Almost exactly a year ago, we published our first Food Tech 25 list to highlight the companies we thought were making the biggest impact on the overall meal journey.
That list blew up and became popular in ways we hadn’t expected and was such a hit that we knew immediately it would become an annual tradition. So over the past year we’ve been watching to see which startups and established companies are doing the most interesting and innovative work and helping transform the entire food stack in the process.
With that in mind, we are proud to announce The Spoon’s 2019 Food Tech 25. These twenty-five companies are creating the future of food right now.
By no means was this an easy list to make. If you’re an avid reader of The Spoon (thank you!), you know that there has been a ton of news and developments in the space over the last year and this list could be twice as long. But over the past couple of months, myself, Chris Albrecht, Catherine Lamb and Jenn Marston have suggested, debated and edited the selections to make the Food Tech 25 what it is today.
Congratulations to everyone on this list! They’ve worked hard and earned it.
As a reminder, the Food Tech 25 is not ranked, and companies listed are done so in no particular order. We also know your top 25 food tech companies may differ from ours. That’s great! If you have thoughts on this list (and we’re sure you do), feel free to drop us line to tell us who you think should be on (or off) it.
Enough preamble. Here’s the Spoon’s Food Tech 25.
Note: If you prefer to see all companies on one single page, you can click over to the full list.
It would be tough to do a list about foodtech and not mention Amazon, as whatever the Bezos Behemoth does invariably influences others. And the company is putting its hands in a growing number of areas of the food sector. Besides entertaining the possibility of its own grocery store chain (which would be Amazon branded, not Whole Foods), Amazon placed its own meal kits into high-end retail stores, released its own delivery robot, and received a patent for a different robot that lives in your home and will fetch your groceries and other deliveries for you. But beyond the individual aspects of Amazon’s business, the company is setting the pace of innovation and forcing rivals in retail, logistics, and delivery to respond.
Apeel Sciences’ approach to fighting food waste tackles the pre-sale side of the food supply chain. Rather focus on sustainable packaging the food comes in, Apeel, as its name suggests, is making the food itself more sustainable. The company’s eponymous product is a plant-based powder that, when mixed with water, creates a tasteless, edible coating for the produce that extends the shelf life of things like lemons and avocados. Taking a preventative approach to food waste will be crucial for fighting it effectively in the future, and Apeel sets an example — and a quality bar — many will soon follow.
When choosing which plant-based meat company to feature in the Food Tech 25, it was almost a toss-up between Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. However, Impossible eked out into the lead for two reasons: its super-speedy pace of expansion and its new recipe, which tastes a heckuva lot like ground beef. The former means its “bleeding” patties will soon be in over 12,000 restaurants, including all Burger Kings nationwide, while the latter gives the company a real shot at attracting enough flexitarians to disrupt the meat industry, especially as it moves into grocery stores this year. Oh yeah, it also just raised another $300 million in funding. Next up: IPO?
MCCORMICK & Co.
McCormick is one of the oldest brands on the list, the company being well over a century old. Age hasn’t slowed it down, however, in terms of both improving existing flavors for food and creating new ones. Earlier this year, the company announced it had partnered with IBM Research AI to use data to predict new flavor combinations and improve upon old ones. The company’s new ONE platform does this by drawing on both new consumer preferences and decades’ worth of McCormick recipes, proving that, at least where flavor optimization is concerned, sometimes you have to look forwards and backwards at the same time to innovate.
Nowadays you can’t turn a corner without running into a sign advertising for CBD edibles, and between CBD jelly beans, the usual assortment of baked goods, and Willie Nelson’s coffee, it can actually be hard for any one company to stand out. TraceTrust sidesteps that problem because it doesn’t actually create CBD products. Rather, it offers a certification program for cannabis goods that puts them through a rigorous set of protocols to ensure they’re not only safe to use but also of consistent quality and come with clear instructions for consumers on how to best use them. As the excitement over CBD keeps growing, we need companies like this out there who can do the kind of background check every consumer needs for new sectors like CBD.
Want to meet the innovators from the FoodTech 25? Make sure to connect with them at North America’s leading foodtech summit, SKS 2019, on Oct 7-8th in Seattle.