Promising leaders and major evolutions in the French FoodTech
The French FoodTech ecosystem has been ramping up since 2017, driven by disruptive technological innovations and changing consumption patterns. Almost €3.4Bn has been invested since then, and Paris has become the second European most dynamic FoodTech hub.
The FoodTech ecosystem is varied and counts many actors
According to DigitalFoodLab, FoodTech is the ecosystem made up of all the entrepreneurs and startups in the food sector that innovate in terms of products, distribution, marketing or business models. It can be divided into 6 main categories:
- Food science (Innovafeed, Ynsect, La belle vie)
- AgriTech (Algama Foods, Dry4Good)
- Consumer Tech (Yuka, Too Good To Go)
- Supply Chain (Choco, Innovorder)
- Delivery (Mon marché, Not so Dark)
- Foodservice (Sunday, Zenchef).
Many complementary factors have led to the development of new solutions, and consumption patterns have also evolved, for example, the delivery of meals. Furthermore, consumers are more aware of the environmental impact of their diet, which impacts their choices. It is also necessary for actors in the industry to digitise to keep pace with changing demand and improve productivity, reduce their resource consumption and optimise their value chain. Startups offer disruptive solutions that meet new consumer expectations and sustainable development challenges. Thus, both the French and European FoodTech are exploring new and rapidly developing markets.
France, 2nd European country in terms of FoodTech investments
The French FoodTech ecosystem has considerably grown in terms of investments and rapid development over the past few years. According to DigitalFoodLab, fundraising in the sector has reached €1.1Bn in 2022, +23% growth in one year only. At the same time, FoodTech investments in Europe decreased by 36% in 2022 (€5.9Bn), highlighting the strengths of the French ecosystem. Very resilient, the French FoodTech is now ranked 2nd in Europe behind the UK and ahead of Germany.
Thanks to a favourable ecosystem, France is witnessing the development of world leaders such as Ynsect. Its vertical insect farm, located in Hauts-de-France, covering an area of 40,000 m² and reaching a height of 35 metres, is the largest of its kind in the world and is expected to generate a production of 200,000 tonnes a year. Innovafeed, the main French competitor of Ynsect, raised €250M in September 2022.
France 2030: to build the future of the food sector
In October 2021, France launched a massive investment programme in breakthrough innovations to develop future technologies. This programme, called France 2030, gives a prominent place to agricultural and food issues, with €3 billion in financing. The aim is to speed up the roll-out of the third agricultural revolution and strengthen food sovereignty in France and Europe.
This strategy integrates the challenges of sustainable development to limit the sector’s environmental impact and make it a major focus of the environmental transition. Support programmes, such as Agri20 and French Tech 2030, have been set up to help the most promising technology companies get off the ground. At the Salon International de l’Agriculture, 2023, 115 winning projects from France 2030 were presented as part of the “Investing in healthy, sustainable and traceable food” objective. For example, €30 million was allocated to 3 projects to develop proteins from legumes, and 41 projects shared a €200 million budget for their potential in the agroecological and food transitions.
Foreign investments have significantly increased over the past few years
This strategic framework benefits the entire agri-food industry and strengthens the technologies developed by the innovative players in FoodTech. A global value chain is rising. That’s why, for three years, we noticed a significant growth in seed, early-stage and Series D fundraising (in number and value). Many French players such as BPI, Demeter, Capagro or Kima Ventures have historically financed FoodTech in France. As the ecosystem is becoming more attractive, a growing number of foreign investors have decided to include French startups in their portfolios :
- Five Seasons Ventures (La Fourche)
- Kharis Capital and Conviviality Ventures (Not so Dark)
- Left Lane Capital (Choco)
- Astnor Ventures (Umiami)
- Partech (many seed and early-stage investments)
This phenomenon has contributed to the rise of the median early-stage deal from €400K in 2016 to €1M in 2018 to €2M in 2021. Moreover, French startups are still doing acquisitions (a dozen per year since 2021) thanks to the contribution of these experienced funds. It underscores that the sector has entered a maturity phase.
The French FoodTech ecosystem now stands out for its dynamism and innovation. Many actors are getting involved in it, bringing their experience to this phase of expansion and opportunity. Would you be part of the adventure?
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