to be packaged and communicated the right way – all the way.
New landscape, new challenges
The landscape is changing. Large companies such as Coca-Cola need to find new ways of ‘surviving’ when consumers don’t consume the same products as before. What’s the solution? In this case: distribute Starbucks products in retail in the US, and acquire Costa Coffee in the UK.
Food (tech) is really an exciting area to work in. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us.