Fuber tales Part 1: Understanding the Foodscape

At this stage we knew that we wanted to focus on a food-related problem, but because practically everyone eats food our potential market would be massive. We had to find a way to narrow our focus to a really sticky problem that is experienced by a very specific demographic.

One way would be to go out into the street and ask people about food, and ask people whether or not they have any issues with the quality, service or price-point of food. This does make a lot of sense on a surface level, but we quickly realised that asking a very open question to people around food probably wouldn’t elicit a helpful response — on the contrary average folk are so accustomed to the way they consume food in their daily life that it no longer bears too much consideration.

The issue is that food is something that people tend to make part of their routine, and routines are something that you easily become completely habituated to.

Once you’ve set up a routine you no longer need to think too much about it and actively identifying problems becomes all the more difficult

This means that you’re left with a minority that is ready to vocalise whatever quibble they may have about food but isn’t necessarily representative of the day-to-day struggles that people encounter when it comes to putting some food in their tummy for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We knew that it was important to get out of the building early but at the same time we were hesitating to go out there and blindly shoot in every direction looking for a hit when it might be a false of lead than anything else. We also didn’t want to risk the chance of spending too much time and energy on a problem that is already being solved by a number of excellent solutions in the majority of cases.

By analyzing the current competition surrounding food we could at least avoid some of these pitfalls, and perhaps get a heard start in understanding the types of problems and solutions out there and the types of customers that they’re focused on.

We all went off and independently researched the main startups and not-so startups in the food space

Then, one afternoon we got together over some delicious gourmet take-away pizzas and discussed our findings. The first step was simply to list each startup, what they do and the problem they were trying to solve. This process quickly led us to the realization the many of the startups were trying to solve the same problem, so we began to group them together based on what they were solving for the consumer:

  1. No time to cook good food
  2. Quality food is too expensive
  3. Hard to find local food options
  4. Hard to meet people/lack of community

We then categorized the range of solutions that were out there for these problems:

  1. Industrial kitchen/chefs that cook healthy food on demand
  2. Quick and easy delivery services
  3. Refrigerated ready to eat food that can be warmed up later
  4. Dinner kits to facilitate cooking of specific recipes
  5. Aggregation services to make local food outlets more findable
  6. Services to help home cooks find a market for their food
  7. Services to help people to people to host a paid dinner party
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