Every year, people spend over $2T on food. Hundreds of food startups have tried to get a slice of the pie, digging into new, innovative solutions in delivery, manufacturing, health, and other areas.
Some of these startups create meat and seafood from plants and solar power. Some aim to change how people feed their babies. Others aspire to change how food is created and served, from self-operating coffee shops to autonomous chef robots.
Check out these 18 food startups that want to change the face of the industry.
Table of contents:
- Best Food Startups
- Food Delivery Startups
- Food and Beverage Startups
- Food Manufacturing Startups
- Healthy Food Startups
- Baby Food Startups
- Innovative Food Startups
Best Food Startups
Food Delivery Startups
Shef connects consumers with local chefs selling homemade meals. The marketplace features a diverse range of chefs — made up of 75% women and 80% people of color — and cuisines from over 100 countries.
The company aspires to redefine who can participate in the food economy by bringing in immigrants, refugees, stay-at-home parents, and more as chefs.
Funding: Series A, $28.8m
Fun fact: Shef’s name includes “she” and “chef,” as a nod to mothers.
Too Good To Go helps restaurants, cafes, shops, and other businesses sell unsold food at a discounted price. With 160k+ establishments signed up, the app describes itself as a win-win-win: a win for customers, a win for businesses, and a win for the environment.
Funding: Unknown Series, $45.7m
Fun fact: Too Good To Go has saved 148m+ meals across 15 countries.
Getir helps customers avoid making a trip to the store through their delivery app, which promises users “groceries in minutes.” By partnering with local warehouses in its operating cities, Getir houses 1.5k+ products within close proximity to customers.
Founded: July 9, 2015
Fun fact: As of 2021, Getir has 9k+ delivery drivers across nine countries.
Food and Beverage Startups
Hedgehog strives to make fungi the world’s next major food source. The firm describes fungi as “unique crops” that convert waste from agriculture into “protein-rich, meaty-tasting food.”
Fungi farming has high labor costs. So, the company uses artificial intelligence and robots to automate parts of mushroom farming — reducing expenses by 70%+.
Funding: Unknown Series, $1.8m
Fun fact: Hedgehog uses “autonomous dexterous manipulation,” or robots that use fingers and appendages to grab and maneuver objects, to harvest and package mushrooms.
5. Yummy Future
Yummy Future makes robotic barista machines. Coffee shops have high labor costs, but this startup’s creation solves this problem. They claim their setup is 10x more affordable since it requires 1-2 hours of setup for 24 hours of operation. It can pump out a cup of joe in 30 seconds.
Funding: Seed Funding, $160k
Fun fact: Their robotic baristas can make 1k+ different drink options.
6. Spero Foods
Spero Foods aims to make plant-based foods as affordable as animal products. The company produces seven flavors of cream cheese and a goat cheese made from sunflower seeds. They have also started to sell an egg alternative made from green pepita seeds.
Funding: Series A, $120k
Fun fact: Since Spero Foods uses sunflower seeds instead of other nuts, they use 96% less water.
Food Manufacturing Startups
Mezli combines the culinary expertise of a Michelin-starred chef with the affordability of an autonomous robot. A human chef curates the menu, while a self-operating restaurant cooks and serves. By reducing traditional labor costs in restaurants, Mezli dishes out high-quality meals at affordable prices.
Funding: Seed Funding, $3.5m
Fun fact: Their signature bowls, sold out of their fully robotic restaurant in San Francisco, start at $6.99.
8. Solar Foods
Solar Foods is trying to make food out of thin air, theoretically eliminating the food system’s reliance on agriculture. The company uses a process similar to brewing beer to grow microorganisms, which eventually result in a dry powder they harvest called Solein. The powder is made up of 70% protein, making it a nutritious and vegan addition to food products.
Funding: Debt Financing, $42m
Fun fact: In 2021, Solar Foods opened its first facility, Factory 01, and aims to start producing “the world’s most sustainable protein” by 2024.
Shinkei Systems uses robots and artificial intelligence to automate and optimize fish harvesting and farming. Their systems include species and produce tracking, automated carving, and more.
Funding: Unknown Series, $1.3m
Fun fact: Shinkei Systems automated ikejime, a Japanese style of harvesting fish, which involves cutting the fish’s hindbrain in a manner more humane than suffocation.
