How start-ups are changing what we eat

The impact of technology is being felt in every sector but none more so than on food, as businesses are introducing innovative processes, from expanding the reach of farm-fresh food to finding uses for leftover supermarket supplies.

One business, City Pantry, which started in 2013, is delivering restaurant food to local offices, which is in turn creating a new distribution stream for restaurants and giving office workers better food to eat.

The business now serves more than 20,000 meals every week to clients in London, such as Amazon and Spotify, and has recently raised £4 million in funding.

Meanwhile, Farmdrop, which began in 2012, transports farm-fresh food to the door from 100 per cent electrical delivery vans. This cuts out the supermarket and ensures that the food its customers receive is fresh, ethically sourced and cost effective. It recently raised £10 million in funding to expand its reach.

As a spokesman for the business commented, Farmdrop could not transport food in the way it does without mobile technology, which has the added advantage of removing unnecessary costs from the supply chain, allowing the business to pay a fairer price to producers.

Farmdrop sells over 2,000 products direct from 200 independent farmers to 30,000 customers in the UK. Interestingly, the average Farmdrop farmer is 20 years younger than the national average, showing that younger generations want to farm more sustainably.

However, delivering food is not the only way that start-ups are changing the industry; ending food waste is also high on the agenda and FoodCloud does just that by connecting supermarkets with surplus food to charities that need it.

It works by the supermarket posting a description of the excess food on the FoodCloud app. The charities linked to the supermarket see the post and can then go and pick it up.

A similar app but on a personal, rather than commercial level, is Olio, which only started in 2016. This food-sharing app allows consumers to upload pictures of food they know they will not be able to eat before its sell-by date and alerts local people who may like to come and collect it. Not only does it reduce waste but it also brings communities together.

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