What happened at Future Food-Tech London?

Future Food-Tech 2019 welcomed over 400 delegates from 38 countries to discuss the latest trends, innovations and opportunities in food-tech. Our unique audience of 71% C-level delegates and over 100 start-ups  all took part in deep-dive discussion, debate and over 1,200 meetings. Collaboration was very much at the heart of the summit.

In our main auditorium, 84 speakers took to the stage to share their ground-breaking ideas to map out the future and challenge the status quo, and a plethora of companies showcased their solutions and services in our exhibition space. Overall, it was the most impactful and interactive London event yet – echoing the pace at which this sector has been growing over the last year.

Here are just some of the global players and industry leaders who joined us at Future Food-Tech London, October 17-18, 2019.

In the Media

Featured articles with interviews from speakers at the summit included articles in Bloomberg, Financial Times, A.T. Kearney, Food Ingredients First and Just Food:

Key Takeaways

The summit launched with an inspiring and insightful opening keynote: Innovating and Collaborating to Transform Our Food System from Jean-Christophe FlatinPresident, Innovation, Science, Technology & Mars EdgeMARS.

He set the scene for two days of collaboration, partnerships and discussions at the summit.

As said in the closing panel there was a lot of talk, talk, talk at the event. From changing consumption habits and alternative proteins to personalised nutrition and value-driven innovation, our aim with these meetings is then for the ecosystem to act, act, act on what was discussed.

So, as a reminder for our attendees and a snapshot for those who we unable to make it, we have invited some of our session chairs to summarise the key learnings across the two days. We hope to see you very soon at another Future Food-Tech event.

Transforming Health Outcomes through Ingredient Innovation

“Direct correlations between health outcomes and ingredient innovations are difficult to make since the landscape is shifting. It seems that consumers, who ultimately dictate ingredient innovations, are focussed less on direct scientific correlations and more on perception. Consumers want products that are natural and have a clean label. And, of great importance, they want to buy from ethical companies that operate sustainably. Consumers, and therefore CPG companies, and therefore ingredient manufacturers are interested in new scientific innovations, even those derived from biotechnology if they can see the benefits. In summary, the landscape is rapidly changing but consumers don’t want to sacrifice their core desires for more natural products.” Nick Rosa

Session Chair: 
Nick RosaFounder & Managing DirectorCULTIVIAN SANDBOX VENTURES
Hanne SøndergaardCMOARLA FOODS
Jochen HeiningerVice President Marketing & Product MgmtADM
Erica ShewardVP Business DevelopmentLEATHERHEAD FOOD RESEARCH
Ellen de BrabanderSVP R&D, PEPSICO

Five Seasons Ventures launched The State of European Food Tech at the summit and presented a ‘Deep Dive: The State of European Food-Tech in 2019‘ at Future Food-Tech.

The report covers:

Capital invested in food-tech in Europe since 2013

Corporates’ investment in food-tech and consolidation in the food delivery sector

Recent exits and IPOs, most active investors in Europe and their portfolios

Deep-dives: Direct-to-consumer and alternative proteins

Exclusive interviews with Foodspring, Ynsect, Butternut Box and Cortilia.


Niccolo ManzoniFounding PartnerFIVE SEASONS VENTURES

How Are Consumption Habits Changing Our Food System?

“Our lives are getting more urban day by day and this will continue. This is true whether we look at developed or developing countries. As such the crash for time and the lack of culinary skills will see an ever increasing shift towards snacking and consumption of prepared foods. Meanwhile, the retailers are not standing still, and in this environment they are gauging how these shifts are happening “live” by opening “observation outlets” dedicated to start-ups that go beyond the traditional retail spaces typically granted to the larger FMCGs. As a consequence the bulk of the established FMCG sector is being forced to update and shift its offering. Experimentation continues, and only time will tell the winners.” Victoria Spadaro-Grant

Session Chair:
Victoria Spadaro-Grant, CTO, BARILLA and CEO & President, BLU1877
Milena LazarevskaHead of Future Brands & InvestingSAINSBURY’S, UK
Gil Horsky
Director of Innovation SnackFuturesMONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL
Jonathan WebsterVP Global Growth StrategyTHE KELLOGG COMPANY

Personalised Nutrition: In Science and Adoption, Have We Reached a Tipping Point?

“Personalised nutrition comes in different levels of cost (both in money and invasiveness). For serious health issues, you need genetics, blood biomarkers, microbiome, to be effective. But for more general healthy eating advice, wearables information such as resting heart rate or sleep patterns, combined with questionnaires, already allows for valuable advice.

Personalised nutrition allows ingredient companies to get closer to the consumer, and can use the data to better tailor the product portfolio. The question here is how much of that consumer data a company can actually use, under the European GDBR privacy regulations. So openness is important.

For the average consumer looking to eat healthier, personalised nutrition apps can 1) help to know what healthier options are for you, and 2) give crucially needed gratification within days or weeks, rather than years, by showing key biomarkers are moving in the right direction.

