Food. We need it to survive, right? The way we provide nutrients to our bodies has changed a lot over the centuries, but the Digital Age brought in revolutionary changes which took place at an unprecedented speed. The startups showcased in this blogpost can help reduce the hassle associated with preparing food in many ways: they bring piping hot food straight to our door, deliver pre-portioned ingredients so that we can cook ourselves, or even do away with chewing altogether and supply powdered food. Want to know how the way we eat will change soon? Read about the 10 startups that are ushering in a food revolution!
Co-founder and CEO: Niklas Östberg (@niklasoestberg)
Your stomach is rumbling, and you have neither the time nor the energy to cook? We've all been there many a time. In the olden days, you'd just pick up a phone and call the nearest takeaway. Delivery Hero makes the process of getting food way easier and more varied by letting you order food from many places in your area with just a few taps on your smartphone. Founded in 2011, Delivery Hero is now the largest food network in the world, with more than 150,000 restaurant partners in more than 40 markets. In June 2017, Delivery Hero was floated on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, raising almost €1bn from the offering. Impressive!
Let's say having food delivered is not your cup of tea (what a terrible pun!), and you prefer to eat out. Like Delivery Hero, Quandoo makes the process easier, but in Quandoo's case the process is booking a table at a restaurant. It allows its users to select and reserve a table at a number of restaurants in their cities (or anywhere else). The concept took off, and Quandoo has already seated almost 50,000,000 diners in 12 countries since they were founded in 2012.
Co-founder and CEO: Dominik Richter (@dominik_richter)
Co-founder and COO: Thomas Griesel
Nothing bonds a family better than cooking dinner together. That said, looking for new recipes, thinking about the weekly menu and, finally, getting the ingredients can be too much of a hassle for many people with busy professional lives. HelloFresh will take away all the hassle from cooking and do the meal planning and shopping for their users. Each week, HelloFresh sends their customers boxes with recipes and pre-packaged ingredients that will make between 2 and 4 dinners. The positive reviews on TrustPilot and the growing number of customers (a 52-percent increase from 2016 to 2017) suggest that people love the convenience of HelloFresh's boxes.
Marley Spoon is based on an idea very similar to HelloFresh: deliver all the ingredients and recipes straight to customers' doorsteps and let them cook themselves. The difference between the two is that Marley Spoon took the experience up a notch and offers meals based on recipes developed by Martha Stewart, the favourite celebrity chef of the US. In Marley Spoon the customer can create their own menu for the week (from among a selection of Martha's recipes), and the company will deliver best-quality ingredients sourced from small sustainable farms. A celebrity cook and best-quality ingredients – a recipe for success?
Hate shopping for food, the long lines, the crowds, and the terrible quality of produce in your local supermarket? instacart aims to change the everyday shopping experience by delivering groceries straight to your door. What sets this service apart from the online outlets of popular supermarkets is that instacart will procure the groceries at small local shops where dedicated personal shoppers will carefully select all the products that you ordered. This way instacart helps the local community and ensures high quality of the delivered products.
Providing your body with nutrition (i.e. eating or drinking) is also an inherently social experience. VizEat makes it easy to enjoy great food, meet new people, and explore new cities – all in a single app. The platform connects hosts and local guides who would like to provide a unique dining experience: a cooking class, a dinner party, or a restaurant crawl. Hosts charge small fees for their knowledge and their time. VizEat is already present in more than 130 countries and has recently acquired EatWith, their main social dining competitor in North America, which gives them a great outlook for future expansion.
Co-founder and COO: Saasha Celestial-One (@saashaN8)
Regardless of the way you cook, order, and buy your food, you're bound to end up with some leftovers or even whole bags or boxes of food that you won't be able to consume before it expires. Food waste is a pressing issue in the 21st-century world – over 1/3 of all food produced globally goes to waste. Olio aims to reduce the amount of food that ends up in waste dumps by making it super easy to share unwanted food items with others. A foodtech company with a mission.
Each of the food companies we wrote about above caters to after-hours food needs, but what if you'd like to enjoy wholesome fresh food at the office too? Byte provides smart fridges for offices that enable employees to buy snacks, drinks, and refrigerated meals in a few taps on the fridge's screen. Byte takes care of setup and delivery and, later, learns the buying patterns of employees to provide the optimal snack shopping experience. The company also has a socially responsible side – the unsold food is donated to those in need. We definitely envy the SF Bay Area, where Byte is currently based and hope to see it expand beyond the US quickly.
The overarching objective of each of the above startups was to change how food is delivered, prepared, and consumed. What if someone were to change food itself? Beyond Meat is aiming to do just that with their meatless burgers. The company tries to set itself apart from its main competitors on the meat substitute market by making their products look and taste as close to beef as possible. Foodies love it, and even Leonardo DiCaprio chipped in a few bucks to invest in the company. Still limiting the availability of their product only to the US, the company plants to expand overseas soon.
If the social experience of dining doesn't appeal to you, you don't really care much about the taste, and all you’re really after is optimised nutrition, Soylent might be the way to go for you. Soylent started in 2013 as a soluble plant-based powdered food replacement, but the company now also offers liquid food in (recyclable) bottles, ready to go in an instant. Soylent claims that their product provides all the nutrients necessary for the human body to thrive. Soylent's target group are people who are too busy to prepare wholesome meals but don’t want to give up on healthy nutrition by, for instance, ordering junk food takeaway. Is the future of food liquid (or powdered)?
Know about any other company that can revolutionise the world of food? Go ahead and drop us a message, and we’ll be more than happy to include it in the list!