What if big food brands partnered up with startups to create a better food system?

In the last few months I have been meeting a few corporate executives of multinational food companies and among all the interesting discussions I’ve had with them there is a one quote that I think is worth sharing:

“In the food industry everyone wants to get a seat in the front coach of the train. Big food brands have definitely conquered that position, the only problem is they‘ve jumped on a train that is going backwards”

Building railways for a train that is going backwards

We are certainly seeing a major shift in the dynamics of food today.

The big guys all seem to be too slow and perhaps enslaved to shareholders to innovate but they may be too large to perish… at least for now.

On the other hand, small food brands are gaining more and more popularity among consumers to a point where they may become the next big food company.

But what if they were collaborating to create a better food system (as well as more wealth) together? What if examples of the likes of Innocent drinks (acquired by Coca-Cola) or Grom (acquired by Unilever) will become the norm?

Big food corporates can enable scale for smaller food brands

For a small brand it will mean:

  • Tapping into the enormous production, marketing and branding infrastructure
  • Improving margins through more efficient production and sourcing
  • Accessing to greater distribution routes products can easily slip into existing distribution routes → resulting in greater impact

For a big company it will mean:

  • Gaining access to vetted brands with a progressive consumer base
  • Avoiding the expensive process of trying to start a new brand from scratch
  • Optimizing idle manufacturing capacity

In other words if larger companies’ resources could become much more accessible by startups, the barriers to entry for smaller food brands would continue to lower. By lowering the barriers more ideas will make it to market, more consumer choice and therefore better products for everyone.

It’s no secret that consumers are demanding better, healthier and planet conscious products. If we can build an infrastructure to enable food entrepreneurs to thrive, there will be more choice and brands that create better food for people.

To this end, I’m thrilled to announce that along with some of our corporate partners we’re building the Crowdfooding Hub, a physical space in the hearth of London where startups and corporates will connect to create innovation for the food and drink industry — to learn more email us at info@crowdfooding.co

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