Healthy Food Startups
The startup transforms the plant fiber of agricultural leftovers, such as corn cobs and wheat straw, into sugar and flour. These ingredients, unlike standard flour and sugar, contain more nutrients, fewer calories, and added fiber. Consumers can substitute their sugar and flour 1:1 in any recipe, from cakes to ice cream to chocolate.
Funding: Series A, $42.1m
Fun fact: In addition to their ingredients, the company also sells chocolate bars on their website.
11. Misfits Market
Misfits Market helps consumers reduce their grocery bills while purchasing more organic produce. The marketplace sells snacks, meat and seafood, fruit, vegetables, and dairy products that mainstream stores will not sell due to reasons unrelated to the food itself, such as its size, appearance, or incorrect packaging.
Funding: Series C, $526.5m
Fun fact: Misfits Market has saved 228m+ pounds of food across 44 states.
12. Daily Harvest
Daily Harvest creates healthy, sustainable meals that contain a more diverse array of fruits and vegetables. Their menu gives customers access to over 185 crops, meaning their food has more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients compared to the global food system — which primarily has nine crops. Consumers can pick from breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert.
Funding: Series D, $120m
Fun fact: Daily Harvest helps build a regenerative agriculture system by supporting the growth of diverse crops.
Baby Food Startups
13. Impress Foods
Impress Foods offers baby food for three development stages: beginner, six months+, and nine months+. They pack each 100% organic meal with nutrients specific to the baby’s age with 19 different flavors, such as quinoa-ratatouille and broccoli-asparagus-fennel.
Fun fact: The company uses high-pressure pasteurization to retain as much nutrients as possible while keeping out bacteria.
Amara creates baby food with the baby’s preference in mind. Their nutritionists, food scientists, and chefs use organic fruits, vegetables, and grains to create an optimal combination of taste and nutrition.
Afterward, they grind the produce into a powder — which parents can then modify using breast milk, water, or formula to create a desired consistency and texture.
Funding: Series A, $12.8m
Fun fact: In addition to baby food, Amara also sells toddler snacks, such as organic smoothie melts.
15. Tiny Organics
Tiny Organics creates a curated, organic meal plan for babies older than six months and toddlers. Aiming to raise “adventurous eaters,” Tiny Organics creates meals that help kids expand their palettes. Parents first answer a few questions about their kid. Then, Tiny Organics creates a menu curated to their child’s taste buds.
Funding: Series A, $13.5m
Fun fact: Tiny Organics says it can introduce children to 100 flavors through its meal plan.
16. Nobell Foods
Nobell Foods has a simple goal: to make animal-free cheese that melts. Though many different kinds of vegan cheese exist on the market, Nobell Foods wants to make plant-based cheese that tastes and pulls exactly like the real one.
By growing casein — the naturally-occurring protein found in milk — out of genetically edited soybeans, the company can create plant-based cheese at a cost less than actual cheese.
Funding: Series B, $75m
Fun fact: The company uses an internal key performance indicator (KPI) to measure the duration of a cheese pull.
17. Kinoko Tech
Kinoko Tech describes itself as the “next generation of protein rich food.” The startup creates its products, which contain nine essential amino acids — a complete protein, by using fermentation and growing fungi on legumes and grains.
Rather than tout its product as an alternative to meat, Kinoko Tech positions its protein in a different category: a healthy yet affordable superfood.
Funding: Grant, ~28k (converted from 100k Israeli New Shekels)
Fun fact: Kinoko Tech’s protein products cater to multiple dietary restrictions, including vegan and vegetarian, gluten-free, and allergen-free.
Fodzyme by Kiwi Biosciences helps consumers with gut sensitivities to enjoy their favorite foods. By sprinkling Fodzyme’s powder on high-FODMAP meals, people can eat without dealing with digestive issues after. “FODMAP” stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols — or short-chain carbohydrates the small intestine struggles to absorb. To solve this, the company relies on enzymes to break down these hard-to-absorb sugars.
Funding: Pre-Seed, Unknown
Fun fact: The co-founder started the company after her doctor put her on a low-FODMAP diet, exposing her to the difficulties of avoiding these sugars.