With so much focus in the market place on indulgent foods, it is difficult for average consumers to know what healthier options for them are. Personalised nutrition gives food companies the means to share in that responsibility to help consumers make healthier choices. Personalised nutrition does need to be based on solid scientific evidence, and needs to communicate this to the user, for them have trust in the recommendations and to remove doubts that it is merely a marketing ploy.” Arnold Bos

Session Chair:
Arnold BosSenior Consultant, LUX RESEARCH

Rob BeudekerSenior Investment DirectorDSM VENTURING
Gil Blander, Founder & CSO, INSIDETRACKER
Dmitry AlexeevHead of Microbiome Research, ATLAS BIOMED
Juha VillanenBusiness Development Manager EMEA, GARMIN HEALTH

Our Gut Feeling: The Link Between Microbiome and the Brain

“A highlight from the panel discussion was the potential of Microbiome science to bring innovative, potentially disruptive, therapies to mental health patients.

Synergies, rather than competition, between Pharma/biotech and nutrition solutions will be the best way forward. We also emphasised the power of rigorous, evidence-based claims, for both industries, to ensure important returns for companies and investors.” Stefan Catsicas

Session Chair:
Stefan Catsicas, Former CTO, NESTLE, & Founding Partner, SKYVIEWS LIFE SCIENCE

Philip StrandwitzCo-Founder & CEO, HOLOBIOME

Overcoming Obstacles to Scale Cellular Agriculture

“Cultivated meat is no longer about proof of concept, its now about proof of scale. We are now seeing start-ups emerging to focus on individual parts of the cultivated meat value chain (e.g. media formulation, equipment/engineering etc) vs a few years ago when all the start-ups were trying to do everything across the value chain given the nascency of the industry.
The current cohort of cultivated meat start-ups is quite collaborative on issues like regulatory pathway and consumer marketing/messaging vs startups in other areas of food tech. Given the completely new regulation and messaging that needs to be worked out in this vertical, it is encouraging to see them joining up to carve the way forward as an industry. We are 3-5 years away from cultivated meat in restaurants and 5-10 years away from having it available in supermarkets.” Costa Yiannoulis

Session Chair:
Costa YiannoulisCIOCPT CAPITAL
Peter VerstrateCOOMOSA MEAT
Lou CooperhouseCEO & FounderBLUENALU
John CarriganChief Scientific AdvisorREBELBIO
Ido SavirCo-Founder & CEO, SUPERMEAT

New Models for Value-Driven Innovation in Big Corporates

“For successful start-up – corporate collaborations, the following things should happen:
– Top management buy in and backup that flows all the way down to the level working with the start-up
– Clear definitions of successful partnership with roles and responsibilities in advance
– The employees taking risks and working with new technologies should be acknowledged
– Corporates may innovate while creating internal programmes with knowledge sharing and rewards for innovators” Jonathan Berger

Session Chair:

Gerardo MazzeoGlobal Innovation Director, NESTLE
Egon BarbosaEMEA Innovation Marketing Director, COCA-COLA
Neil FosterHead of Strategic Partnerships, NURITAS
Andy Zynga
Monika LesslVP, Head of Corporate Innovation and R&DBAYER AG

Investor Debate: Mapping the Future of Food

“Despite the PitchBook data showing >$25B USD flowing to agri and food VC deals, over the last 5 years the consensus is that the sector is still under-invested relative to more mature venture categories e.g. fintech, life science/pharmaceuticals. More than 33% of the capital lands in Valley or wider CA backed companies; but the EU ecosystem is building and attracting more companies, though attracting global capital and expertise is required.”

While there is some hype cycle investment occurring especially with the interest around plant and alt protein, the growth in valuations is in line with trends we see in other sectors and also reflects stronger teams and an emerging group of later stage companies; expect to see investment levels rise especially in later stage companies. The lesson from companies like WeWork is that capital efficiency is critical especially since many food tech companies will require a lot of capital to go commercial.

There is a distinction between companies with truly deep tech and those which are food companies with branding or novel business models – vs food-tech that has some unique IP.  It is easier for competitors to erode an initial lead when the protective IP moat is low or porous. Sustainable food production will rise in relevance driven by both regulation and consumer appetite for responsible products (given climate change concerns) – and this will create further reward for farmers who opt in to such models and can trace their products back to better farm practices.

Interesting trends seen this week at Future Food-Tech London include novel proteins (including cellular ag, hybrid products using both plant and meat, ingredient discovery platforms, paediatric and aging mitigation foods, food safety tech and automation/labour saving in the supply chain including restaurants.

We are also seeing greater CVC participation including earlier efforts in acceleration by major food companies and retailers.” Arama Kukutai

Session Chair:
Arama Kukutai, Managing Partner, FINISTERE VENTURES
Kristen Weldon, Head of Food Innovation and Downstream Strategy, LOUIS DREYFUS
Aaron Rudberg, Managing Director & COO, S2G VENTURES
Alastair Cooper, Senior Investment Director, ADM CAPITAL
Erich Sieber, Co-Founder & Managing Director, PEAKBRIDGE PARTNERS

Technology Showcase Presentations and TechHub

The future of food is much more than just plant based, this year’s London conference further bridged the gap between today’s leaders and tomorrow’s innovators. Stand-outs both on-stage and off were Amazentis, who are using advanced nutrition to reverse age related muscle decline, IXON Food Technology who are looking to eliminate cold chain storage with their shelf stable advanced aseptic packaging and Legendairy Foods who are developing Europe’s first ‘clean dairy’ products without the use of animals through fermentation.

