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Technology is disrupting everything about our lives, and the world of food is no different. These 7 start-ups are changing what, when, and how we eat.
Back in 1999 (remember dial up?) a Chicago attorney became frustrated with outdated paper menus–and thus an online food-ordering company was born. After a decade and a half’s worth of steady growth, in 2014 Seamless merged with the likeminded startup Grubhub and now helps over 9 million diners eat in from over 55 thousand restaurant partners across the US and UK.
Who knew people hated saying their credit card information over the phone that much?
Peapod was founded in Evanston, Illinois as part of a local innovation lab. Upon launching their website in 1996, they joined the first wave of dot com start ups and helped to pioneered the digital point of sale, stocking, and shipping logistics that helped define an entire E-Commerce industry.
Since then, the company has expanded into a coast to coast operation across a multitude of major American cities. As other players look to move into the grocery-delivery game, Peapod continues to be a leading internet grocer.
Also fun fact: their name was originally going to be IPOD, standing for “Information Product On Demand”– but the founders thought “Peapod” sounded friendlier, and we’re inclined to agree (iPod makes a better name for an mp3 player anyway).
As consumers continue to search for that Holy Grail of convenience, customization, and price, meal delivery services are the newest wave of at-home dining. In 2016 alone, 1 in 4 Americans purchased a meal delivery kit, and a company called Chef’d is bringing an innovative new model to the space.
While competitors use subscription models with a limited rotation of options, Chef’d offers over 1,000 high quality, ready-to-cook recipes on demand. This food service up-and-comer is leveraging partnerships with a variety of celebrity chefs and top brands–including a $10 million dollar investment from Campbell Soup Company–positioning itself as a premium, customizable option in a category with a big appetite for both.
In June of 2017, mega-e-retailer Amazon purchased the entire chain of Whole Foods supermarkets for just under 14 billion dollars. Since then, the dot com giant has moved towards incentivising Prime membership with in-store discounts. Meanwhile, the larger trend of more seamlessly integrated grocery stores carries all sorts of implications in the larger food retail landscape–namely, an opportunity to lower prices, improve efficiency, and provide greater access to quality food for all.
Habit was launched way back in early 2017 (such a faraway time...) and has attracted a great deal of attention since; like this podcast where founder Neil Grimmer shares his story and struggles. By developing nutrition recommendations and delivering personalized meals based on individual biology and metabolism, Habit hopes to become the biggest name in healthy meal delivery.
By using DNA, blood, and body metrics, Habit’s highly trained staff of coaches help users achieve their personal goals for weight and overall health. In a category that’s always looking for the healthiest edge, these guys make fad diets look as silly as...well...fad diets, actually.
There’s a belief that the biggest ideas in food tech (and tech in general) are yet to be had, and that’s the driving force behind this Brooklyn start-up. Foodworks is a kitchen incubator and community dedicated to providing members with resources so they can move creative culinary ideas from inception to scaled business.
By providing affordable commissary, co-working space, and tailored mentorship programs, they believe in the power of collaboration to help bring food into a smarter future.
As the tech landscape continues to shift in new and unexpected ways, food manufacturers have begun setting up venture capital arms to help drive that innovation. Acre Venture Partners is a venture capital fund that’s backed by $125 million investment from Campbell Soup Company. The goal of Acre Venture Partners is to create systems that promote transparency, health, and sustainability in one of the sectors that matter most to humanity.
By nurturing companies that embody these disruptive values it’s Acre’s stated mission to catalyze the efforts of would-be disruptors who think big, dream often, and have real solutions to bring to market.
One thing is for certain: It’s going to take every kind of innovation from companies and communities of all sizes to keep a growing global population fed with nutritious, great-tasting meals. Here at Campbell’s, we’re up to the challenge.