MIC’d Up: What’s On the Menu for Foodtech Today?

Kelsey Johnson, Jun 14 2019

categories: Consumer Innovation Group

Tags: , , ,

I was thinking about food the other day. To be clear, I’m always thinking about food, but this time I was realllyyy thinking about it – its impact on our lives, the satisfaction it brings. And, as always, how technology is playing a pivotal role in reshaping the industry as we know it.

There’s a revolution going on in the agriculture and food production space. The emerging industry is referred to as Agri-Food Tech, and there are some downright awesome innovations coming out of the arena, with four major trends really driving progression. Here’s what’s on the menu:

Rise of Robos + Digitized Dining

Digital is revolutionizing the dining experience like never before, resulting in more direct engagement with consumers, increased personalization and even tailored service.

We now have the concept of the “dark kitchen” where delivery-app companies like Postmates are leasing kitchens and filling them with staff from partnering restaurants to increase output through  online-only orders. And on the flip side (quite literally), we have robots flipping burgers and running kitchens. Spyce, located right here in Boston, has created the world’s first restaurant featuring a robotic kitchen that cooks complex meals.

Alt-Minded Meat + Fish

There are two main trends shaping this “Alt-Minded Meat + Fish” category. First, we have innovators figuring out ways to grow animal by-products, such as meat and eggs, in lab settings. The science is called cellular agriculture, and companies like Just, Inc. are making it rise to fame overnight.

Then, we have the Impossible Foods of the world, that are taking meat out of the equation completely. They’re using heme – an essential molecule found in every living plant and animal – to make non-meat taste like meat.

And, hot off the presses, insects are now being used in lab-grown cells that could eventually be made into foods like faux shrimp or lobster!

Vertical Farming for a Better Horizon

Technology isn’t just changing what we eat, it’s reinventing how we produce it. AeroFarms is leading the charge with its award-winning, patented aeroponic technology that provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive. There’s minimal environmental impact and virtually zero risk.

We also have companies like Freight Farms that are taking a known concept – hydroponic container farming – and flipping it on its head, bringing consumers closer to their food source, and making the practice itself much more mainstream.

Transparency + Common Values

The last, and perhaps most influential trend driving the Agri-Food Tech space, is consumers’ need for more transparency, and our shared ideals regarding sustainability and prosperity. Simply put, we want good food – good for our bodies, good for our families and good for our environment.

These demands have ushered in a transformation of the food system narrative. Brands like Ripe.io and TE-FOOD have digitized the journey of food from farm-to-table in order to improve trust and transparency for all.

Are you hungry yet? I am! Hungry for more of these game-changing, world-bettering food tech innovations, that is.  What we’re talking about is a full industry upheaval here, folks, and it’s just getting started. Grab your seat at the dinner table.


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