With an unprecedented level of investments in the past few years, startup companies dedicated to food preparation and delivery are pushing the limits and encouraging new eating habits.
No industry is immune to innovation, not even those with a long tradition and strong psychological roots. The food industry is the best example – while most people acquire a taste for certain foods at an early age, it is perfectly possible for some types of products to go out of fashion when better alternatives come along. Recent developments in this sector prove that new recipes can become popular quickly and that bold ideas can succeed, no matter how radical they seem at first.
Of course, financial resources can help. In 2015 alone, food-related startup companies attracted a staggering $US 5.7 billion in venture capital, providing them with the necessary firepower to challenge the established manufacturers. However, these companies are not just competing for the piece of the financial pie – they are trying to completely redefine the market by testing out new concepts that range from bringing a chef to customer’s house to serving a whole lunch in a liquid form.
Let’s examine a few trends that are emerging from this exciting period:
Counting calories and cutting down on carbohydrates
With the traditional food industry mostly focused on strong, meat-based meals, new companies are naturally gravitating towards healthy food where they don’t have to compete directly against McDonald’s and similar junk-food giants. Such efforts are finding an eager customer base since young adults born near the turn of the century (the millennial generation) are highly aware of the need to control the ingredients that go into their bodies. Very caloric foods with too much fat and carbohydrates are viewed as a health hazard among this demographic, while gluten-free products with high protein content (especially shakes and smoothies) are very popular at the moment. It helps that many companies are ready to deliver healthy food to your home or office, sparing the buyers the trouble to go out and seek for the specialized store.
Everyone wants raw products
It’s not only what the food contains – it’s how it’s grown, too. Organic food products cultivated with minimal use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals are attracting a lot of attention, and there is no shortage of restaurants and food delivery companies ready to meet the demand. For example, locally produced organic milk products such as kefir and yogurt are rapidly being accepted in UK, United States and other developed countries where they were not traditionally consumed in the past. Fruits and vegetables coming from small family farms are also increasingly favored over genetically enhanced products, especially among buyers who declare as vegetarian or vegan. Once the customers grow accustomed to the taste of raw foods, they are unlikely to go back to standard supermarket stuff again.
No more eating on the run
Another byproduct of the increased focus on food quality is that more and more customers are willing to spend a few hours in a gourmet restaurant in order to get a satisfying meal rather than just grabbing something from a drive-through counter. That’s much easier now that so many reliable restaurant recommendation apps and websites are available to help sort out the good places from those that are best avoided. Recommendations go beyond the choice of restaurant, as you can easily find out which dishes are worth ordering at any particular place or when to stop by to take advantage of the happy hour. It is also possible to compare prices and find affordable eateries located nearby, which allows young people to take their friends to dinner and not worry about the final tab.