Forward Fooding is an innovative platform that aims to support innovation in the food industry. The deadline to join their latest project – FoodTech500 – is October 31st, so it is the right time to speak with Max Leveau, the COO and, to find out how they are working to create the next generation of food companies.
Forward Fooding has been working for over three years now and you present yourselves as “the world’s first collaborative platform for the food and beverage industry”. What exactly do you do?
Max Leveau: Forward Fooding is the world’s first collaborative platform and our mission is to foster food innovation through FoodTech data intelligence and Corporate Startup collaboration.
The role we play is sharing our knowledge and data on the FoodTech landscape, identifying key trends in the FoodTech industry and connecting the key foodtech players with corporate and investor clients.
Our services include The FoodTech Data Navigator which is our exclusive FoodTech data subscription service, the Global FoodTech Map tool and facilitating corporate-startup collaboration through bespoke innovation programs and FoodTech consultancy.
The FoodTech sector is very wide and is bringing new ideas to the market each day by creative entrepreneurs. In your activities, you also put in contact these young minds with established companies. What do you believe are the benefits for these companies to collaborate with the entrepreneurs? And for the start-ups?
M.L.: We believe that by combining food and tech we can create a better, more sustainable future of food, and we believe that startups are at the cutting edge of doing this.
We help established food and drink businesses to innovate in areas where they haven’t yet been able to develop expertise and we do this by identifying the right startups for these businesses to work with, connecting corporates with the right startup partners.
You have now an overall vision of the FoodTech ecosystem worldwide. Would you say the European FoodTech ecosystem is competitive?
M.L.: Absolutely, the European FoodTech scene has witnessed an explosion of activity in the last few years. Europe is still behind the US in terms of size, and level of investment, but chasing them down quickly.
For example, the UK FoodTech scene is in a state of rapid growth, with London cementing itself as one of the FoodTech powerhouses in the European market. The current industry sits at over 600 food and beverage start-ups in the UK, with 430 of them being London-based; of these, almost half (274) define themselves as “foodtech” start-ups. Amongst these are brands that have become household names in the past few years, including Deliveroo, Hello Fresh and Huel.
Whilst the UK ecosystem continues to remain at the forefront of the European FoodTech infrastructure when comparing the UK to the US, there is a significant difference in the maturity of the two countries. However, should the UK and Europe continue at this current trajectory, major power play changes are set to take place in the not-so-distant future. While Silicon Valley may still remain the current epicenter for FoodTech innovation — with its sizeable funding power to back it up — US investors should now keep an eye on what is happening across the Atlantic.
You supported the diffusion of the NEXT FOOD GENERATION initiative that gives early-stage start-ups the opportunity to exhibit at the biggest trade fairs for the agri-food sector. This year 20 innovative concepts presented at Anuga, what are your thoughts on what this represents for the start-ups?
M.L.: This is a great opportunity for startups to showcase their products, business, services and the founders behind these new and exciting ideas. As I said earlier, we believe that startups genuinely hold the key to a better and more sustainable future of food, and it is only by showcasing the innovation out there currently that consumer demand will start to shift, and big corporates will see consumer needs and tastes change, and follow suit.
This is why we have recently launched The FoodTech 500, our global search for the top innovators and disruptors in FoodTech. Inspired by the Fortune 500, and our mission to use technology and data to map and support the growing FoodTech ecosystem, we see this competition as a hunt for the next FoodTech Unicorns.
The FoodTech 500 provides an exciting new opportunity for the top movers and shakers in AgriFoodTech to showcase their work and elevate the profile of the entire FoodTech industry.
We’re excited to uncover the top FoodTech start-ups and scale-ups globally, those who are transforming food as we know it and bring them the recognition that their pioneering work deserves.
The FoodTech 500 competition is open until November 15th 2019 and you can apply here
In the cover picture: One of Forward Fooding events. Photo Credit: Forward Fooding
EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com.