5 Ways European Entrepreneurs are Using Food Technologies During Covid-19
Interest is ticking up in investing in smart technology that helps save time, energy, the planet, and keep us safe.
In these grave and uncertain times of the Covid-19 global pandemic of 2020 and beyond, investors are eager to take advantage of the creative ways entrepreneurs and safe food-delivery services not only help mankind but help save the planet from the energy required to get food to your table. Front-runner investors who have focused on the e-commerce and delivery services of the food industry are now ready to augment their investments in new food technologies.
According to Forward Fooding, the food delivery sector represents less than 1 percent of the total food retail market even though these investments continue to grow at a whopping 451 percent. The next largest smart money is in consumer apps, up 348 percent and kitchen and restaurant tech up 245 percent. DigitalFoodLab's newsletter, FoodTech, estimates that European food tech startups raised €2.4B in private capital in 2019, a 70 percent increase from 2018. Even though investment in agricultural tech has dropped (-11 percent), investors in green technology see a future in funding European AgTech startups, like the platform XFARM, as this economic area raised €3M series A in December, 2019—a close second to the U.S. market.
Here are five interesting ways European entrepreneurs are using food tech during the pandemic:
1. Farmers' platform
This platform created by farmers for farmers claims it can raise efficiency of a farm to its "limits" by improving irrigation, protection and fertilization based on data entered into the XFARM platform and linking data to sensors that are designed for agricultural use. Its modules, available in both Italian and English, can be customized to your farming needs.
For example, think about the grapes for your fall harvest that are dependent on weather fluctuations due to climate change and how monitoring the irrigation, protection and fertilization could augment your sound judgment to ensure a perfect crop for that pinot noir!
2. Farm cupboards
What if you aren't a farmer but want to grow your own produce and have no space to do it? Agrilution offers little fitted farm cupboards. Its main product made in Germany is "Plantcube" that is about the size of a small fridge and can be built right into or added onto the kitchen design. Its glass door is attractive and offers instant sensuous pleasure of your home grown lettuces, parsley, rosemary and thyme.
3. Ugly produce
Speaking of produce, Finland developed a successful startup now in the UK called Oddbox. This is a delivery service of "rescued" food from local farms that would otherwise be thrown out.
It claims to rescue delicious, fresh fruit and veggies for being too odd, too big, too small, having cosmetic defects or even being too many from local farms and delivers it to your doorstep. And its site says that if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses that threaten our planet.
4. Italian pasta
No waste here! Sustainable sourced ingredients from small farms in Italy will be used on a seasonal basis to create pasta kits. On the horizon is EKOOK. You will be able to choose your recipe of "fresh organic and wholesome Italian-style pasta kits" from its soon-to-be-launched website, promising next-day delivery to your home.
According to the press release, inside the kit are two QR codes: "one will open a video tutorial guiding you on how to best prepare and serve your pasta dish in the traditional style. The second provides a link to a playlist curated to enhance your dining experience, pairing sound to your palate for a full sensory experience."
This enterprise also plans to offer the usual payment methods including AMEX and cryptocurrency. And yes, the popup chats on EKOOK's website, complete with a chef's image, will be instant. Plan on this coming soon to Italy and the U.S.
5. No guilt
How about an app that lets you calculate the nutrition values in that homemade Italian-style pasta to which you added scampi and an arugula salad? Just take a photo of your meal on your smart phone with Foodvisor, and the values come up. This nifty little app also lets you keep a diary and calculates your personal nutrition goals. And you can add the measurement of your physical activities (safely done outside and with masks these days) to check your established exercise goals. No guilt here! Just pleasure in instantly knowing that your healthy and safe goals are being met.
So, dive right into food tech with its really fun ways to use and invest in smart technology to save time, energy, the planet, and keep you safe.