Food trends 2022: which markets are investors betting on?

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European food technology has attracted more than €9.5 billion in investments according to the DigitalFoodLab report. This is three times more than the previous year. After a year of stagnation, European foodtech has particularly caught the attention (and wallets) of investors in 2021, notes the new report from research firm DigitalFoodLab. “There is something specific about Europe,” says Matthieu Vincent, co-founder of DigitalFoodLab. investments multiplied by 3, compared to 2.5 on a global scale. » Overview of trends that can be drawn from these multiple fundraisers. The (illusory?) explosion of fast commerce 67% of investments in European foodtech refer only to the delivery sector. And a good part goes to the so-called fast trading services, delivery of races in fifteen minutes, which earned 2,900 million euros with in particular the record raisings of Gorillas and Flink: about 1,000 million euros each. “It’s unheard of, especially in such a new sector,” says Matthieu Vincent. The sector is consolidating at high speed with several acquisitions (Glovo and Volt) and capital inflows from major players (Carrefour, which invested in Cajoo, for example). Fast trading attracts a lot of money, but it has also been quickly spotted by regulators. Several cities in France such as Paris, Lyon or Rouen are beginning to raise their voices against dark shops, the warehouses of these actors who have sometimes illegally set up in city centers. Also, this model that raises billions is far from profitable and burns a lot of cash. Multiplying your dark shops and discount coupons to attract new customers is expensive and doesn’t bring much. The explosion of fast-paced commerce tends to mask new delivery trends, such as Gousto’s ready-to-eat meals or Allplants’ 100% vegan ready-to-eat meals. Alternative proteins multiply Foodscience – new food products – is the second category (by far) behind delivery with 960 million euros raised in 2021 for European startups in this sector. But it is also the one that represents the largest number of investments. The stars of these new products are still alternative proteins. DigitalFoodLab notes the diversity of existing technologies in this field: among the vegetable substitutes of Swiss Planted or the French La Vie, the meat grown in the laboratory of the Dutch Mosa Meat, or the precision fermentation of the British Formo. Investments in these new products could accelerate further in the coming years as the new concepts move into the industrialization phase, the report projects. Backlash for cloud kitchens and virtual restaurants? It was one of the fashionable models during the first days of the pandemic: virtual restaurants and their ghost kitchens (or cloud kitchens) that prepare meals only for delivery platforms. Sometimes for well-established restaurants, sometimes for 100% virtual brands created from scratch in a few weeks. But this category is experiencing difficulties in Europe following the relaxation of health rules. While in the United States investments in cloud kitchens continue to grow, points out DigitalFoodLab. Some actors had to revise their model slightly. Like “Taster and Not So Dark, which went up at the beginning of the year and then changed their model, which was a priori to open kitchens that they would manage themselves towards a franchise model where they “rent” their brands to independent restaurants who prepare meals for the Taster and Not So Dark brands in their own kitchens,” points out Matthieu Vincent. On the other hand, virtual canteens like Foodles are benefiting from a boom in demand. This French startup, which raised 31 millions of euros by the end of 2021, offers connected refrigerators installed in companies (replacing or in addition to a dining room). Less visible but more useful: the digitization of restaurateurs is working again. It is a less greedy sector in terms of investment than fast commerce, and less “revolutionary” in appearance than cloud kitchens, but it attracts a certain number of promising new startups. rises and still adds up to 850 million euros of investment. “The interest in this sector had started before the pandemic ia, then it had stopped, but it started again in 2021,” observes Matthieu Vincent. There are companies like Choco, a German platform to connect restaurateurs, caterers, bakers… with suppliers. Or the new Irish unicorn Flipdish, which allows restaurateurs to manage their own deliveries without having to go through the big platforms. “They are startups that respond to simple requests from restaurateurs, such as ordering with a smartphone, a service that was not possible with traditional players,” says Matthieu Vincent.
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