Vertical Focus: Food & Agriculture

Vertical Focus: Food & Agriculture

Reimagining the Future of Food

The agriculture industry should consider these changes to prepare for inevitable future disruptions, a CropLife report says:

Redesign. An ultra-responsive supply chain is needed to keep up with changing trade policies and supply dynamics. One example: Nutella’s hazelnuts come from Turkey, its cocoa from Nigeria, and its sugar from Brazil. With global movement restrictions, Nutella may need to close facilities or source elsewhere on the fly.

Digitize. Companies must build digital food chains that rapidly adjust to disruptions. Much of the food industry still relies on manual processes, and this gap is more severe with a remote workforce. Visibility is critical to ensure minimal waste and help customers make informed decisions.

Retailers, Restaurants & Grocers Go Direct

With physical retail and indoor dining halted, food brands find new ways to generate revenue by using e-commerce platforms to sell directly to consumers, says a CNBC report.

E-commerce platforms like Shopify are benefiting from stay-at-home requirements. Its stock is up 143% in 2020, and its revenue almost doubled to $767 million in the third quarter. Other platforms, such as BigCommerce, are experiencing growth as well. Its revenue increased by 41% in the third quarter, the report says.

“My grandparents are now going to buy groceries online for the rest of their lives, which is something that never would’ve happened,” says Harley Finkelstein, president at Shopify.

Throughout the pandemic, food brands such as Heinz Ketchup, Lindt, Beyond Meat, Pressed Juicery, and Snickers—and big brands like Johnson & Johnson and Unilever—have set up online direct-to-consumer stores for the first time.

Canada’s Loblaws grocery chain started selling meal kits using Shopify. Chipotle launched a virtual farmers’ market on the platform, allowing farmers that were part of its supply chain to sell meat, grains, dairy, and other products directly to consumers across the country.

While large brands continue to join in, small businesses drive these e-commerce platforms. Whether they buy meal kits, a gift card from a local restaurant, or groceries, consumers look to support their favorite small businesses during the pandemic.

Demand Brews for At-Home Coffee

Businesses in the coffee supply chain switch up their shipping strategies as more consumers make their coffee at home, says a ResearchandMarkets forecast. Highlights from the report include:

  • Keurig Dr Pepper says its coffee machines will be in 3 million new households in 2020 compared to 2 million in any other year.
  • Sales of all coffee makers, from espresso machines to Chemex pour-overs, are up 28% since the start of the pandemic.
  • Sales of packaged coffee have grown faster in 2020 than in any year since Keurig machines for home use entered the market more than one decade ago.
  • Because customers realized they can brew coffee at home for less than they spend at shops, Nestlé plans to release products with a lower price tag and in bulk at a lower cost per cup.
  • J.M. Smucker, which owns Folgers and makes Dunkin’ ground coffee, saw its U.S. coffee retail sales increase by 23% to $571 million.
  • The packaged coffee industry gained three years’ worth of new consumers in just seven months during the pandemic.
  • Starbucks reports a 9% decrease in store sales in the Americas for its latest quarter, but benefits from higher sales of its packaged coffee.
  • Dunkin’ returned to growth at its stores, but closed hundreds of others. It plans to sell more drinks that aren’t easily made at home, such as lattes.
  • The global coffee market will reach $134.25 billion in 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 5.32% in 2020-2024.
  • The global out-of-home coffee market will reach $29.55 billion in 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 4.94% in 2020-2024.
  • The market will experience surging e-commerce retail sales and technological advancements.

$134.25 billion: The anticipated size of the global coffee market by 2024.


Cleaning Up Food Waste

Nearly 25% of fruits and vegetables are lost globally, and North America is among the regions with the highest level of food waste, CNBC reports. With food markets and plants becoming hot spots for COVID-19 outbreaks, access to food has become more challenging, making food waste prevention even more critical for the agriculture and food sectors.

Apeel, a food science startup, launched a solution to help small-scale farms waste less and get more of their crops to market. The company makes natural coatings that extend the shelf life of produce such as avocados, apples, and lemons. It raised $30 million in new funding from investors, and plans to expand globally.

The industry norm is to coat produce in wax to achieve a glossy finish and provide short-term preservation. Apeel’s new water-based coating is extracted from lipids that come from the same produce to which the coating is applied, extending shelf life by preventing oxidation and water loss.

This new solution will help establish supply chains in Sub-Saharan Africa, Mexico, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia, and will improve domestic supply chains by reducing food loss without the use of refrigeration. This gives farmers, retailers, and consumers in developing countries access to market opportunities previously out of reach without cold infrastructure or rapid transport.

Apeel’s coated produce is available in U.S. stores such as Kroger and Harps. In Europe, the produce is available in Denmark’s Salling Group and will be available in Germany’s Edeka stores.

Blockchain Is Cropping Up

Largely due to growing food safety concerns, the global blockchain market in agriculture and the food supply chain is projected to reach $948 million by 2025, a compound annual growth rate of 48.1%, according to a MarketsandMarkets report.

Blockchain technology plays a key role in keeping manufacturers, retailers, and consumers updated on the condition of their products. Food manufacturers increasingly work to detect contamination and food fraud as awareness spreads among manufacturers and retailers. Consumers also increasingly look for improved data after years of misleading food labels, the report says.

Blockchain helps track and trace raw materials, finished goods, and merchandise, and is widely adopted in the agriculture industry. Startups offering e-payments, e-commerce, data analysis, and smart contracts are emerging steadily, MarketsandMarkets says.

With strong support in the technology sector, North America is estimated to account for the largest share in this market through 2025, the report finds. Because of its robust supply chain infrastructure, the U.S. market for blockchain in agriculture and food will dominate the overall North American market, the forecast says.

From Seed to Harvest

The TraceHarvest Network, a new blockchain-powered network developed by BlockApps with Bayer Crop Science, is the first solution to track the full life cycle of produce starting at the seed source. It provides insight into products as they’re sold, planted, harvested, and processed to drive sustainable practices, helping to establish new standards across the food chain. It help farmers access new markets, offer premium goods, and optimize operations.