While innovation flows freely in every industry, from time to time the media latches onto a particular tech wave or flavor. Flavors of the week have gone by with the seasons, from FinTech to LegalTech, and a new buzz in WeedTech. But one of the most lucrative and untapped markets, ripe for disruption and familiar to every one of us at least three times a day, is in what we put into our stomachs: FoodTech.
We have seen innovation in meal preparation from companies like Delivery Hero and FoodPanda, and an increasingly competitive market in delivery of everything from groceries with Instacart, ingredients from Blue Apron, snacks coming from NatureBox, and even companies themed to taste like the Asian food startup Bento. But where is food and technology making the latest and most exciting convergence?
Check out our roundup of some of this generation's most exciting FoodTech companies.
Innovations in Food Communities
Offers shared dining experiences at unique pop-up locations, with dinners at the homes of chefs, chefs that cook in your home, or private catering - it's a Swiss army knife of food experiences.
A food and travel experiences network that connects foodies from around the world via mouth watering recipes delivered by a number of entertaining shows. Notice that huge Facebook audience: 12 million!
Innovations in Micro Farming
A handcrafted edible garden for your home. The unit Includes a fish tank for cyclical farming, fully integrated into the micro farm ecosystem.
Sprouts helps you generate "personal produce" wherever you live, work, and play. It's a cool single-unit product for growing veggies at home, on-demand.
Innovations in Agricultural Technology
This copany finances, designs, builds and operates greenhouse farms at or near supermarkets, thereby cutting time, distance, and cost from the produce supply chain. It makes it hard to buy any more local.
A cloud based platform that empowers farmers with the digital tools to sell directly to the end customer, eliminating the need for a middle man (including large retailers).
'Hives' or farmers markets are not a new concept. However, companies like The Food Assembly in the UK and France are attracting a new younger demographic with digital tools for organizers: think Meetup.com for the Farmer's Market.
Innovations in Food Creation: 3D Food Printing
Self-described as "a paradigm shift for the culinary arts", 3D printing gives you the capability to "transform ingredients into a dimensional, structural medium and enabling architectural, intricate and utterly customized forms".
Another 3D printer, only this one cleverly touts itself as the "new generation kitchen appliance that combines technology, food, art and design". It is taking pre-orders now.
It's not just startups breaking into food innovation, but increasingly larger brands including McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Simplot, and Mondelez. Some are founding accelerators, others are trying food hackathons, and many are making investments in what is likely to be the next wave of technology trends. As my father, a proud Kellogg man for many years, would say – “people may be able to go without certain luxuries, but they will always need food- it’s the best business to be in”.