Future Insights: FoodTech 2021 report

Leo Medley, General Manager, Huckletree White City

We're excited to be working with Beauhurst to produce a series of industry reports examining UK companies that will shape the future of how we consume retail, media and food. In the first of three reports, we focus on how we eat, what we eat and the UK FoodTech companies transforming the industry.

After a decade of rising social awareness, health initiatives and environmental activism, contemporary consumers want their food healthy, ethical and sustainably sourced. From the rise of meat alternatives and groceries-on-demand to AI-powered AgriTech, the FoodTech sector's future is increasingly guided by consumer attitudes towards conscious consumption, climate, and convenience.

The UK's high-growth ecosystem has seen 863 innovative FoodTech companies launched since 2011, and 650 are still active fast-growing businesses. Between 2011 and 2020, these businesses raised a significant £2.6b in equity investment. The annual number of equity investments into UK FoodTech has been steadily climbing, with 2019 seeing an enormous £687m worth of fundraising. Deliveroo secured the most equity at £1.1b. The following five dominating fundraisers were Karma Kitchen, Gousto, Hungry Panda, Just Eat, and Rekki, who secured a combined total of £602m.

Not only are buyers more deliberate with their food purchases, but they're willing to pay more for the luxury of an on-demand lifestyle. This high-growth ecosystem has led to a surge in FoodTech startups, fuelled by record levels of equity investment, grants awarded and successful crowdfunding campaigns. This report equally highlights veganism and how a marginalised group has grown to over half a million people in the United Kingdom. The plant-based revolution has spawned over a hundred FoodTech companies in the UK since 2011, with London becoming a key European hub for vegan startups.

With the world's population predicted to hit nearly 10 billion by 2050, FoodTech innovation is becoming a moral necessity. Significant developments in agriculture and the global supply chain are needed to fight world hunger. We have also chosen to highlight key AgriTech companies using data to increase yields, encourage sustainability and fight the effects of climate change.

The rolling lockdowns of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic supercharged the food delivery industry. Nimbler tech-powered startups are disrupting supermarkets and traditional retail. We take a look at some of the rising stars opening fulfilment hubs in London's fiercely competitive grocery and meal-kit delivery market.

We spotlight four high-growth FoodTech companies in this report: Cervest, a weather analytics B Corp founded in 2015 with £25.7m funding raised; Gousto, unicorn company and meal kit subscription service founded in 2012 with £161m raised; Karma Kitchen, a commercial kitchen and rental platform founded in 2017 with £252m raised; Hummingbird Technologies, imagery-based agricultural analytics company founded in 2015 with £14m raised.

Huckletree is built on the motto that "No Mind is an Island." We believe you can't change the world alone, which is why we're on a mission to help the most innovative companies, from startup right the way through to MNE, take leaps and do braver work together. We're more committed than ever to creating the space and environment for teams to work, grow their ventures, collaborate and pioneer whatever comes next.

Our Futures Hub in Huckletree White City is home to some of the UK's leading FoodTech companies. The campus, located within the iconic White City Place development, is part of a bold new chapter in the rich creative history of a neighbourhood that sits at the centre of West London – an area already brimming with high-growth FoodTech companies. It's a dedicated haven for startups and global brands paving our future way of life – how we sleep, think, move, and, of course, eat.

You can download the report here. We hope you find this report to be both engaging and informative.