FoodTech 500
The FoodTech 500 top 10. Credit: ForwardFooding

Meet the FoodTech 500’s top 10 startups powering the food revolution

February 4, 2020

Editor’s Note: Alessio Dantino is CEO of Forward Fooding, a global network and data service for the FoodTech industry.


The FoodTech 500 came to us over a debate about the IPO of Beyond Meat. Who would be the next big player in AgriFoodTech to IPO we wondered? 

The Forward Fooding team got our heads together to take stake our bets.

Ironically, when we compared who we’d chosen, we all picked different companies, in completely different categories of FoodTech. We realised that although there were uniting factors in our choices, we were basing this on our opinions, not on data.

This sparked our thinking…


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  • Could we predict the next Beyond Meat and discover the AgriFoodTech businesses that have the potential to transform the Food Industry as we know it and become tomorrow’s household names?
  • Could we create a data-driven methodology to score and rank the businesses which in our opinion are the top AgriFoodTech entrepreneurial success stories worth keeping an eye?
  • In short, why don’t we create the Fortune 500 of FoodTech?

In launching our search for the world’s first FoodTech 500 we dared to dream big and the answer I’m proud to say to all of the above is yes. 

The top startup companies that made the 2019 FoodTech 500 list represent every sector of the FoodTech ecosystem, from farm to fork, and they are all success stories in their own right, which is why we are so proud to share them with you. 

The FoodTech 500’s Top 10

AeroFarms – the vertical farming group based out on New Jersey, US

TIPA Corp – the Israeli compostable packaging startup

Bowery Farming – the vertical farming startup out of New York

Agrivi – the Croatian farm management software startup

JIMINI’s – the edible insects company from Paris, France

Notpla – the UK-based seaweed and plant-based packaging startup

Agrilution – consumer-targeted vertical farming technology from Germany

Growing Underground – the London-based vertical farming startup

PicoBrew – at-home, automated coffee brewing from Seattle, US

Naio Technologies – the French ag-robotics startup

 

Click here to download The FoodTech 500 Top 10 interviews.

Today as we launch the Official 2019 FoodTech 500 List, I’d like to share a few thoughts with you on some of the trends we’ve seen and lessons we’ve learned through creating the FoodTech 500.

Tech is fast shaping the future of food, and is only set to continue

With €23.6 billion raised in FoodTech in the last 10 years, it is the most recent years that have been the most significant in the sector’s evolution as funding increased by +278% between 2016 and 2018, according to data from our FoodTech Navigator. The result: it’s clear that FoodTech and Food Technology are no longer a niche industry. 

The world is stepping up to answer the huge and immediate global challenges our food system is facing. Questions like how to feed a population set to hit 9Bn by 2050? How technology can help to reverse the effects of climate change and reduce the $1,2 trillion in food waste each year? And how do we create more sustainable and efficient agriculture practices?

The FoodTech 500 startups are pioneering the evolution of the FoodTech industry and are working to create the answers.

Don’t underestimate the underdogs

They may have started small, but they are growing and are becoming mighty. 

In total, we saw that 78.2% of FoodTech 500 companies are less than 5 years old and 56.1% are at pre-seed or seed-stage funding. 

Yet despite their early stage, close to 75% are already revenue-generating, and they’ve combinedly raised €1.2Bn in funding to support their growth.

We think The FoodTech 500 companies are becoming a financial force to be reckoned with.

Purpose and SDGs are at their heart

Having interviewed a selection of the top FoodTech 500 companies, what’s clear is that these businesses have proudly placed purpose at their heart. 

Whether it’s demonstrating how sustainability is central to their business model, or by directly or indirectly aiming to tackle some of the food industry’s biggest challenges, these companies are here to use technology to make a difference. The world we live in and the future of this planet is both front and central to both business strategy and business culture for all FoodTech 500 companies.

A Diverse Landscape

Creating the FoodTech 500 has shown us what we already knew – the world of AgriFoodTech is diverse, future-thinking, and is shaping our very perception of the food landscape. 

It is our ambition that the FoodTech 500 becomes the Fortune 500 of FoodTech, a list of top innovators and disruptors in the industry and the go-to leaders of the emergent and ever-evolving sector. 

But beyond all of this, the most important thing for us to share is the stories of the people who make up the FoodTech 500. 

The entrepreneurs, the creators and innovators. Those with a new vision of the future and the unrelenting passion to change how it happens. The ones working hard to change the future, addressing the challenges our world faces in sustainability and feeding 9Bn people by 2050. The ones changing the course of the way we produce, consume and enjoy food forever.

Our Official FoodTech 500 Whitepaper is also available to download, and details how we created the FoodTech 500 with a deep dive into the methodology and data behind the FoodTech 500. 

Congratulations to all 500 finalists on being part of the world’s very first FoodTech 500. 

Finally, to everyone working hard to realise a dream, a vision and make a difference to FoodTech, to this world. We thank you. 

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