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8 Reasons Why Food-Related Startups Will Gain Momentum in 2018

The food industry has plenty of room to grow.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's no surprise that the and dining industry is an attractive one for entrepreneurs. After all, everyone has to eat. But, the industry has received a bad rap in recent years -- it's a common mantra that opening a is extremely risky for even the most ambitious and hardworking entrepreneurs.

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However, along with the fact that this myth has been debunked, there are a lot of opportunities for forward-thinking entrepreneurs who want to jump on the train. Here are eight reasons why food-related startups will become increasingly popular in 2018.

1. We're focusing more on our health.

The health and fitness industry has received a surge in recent years, especially as the public becomes more aware of the fact that more than two in three adults are considered to be overweight in the United States. This has created a strong need among Americans for healthier food options -- and are taking the helm.

Meal prep companies, like FlexProMeals help customers set up a diet plan and then sends them pre-made meals based their needs. This is a convenient way to eat healthier and improve your lifestyle. More consumers are now turning to meal-prep experts to tell them exactly what to eat and when.

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2. We want to cook without sacrificing convenience.

Due to more chaotic lifestyles, the percentage of Americans who cook their own meals is declining -- less than 60 percent of dinners served at home were actually cooked at home in 2014. It's not that people don't want to cook -- they just don't have the time.

Enter startups like Elements, which provides pre-prepared meals for people on the go. With high-quality ingredients and freeze-dried technology, customers open up the package, add hot water and enjoy a healthy dinner without the time and effort that a home-cooked meal requires.

3. We're looking for more affordable organic options.

As much as people would love to eat , one thing usually stands in the way -- it's typically more expensive. For example, non-organic eggs generally cost around $2.49, while the organic option will run you $4.99. Food startups like Brandless have recognized this and are creating non-branded organics for those who only have one obstacle when it comes to eating organic -- the cost.

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4. Chain restaurants aren't cutting it anymore.

Some of the latest news coming out of the food industry is that millennials have killed chain restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings and , and the Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) fell to 99.6 in September of 2016. Due to changing dining expectations, younger generations are no longer frequenting the once-popular chains.

Instead, food startups like Blue Apron are catering to the desires of younger generations by setting up subscription plans, which are very popular among the millennial demographic.

5. We're looking for new ways to get delivery.

People have loved the convenience of since the beginning of the dining industry. However, getting a pizza delivered isn't cutting it anymore -- consumers desire more diverse options. Online food delivery still presents a $210 billion market opportunity.

Because of this, food startups like Munchery have jumped into the game, allowing consumers to satisfy any craving, anytime. You are no longer limited to pizza when it comes to delivery options.

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6. We hate to wait.

We all want instant gratification -- actually, we demand it. Successful startups are catering to this demand, and the restaurant industry is no exception. Restaurants have waiting lists that average 6.6 hours per week, with parties waiting nearly half an hour on average for a table.

Food startups have recognized the need to help cut the wait time down. New apps like NoWait are allowing people to get in line from the comfort of home, eliminating physically waiting at the restaurant.

7. We're hungry for learning.

From 2015 to 2016, for the first time in history, Americans spent more money at bars and restaurants ($54.857 billion) than they did on groceries ($52.503 billion). This represents a large percentage of the average paycheck, so cash-strapped younger generations are voicing a desire to get better at .

Food startups like Hipcooks out of San Diego, provide trendy, youth-friendly cooking courses to help young people learn their way around the kitchen.

8. We want to help others.

Food startups are tapping into the public desire to give back to the community -- 61 percent of millennials are concerned for the future of the planet and feel personally responsible to make a difference.

However, not all millennials feel capable of making a significant positive impact and believe that businesses should contribute to a social cause. The food and restaurant industry is tapping into this desire by funding startups that work to bring surplus food to those in need.

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