The Time Is Ripe for Food Waste Solutions
The Signal: The food-tech sector raised $39B in VC in 2021, more than double what was raised the previous year. Among the firms attracting funding are several startups tackling food waste, from an online store peddling misshapen veggies to an AI digital labeling system that drops the price of produce as it ages. Other VC winners include:
- Apeel ($640m) — a plant-based protective “peel” that keeps produce fresh for longer
- Shelf Engine ($58m) — uses AI to predict demand for perishable groceries
- Too Good to Go ($45m) — an app that lets users buy unsold food from cafes and shops at a discount
The road to the trash is paved with good intentions but it’s easy to forget about a veg drawer full of healthy choices when there are delivery apps catering to our every whim.
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The signal: As more people wave goodbye to dairy, alternative milk is slowly taking over; it has already cornered 13% of the market. With the exception of soy milk, all of the alt-milks have been on the up, with some of the newer entrants including hemp milk and pea milk. Other alt-products are getting attention, including cashew cheese, with 18100 searches per month.
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The signal: Since killing the headphone jack, Apple has graced the world with AirPods, which did an estimated 60m units in 2019. That means AirPods alone are bringing in approx ~$10b in revenue, more than Twitter, Shopify, or Spotify, to name a few popular tech giants. Opportunity lies in Apple opening up SiriOS or the wave of iPhone accessories (including cases, cleaning kits, hooks, and keychains) which have shown “hockey stick” growth alongside their hardware predecessor.
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