New technologies are emerging that are transforming the food industry, making it more efficient, sustainable, and safe. Here are the some of the most exciting food tech companies to watch out for.


There are today eight billion mouths to feed, and according to the United Nations, these will multiply to 10 billion 30 years down the line. The World Food Program estimates that at the global level, 828 million people struggle with hunger and 50 million are currently on the verge of famine.

The World Bank, moreover points out that agriculture and land use changes dictated by agriculture contribute 24% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world. To compound the problem, more than 70% of the freshwater in most regions is used up by agriculture.

The challenges are clearly manifold. To counter them the food industry has taken recourse to technology. Cutting-edge technology. Technological innovations have become key to delivering food from the farm to the fork. Technology allows the food industry to optimize production and makes it more efficient in combating global hunger in sustainable ways. It has prolonged the shelf-life of food, ensured food safety and quality, and allowed food to be affordable and accessible to all.

Automation and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in the food industry have led to easier product testing, research and development, giving food businesses the confidence and wherewithal to develop new, high-quality products.

Apart from these benefits, technology serves food companies by letting them monitor sales in real time, respond to market dynamics with greater conviction, and gain a competitive advantage over others in the market.

How Cutting-edge Tech is Changing the Food Industry

Recent food tech innovations include the use of robots and drones, restaurant digitization, alternative proteins, 3D food printing, personalized nutrition, and more. It's impossible to touch upon every innovation in this article, but here's a brief look at some of the key advances.

Robots can be made a part of the food value chain from start to finish, and can single-handedly solve the problem of labor shortage in the food sector. AI companies are already designing robots that aid in farming, cooking, and customer service in restaurants, allowing more to be done in less time.

3D food printing is another revolutionary piece of food technology that can produce (or 'print') a range of foods, from soft meals for elderly people who find it difficult to chew, to tasty rations for astronauts. Robotics and 3D printing often come together in food assembly lines, allowing food manufacturers to offer personalized nutrition at scale.

The adoption of alternative proteins is also a growing food tech trend with consumers becoming more and more invested in their own health and that of the planet. Plant-based meat and lab-grown food are therefore gaining traction. These protein sources help reduce the cost of production and exert less strain on natural resources compared to animal protein.

The progress in biotechnology and precision-farming, moreover, helps in reducing the dependence on agrochemicals, improving soil quality, and making food more nutritious by offering guidance on crop rotation, water management, nutrition management, optimum planting, timely harvesting, crop choices, and pest attacks.

In addition, smart plastic-free packaging and forward osmosis technologies allow food businesses to keep products fresh longer.

Besides these, blockchain technology and real-time monitoring with the help of Internet of Things (IoT) devices help food businesses and consumers alike by offering end-to-end traceability, which ensures transparency and Food Safety.

Tech is also used by restaurants to access a range of data. For example, a restaurant point of sale (POS) system can reveal the number of times an extra ingredient was ordered, what time of day sales surge, variance in inventory usage, and so on. Such Business Intelligence data can be interpreted to produce actionable insights and streamline restaurant operations in a way that was hardly possible earlier.

Technology also helps food businesses handle food waste better, allowing edible products to be 3D-printed from food waste, for instance.

Investments Pouring Into Food Tech Innovation

Food businesses have begun investing in food technology, Restaurant Technology, agricultural technology, and automation in a big way.

Funding in food technology increased from $60 million in 2008 to over $1 billion in 2015, according to TechCrunch, surging further to $16.9 billion in 2018. According to a Forbes report, spending on smart agriculture at the global level, including outlay on machine learning and Ai Driven agriculture, is expected to grow to $15.3 billion by 2025.

According to market research and consulting firm Facts and Factors, the value of the worldwide market for AI in agriculture is slated to reach $4 billion by 2026, from around $1 billion in 2020, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.2%.

Let's now look at five game-changers leading the way in food innovation.

Companies Leading the Way in Food Tech: No. 1 Cultured Decadence

Cultured Decadence is a food tech company based in Wisconsin that aims to provide a solution to unsustainable seafood demand and minimize the environmental strain on wild fisheries. It seeks to do this by relying on cellular agriculture and is the first food tech organization in North America producing cell-based shellfish and lobster.

