Why are we interested in food?

June 5, 2019


min read

We are at the beginning of a new food tech revolution, for all the right reasons.

  1. Most importantly, consumer demand is changing. Consumers seek healthier food associated with a smaller environmental impact and higher ethics towards animals. Without this shift in demand, innovation would be stuck in the labs.
  2. Also, there are many exciting technologies ready for scaling, such as new farming and production techniques, new food sources and increased knowledge about the health effects of food.
  3. Many great entrepreneurs are now focused on food, where previously they would have been attracted to digital-only ventures.
  4. Finally, there is a growing network of specialised supporters out there, from VCs such as Atlantic Food Labs, corporate initiatives such as NX-Food and Döhler Ventures, development and innovation environments Hermann’s and Kitchentown as well as public-private partnerships, such as the Association of Alternative Protein Sources (BALPro), just to name some German examples.

In fact, we just became a BALPro member because we think they are doing outstanding work in Germany in promoting the development of alternative protein sources originating from vegetables, insects and high-tech labs.

What is most surprising about all this for me is how on earth we have managed to neglect the power of food for so long, going instead for convenience and price. The last Green Revolution happened only in the 1960s, bringing crops to millions, but also creating many of the agricultural problems we need to solve today.

In our view, there are serious bottlenecks slowing down the adaptation of food innovation which require creative solutions. Amongst them, how to tackle retail distribution and awareness. These two go hand in hand. For food innovation to become widely accessible, consumers need to find new brands and products on the retail shelves. It’s a chicken and egg thing, however. For retail to go in big, brands and awareness need to be big. And the food startup itself must be able to scale and have the potential to deliver meaningful revenue numbers, maybe not only with a single product but with sets of products.

In terms of complexity, we think the food venture process is situated somewhere in between the openness that has enabled digital venturing and the strictly regulated and high cost process surrounding biotech, where most startups cannot bring their innovation to market without big pharma partners.

With our more than 30 media partners in Germany, and with different types of media such as TV, radio, out of home and print, we believe we can support local as well as global food ventures coming to market. We know it will not be easy. But we are eager to figure this out and go big with the best and brightest new food brands and founders. Ping us and let’s talk.

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