FoodTech? AgTech? AgriFoodTech? What do they all mean?
The food industry is booming. The last 5 years have seen an exponential boom in the FoodTech / FoodScience industry with a drastic increase in the amount of companies that exist in the field as well as the investments they are receiving (over $15 Billion in 2018). Food production, patterns of consumption and distribution circuits… are areas in the food sector where technology and innovation are yet to be discovered.
However, with the industry continually expanding at such a rapid rate a whole new set of terms have come with. The most profound being “FoodTech” itself giving the industry an overall umbrella definition. (To find out a more detailed definition of FoodTech check out this article) Briefly, FoodTech is the emerging sector exploring how technology can be leveraged to create efficiency and sustainability in designing, producing, choosing, delivering and enjoying food, as defined by us here at Forward Fooding.
Under this blanket definition of the industry comes a variety of terminology with the second most relevant term being AgTech or AgriTech. Some may argue that AgTech is growing at such a drastic rate one should consider it its own industry, however given that it stems from the creation of FoodTech and is being pioneered based on the same principles (for a sustainable future), it is important to realise their relationship. So what is AgTech?
AgTech or AgriTech is the implication of technology into bettering services and products that aim at increasing farming efficiency and sustainability, including the use of field sensors, drones, data analytics apps, or water management solutions.
Some other important terms within the industry are:
- FoodScience: The encapsulates startups, primarily in bioengineering, developing new food products answering the need for more transparency, health and environmental concerns. Products range from market innovations to radical disruptions using revolutionary ingredients. A trend in the field right now can be seen through the increasing dominance of plant based food, the largest company now being Impossible foods. Other up and coming startups in the field include JUST Inc, Beyond Meat and BlueNalu.
- FoodService: Is seeing startups reinvent the restaurant industry. Including the expansion of the well-known food applications trend of food delivery, with companies such as deliveroo. In addition it is seeing to improving the management of restaurants and institutional catering, connecting customers and businesses directly to local chefs for catering and new experiences. Newer trends are seeing the use of cooking robots in the home and commercially. Other companies that are starting to dominate the global scene are Hungry-House, Just-Eat and Zomato.
- Coaching: Here we are witnessing a rise in consumer awareness, with startups helping answer the rising question, “is my food good for me?” and “what should I eat?”. These are services focus on the final customer, attempting to reshape ones mentality towards more mindful purchasing and consuming. A recent trend is the use of blockchain technology, such as Almond which rewards customers for buying responsible brands, while helping one understand and reduce their carbon emissions. Other companies within the field are Whisk and Open Food Facts.
Hence, in order to gain a better grasp on what FoodTech is and its importance, it is important to understand the various terms and sub-industries it encapsulates.
Here at Forward Fooding one of our missions has been to try and capture all the startups that have created this new and dynamic industry. Over several hours of hard work, we have created the GlobalFoodTech Map, the first platform dedicated to providing you with all the latest AgriFoodTech trends. In order to find out more about the various FoodTech terms and the various industries associated with it check out Forward Fooding’s GlobalFoodTech Map!
Written by Armaan Dobberstein — Marketing Associate at Forward Fooding, avid foodie and chef as well as an interested FoodTech fan!