A much-noticed United Nations scenario states that the world population will grow to almost 10 billion people by 2050. Accordingly, per capita consumption of food will increase by more than a quarter, ceteris paribus. If we look at the rising middle-class trend, it can be assumed that the increase will be even stronger. One disadvantage of this enormous population growth is that there will be less space available for food production.

These future scenarios mean that we have a responsibility to address this issue and rethink food production and consumption. Technology and innovation will be used to address these significant food challenges. To contribute to this, we have created the new “HSG FoodTech Lab” at the Chair of Entrepreneurship. The new lab, headed by Eduard Müller and Maria Luisa Fuchs, aims to highlight the challenges mentioned above by identifying future key industry trends, which help to solve these challenges and to find ways to transform FoodTech ideas and startups into sustainable viable business models.

The Vison of our FoodTech Lab is to build a leading institution in evidence-based entrepreneurship research and best practice application in the startup and venturing sector with the focus on the FoodTech sector, by considering topics of the entire food value chain that are in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and targets for the 2030 agenda.

FoodTech is disrupting the food market. Together with key stakeholders, our new FoodTech Lab strives to transform FoodTech trends into viable human-centric food ventures.

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Grichnik

Investment in FoodTech startups is relevant, as technology plays a key role in the functioning of the food sector. This sector is one of the largest industries, employing well over 40% of the world’s population and generating $7.8 billion in revenue annually. Though, it is not surprising that investment in FoodTech startups is continuously increasing. Between 2016 and 2018, the increase in investment was even 43% higher than in previous years.

To make the right investments, identifying the essential FoodTech trends is crucial. More than 50% of the total investment in FoodTech startups was invested in the production and distribution of goods (e.g., restaurants, eGroceries). A good quarter was invested in startups with the theme of production and the rest in startups that digitize and improve processes along the value chain.

To cope with the rapid development of the FoodTech sector and to manage the available resources, the FoodTech Lab groups the industry into five main categories based on five of the 17 United Nation’s sustainable goals: Sustainability, FoodTech ingredients and innovations, Health and nutrition, Process and consumer.

The FoodTech Lab applies three working methods with different results but a common goal of transforming food trends into viable human-centric food business models. To build the FoodTech Ecosystem, the active participation of the leading players in the Swiss food industry is required. To this end, the FoodTech Lab has already held a first “round table” at C-level with companies, startups, and investors and organized various events covering the topic of e.g. “The future of Food” together with industry experts.

For more information about the HSG FoodTech Lab, visit our Webpage.