This article was published on August 25, 2017

How emerging startups are harnessing the future of food

How emerging startups are harnessing the future of food
AJ Agrawal
Story by

AJ Agrawal

AJ Agrawal is the Founder of Verma Media, a leading growth agency in San Francisco that focuses on partnering with disruptive technologies. AJ Agrawal is the Founder of Verma Media, a leading growth agency in San Francisco that focuses on partnering with disruptive technologies. In addition to being a geeky marketer, AJ is a runner and surfer. While attending the University of San Diego, he ran division 1 cross country and track and field.

Food and meal time has always been a product of our culture. In the post-war suburbanization era,  families gathered around the dinner table every night to share a home-cooked meal. Elaborate meals were a steadfast facet of daily life. However, as more women left the family home to pursue careers outside the kitchen, the tradition of meal time was forced to undergo a shift. Thanks to the advent of fast-food chains and instant, microwavable meals, dinner time became less focused on the act of sharing a meal and more on the end-game of eating efficiently.

This past decade has also ushered in a time of major transformation for the food industry. Thanks to a growing obesity epidemic and eye-opening documentaries and exposees revealing the dangers of processed-foods consumption habits, consumers today are trying to find ways to incorporate health and efficiency in one fell swoop. Today, we’re trying to find a way to blend elements of past generations and attitudes toward food: we want to find ways to consume more wholesome foods without necessarily sacrificing efficiency and expediency.

Luckily, a new crop of entrepreneurs are stepping to the forefront to develop solutions that offer consumers more options, transparency, and of course, more access to meals that support both their lifestyles and health needs.

Over the past decade, startups like Plated and BlueApron have amassed legions of loyal customers who rely on the boxed meal kit services as alternatives to eating take-out meals every night. The meal kit revolution, spearheaded by these companies, has given consumers the opportunity to get back to their kitchens without having to invest unrealistic amounts of time to grocery shopping and meal prep. These services have sufficiently provided answers to consumers two-pronged food demands. Now, newer startups are stepping up to find ways to enhance and expand this approach.

While some entrepreneurs and VC firms, including SOSV, are looking beyond meal kits and into the realm of artificial food to pioneer a new culinary age. Many established organizations and upstarts, alike, are remaining focused on enhancing the delivery model. Amazon, even recently announced its plans to expand its food footprint beyond grocery delivery into ready-to-eat meals.

In London, entrepreneur Andreas Jaegle, too, is tackling the ever-growing meal delivery vertical with his company, Everdine. Everdine differentiates itself from other delivery-based companies by providing flash-freezing meals to consumers. By immediately freezing ready-to-eat recipes, Everdine is able to lock in each meal’s nutrients, which means that the company’s customers are able to enjoy innovative and nutritionally-sound meals without wasting time on preparation.  In addition to offering fast, easy, and healthy solutions, Jaegle and co. have also found that delivering frozen recipes cuts down on food waste because customers can heat portions of their deliveries as needed.

The food world is on the brink of unchartered territory, and startups like Everdine have the opportunity to make a lasting impact. We, as a culture, need to find ways to make eating more nutritious and sustainable for everybody, not just individuals who can afford to spend the time and money on the highest quality ingredients possible. How we eat dictates our quality of life, and Everdine is committed to enhancing its customers’ quality of life, one meal at a time. Additionally, Everdine is also committed to educating customers about food’s real impact on long-term health.The company’s blog publishes content that explores what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. However, unlike other food blogs, their goal is not to tell people exactly how to eat or live, but simply, to share real stories from real people. Companies like Everdine are taking on the responsibility of leading a healthy eating revolution through education.

Any entrepreneur entering the food startup space knows that competition is stiff. Unless you have pockets as deep as Amazon’s, the key to success, quite often, is scaling slowly. This step-by-step strategy is exactly the approach Everdine is taking to solidify its footing in the market. The company is committed to obtaining customer feedback and insights on a regular basis, and they are willing to put their money where their mouth is by applying customer comments into each new iteration of the brand, which means constant testing and analysis. This data and customer-driven approach is proving successful, because in just one year, Everdine has already delivered 100,000 meals in the UK.

Mealtime has undergone a major transformation over the last decade.Today, consumers are more aware than ever that how they eat has a significant impact on their quality of life. Consumers have more access to nutritional information and, subsequently, are growing increasingly concerned with understanding where their food comes from, how it is produced, and, also, how it fits into their busy lifestyles. Any company entering this space must do so with the understanding that it is not a static industry; what works for one food startup today may seem outdated to consumers tomorrow who are in incessant pursuit of meal solutions that feed appetites as much as they feed their health needs and lifestyle demands. Luckily for consumers across the globe, emerging entrepreneurs in this space re developing products and solutions that serve, or at least attempt to serve, every facet of of our culinary demands.

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