Start-ups are the key to innovation and are fundamental in accelerating the advancement of new game changing technologies and solutions which are featured at Future Food-Tech.

Interested in showcasing your breakthrough solution at a future summit? Contact Jet Luckhurst to find out more.


The Summit in 60 Seconds

Relive the buzz, panel debates, global audience and groundbreaking start-ups:

Roundtable Discussion Groups

From Tech to Food-Tech: What are the similarities and differences in starting, growing, and scaling a food-tech business versus your typical tech start-up?

We need easy access to pre-seed and seed funding for food-tech. It is just as easy or easier than software or apps.

Valley of death potential around series B/C. You have to prove and do a lot more than a software business: R&D, scale-up, formulation, IP, regulatory pathways, which is all extremely capital intense.

There is a very big difference around regulation, food safety and level of responsibility

Host: Ela MadejCo-founder & Partner, FIFTY YEARS

Open Innovation: How can you leverage open innovation to collaborate with external partners for maximum impact?

Consider taking open innovation out of the main team, and deploy another team focused on just that.  This drives focus and gets results.

Take that first small step with a start-up to get things moving.  The first step is often the most important one to build momentum, otherwise nothing happens.

Consider delaying NDAs until really needed, have a talk first and go as far as you can go in this manner.

Host: Imran AfzalSenior R&D Manager, PepsiCo Technology Ventures, External Innovation, PEPSICO

Ingredient Innovation: What novel ingredients and technologies are food brands utilising to cater for the demand in natural products?

The definition of natural is terribly confusing, and regulators complicate it even more.

There were predictions that consumers will want more fibre, still seek a complete sugar substitute, are concerned with gut health and probably don’t want more protein.

Making claims around functional ingredients are tough; everyone is a bit confused as to how to gain an advantage.

Host: Nick RosaManaging Partner, CULTIVIAN SANDBOX VENTURES

Food Delivery: What partnerships are food delivery companies looking for in order to meet customer expectations, and differentiate their offering?

The roundtable was fun, we spoke a lot about the future of grocery as there were some people representing large grocers and how we think technology will change consumer habits.  In general, people didn’t think eating would change that much in terms of frequency and what meals looked like but more in how we source our food.

Host: Leah RaberHead of Business Development EMEA, UBER EATS

Food Trends: How to identify exceptional challenger brands

Reduction in meat and dairy is more than a trend, a fundamental shift in the market that is here to stay. What is unclear is if market will trend to direct meat substitutes (BeyondMeat, Quorn etc.) or go towards meals made up of vegetables as the everyday norm and meat becomes the occasional treat (as was previously the case in the past).

Local provenance of food is also a hugely growing trend but there was concerns – this was generally more lip service with majority of consumers not having a strong seasonal understanding and other pulls (mainly price) being the biggest driver.
General consensus is that the fish industry will be put under much greater scrutiny for their production methods than previously, and consumers switch from meat to fish in some Western economies is not as beneficial as they think.

Consumer drivers of price, health, convenience, speed etc are very much constant and trends come and go around this to serve these permanent desires better than previously.

Host: Kirsty Macdonald, Investment Manager, JAM JAR INVESTMENTS

Funding Innovation: In an age of disruption, how are big organisations optimising their NPD spend?

We saw a great sample of key businesses across the food sector at our round table (large ingredient suppliers, manufacturers, consultants and retailers as well as smaller start-ups).

We found that the influence of VC’s has been a great stimulator of effective and efficient collaboration amongst smaller companies, however larger companies seem to be pulling in different directions and not effectively collaborating for mutual benefit. With an increase in the pace of innovation, larger companies across the sector are struggling to keep up yet they have all the intel, experience and budgets to do so.

There was a unanimous call for better ways to effectively collaborate amongst the right stakeholders in the industry to make this more beneficial for all involved (from suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and the consumer).

Host: Ashley Pollock, Assistant Manager, Innovation Incentives, AYMING

Corporate Innovation: What are the best models to achieve value-driven innovation in big organisations?

Innovation is slowly becoming associated with growth at major food brands; in this context, breakthrough developments are considered feasible only by partnering with small and fast moving companies that could move ahead without the constrains of the organization

The “toolbox” for innovation needs to be enhanced, internal innovation is normally targeted to incremental growth, corporations need to create and access new sets of innovation tools that could drive exponential growth.

Innovation needs to be well rooted in the corporation and driven top-down, otherwise organizations tend to be self-stable and react against new developments that may alter status-quo.

Host: José Luis Cabañero, Managing Director, EATABLE ADVENTURES


Who Attended the Summit?

Join us next year at Future Food-Tech London. Contact us if you would like to get involved.

Join us at our upcoming summits in San Francisco, New York and in Singapore at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Week.

We have updated our privacy policy.
Find out more