FoodTech in the U.K

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Introduction

Innovative technologies are changing the world along with the rules of the game in multiple industries. To stay valid and in sync with the current trends, the food industry is also implementing technological innovations to its business processes. And this method of merging Technology with Food has given rise to the concept of Food-Tech globally. 

Thus food-tech is turning this age-old trade into a more modern, sustainable and efficient sector. It positively impacts all the business stages, from food preparation to distribution and from consumption to consumer feedback.

The UK FoodTech is a buzzing sector that is making all the right noises. Currently, it is witnessing significant growth in the number of startups, investors and funding. With London emerging as the central hub, the U.K is positioning itself as a leader for FoodTech innovation in Europe. 

Susan Nelson, a group leader for FoodTech at Tech London Advocates, stated that:

"FoodTech has to be far more important than most of the other 'techs' such as prop-tech, ed-tech and retail tech because the future of food is critical to the future of mankind."


The emergence of food tech in the UK

David Buttress, the co-founder of Just Eat, shared his experience when they started back in 2006. According to him, this was not a fascinating industry then. Just Eat was an online platform for local takeaway restaurants, and many venture capitalists (VC) were not demonstrating a keen interest. Today, it is a different story altogether. With assistance from its highly dense restaurant landscape, London makes all the right noises in the global FoodTech landscape.

By the year 2019, there were more than 46 startups in the food delivery sector alone, with total funding of £1.5 billion. Between the year 2013-2018, over a quarter of all venture capital funding took exposure in the FoodTech industry. Riding on this trend, The U.K. is creating a sturdy foundation to progress as a global hub for FoodTech innovation.


Challenges faced

However, FoodTech startups face their fair share of difficulties. A significant hurdle is the unavailability of funding in more mature stages of business growth. Reports from Collective Equity Ownership suggest that only three UK-based startups have successfully secured over £50 million compared to the twenty in the U.S. 

Maarten Goossens, the founding principal of Anterra Capitals, pointed that:

"Europe does have a problem when it comes to later-stage capital, specifically for Series B to D funding rounds when larger amounts of capital are required while the risk of failure is still significant; there's a gap in those investment stages across all tech industries."


The future of FoodTech In the U.K

The FoodTech industry is positioning itself resolutely in the U.K. With no shortage of talent and London at the centre, it is now a startup powerhouse with a thriving ecosystem.

The situation is looking up over the last couple of years where-in The U.K. tech sector has witnessed a massive spike in investments. 

Moreover, investors globally, including from the U.S. and Asian Countries, have shown interest in the startup scene in the U.K. According to some studies, investments reached $3.5 billion in the first half of 2019. 

Hence, it is safe to assume that the FoodTech industry and other tech startups currently look at a very lucrative future.


Conclusion

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Excerpts of this article have been sourced from the report, “The growing and dominating UK FoodTech ecosystem” by Armaan Dobberstein, developed in partnership with Collective Equity Ownership.


Sandipan Deb

Sandipan is a consultant in a information technology company. His area of expertise are content writing and blogging. He has been in the industry for 4 years. Also, he loves travelling and trying different cuisines.