Although the production of beef and lamb is known to put the greatest pressure on the environment, conventional lobster production is not far in terms of pollution. Vessels powered by fossil fuels used in lobster-trapping burn about 10,000 liters of polluting fuel per catch. Plus, there are issues of plastic pollution, animal welfare, and human rights that the commercial fishing sector suffers from.

The company also aims to create seafood from the cells of a variety of shellfish, such as shrimps, crabs, and scallops. Cultured Decadence's idea is to create meat that cannot be distinguished from wild caught seafood.

In 2021, Cultured Decadence received $1.6 million in an oversubscribed round of pre-seed funding. It also bagged funding under the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which represented the first ever state-backed grant given to a cellular agriculture organization.

No. 2: BMTA&C

This Moroccan deep tech company aims to reduce post-harvest losses and food waste in Africa through the use of solar-powered refrigeration. Deep tech is technology based on tangible innovations in engineering and advances in science, and provides a powerful catalyst for change.

Food loss and wastage is one of the biggest problems facing not only Africa, but the world as a whole. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates global food loss to be worth over $1 trillion, comprising one-third of the entire food production. In Africa alone, post-harvest food losses amount to 37% of the food production, valued at around $48 billion -- unacceptable in a continent of 250 million people suffering from hunger.

Refrigeration solutions suited to the African context -- where over half the population has no electricity -- are sorely lacking. This is one of the main factors contributing to massive food loss in the continent. Moreover, as much as 1.4 billion hectares of land is used to produce food that is ultimately wasted every year.

It is here that BMTA&C's solutions come in handy. Its off-grid technology for refrigeration is highly efficient, is able to safely store all kinds of perishable items, and is fueled by renewable energy. BMTA&C offers access to efficient, clean, and affordable solutions that help promote food security, secure farmer income, and fight climate change.

No. 3: InfinityBox

This Indian startup's objective is to address packaging waste generated by food businesses. InfinityBox provides reusable containers that do away with single-use plastic and helps both, businesses and customers save money.

This is how it works- customers place their food orders on a delivery app and opt for reusable 'InfintyBoxes', which are environment-friendly containers. After they have finished dining, they may return the containers to the delivery agent or drop them into a designated smart bin. The containers are then collected by the company and put through rigorous hygiene and quality control checks and returned to the restaurants for reuse.

InfinityBox's food waste solution has benefits for all stakeholders, including restaurants, food aggregators, consumers, and the environment.

So, while it allows food businesses to offer high quality packaging, food aggregators can earn eco-friendly tags and carbon credits at the same time. Consumers, moreover, get better quality meal boxes and an opportunity to contribute to the zero-waste initiative that serves the planet admirably.

According to the company website, an InfinityBox container put to use 40 times can cut greenhouse gases ten-fold than by producing 40 compostable containers. It reduces the waste going into landfills and uses up to four times less water and energy.

No. 4: Zuhura Solutions

This social enterprise aims to spur innovation and provide ingenious solutions in aid of socio-economic transformation in order to support people at the lowest rung of the social pyramid.

Based in Kenya, Zuhura Solutions derives its inspiration from the Swahili term 'Zuhura' that refers to Venus, the brightest planet in the solar system.

Zuhura seeks to create a profound social impact by providing underserved, grassroots populations working in micro, small, and medium enterprises with new and sustainable opportunities to do business.

Zuhura's flagship 'Halisi Trolley' is a scalable renewable energy food cart that allows self-employed street food vendors to safely heat food and distribute it. The cart is fully powered by solar energy and comes with an interface for monitoring the temperature and exact location of the trolley.

No. 5: CurubaTech

Based in Colombia, CurubaTech seeks to bridge the gap in technology used on the farms of this South American country and improve the transparency of the supply chain.

CurubaTech's products include the 'SEED' tracking system that connects farmers located in the most remote areas of the country; digitalizes the agrifood supply chain in its entirety; and allows farmers to autonomously track crop growth and boost crop yields.

The 'SPROUT' administrative system of the company brings the community together to address problems with high-scale food production. Its 'BUD' marketplace allows truckers to discover cargo, farmers to find veterinarians, customers to locate products, researchers to uncover data, and investors to provide funding for products.

The startup collects and manages data, connects stakeholders from seed to supermarket, improves productivity, and promotes traceability and fair trade.