from the January 2015 issue

Advanced technologies as a viable solution

Today, more than ever, advanced technology plays a key role in the food and beverage industry. This is mainly evident in the impact on cutting production costs and increasing profits, while creating consumer value.

Up until this decade, food companies worked primarily to increase their volume of activity in response to constant population growth and the resulting increase in food consumption.

In recent years, we have seen growing awareness of health and well-being (for instance, awareness of obesity problem); stricter regulation in the developed world; diminishing natural resources and raw materials; and awareness of sustainability. In addition, there is growing demand for products that possess considerable value and adapt to current trends in quality of life (health and well-being, convenience and sustainability, and considerations of an aging population).

In light of these trends, a viable solution over time can only be found with the use of innovative and groundbreaking food technologies in all technological dimensions of the value chain. This need is a fertile ground for technological innovation in the food industry. Solutions enable us to increase the value for consumers through the development/identification of smart ingredients, increasing product freshness and bringing the customers products that are as close to their natural form as possible, while improving their nutritional value.

FOODTECH pertains to those technologies that have food-related applications through the entire value chain - from growing agricultural raw materials through various processing stages to packaging. Companies that employ such new and advanced technologies will be able to manufacture improved-value products for their consumers.

In the past, it was evident that technological innovation came from projects invested by private investors. Next it was the corporations that led to such solutions by setting up laboratories and conducting research. In recent years, investments of venture capital funds have taken over to promote innovation, and more and more companies are currently establishing accelerators and funds to support such projects.

The reason for growing investments of external funds in food is that large food corporations are placed in a weak position when they develop an innovative technology. It is a small startup company that can operate flexibly and quickly and achieve its goals faster and more efficiently compared to a large corporation.

Conversely, corporations can more efficiently assist the promotion of early-stage ventures and help take a venture from the basic feasibility stage to prototype development, while providing professional managerial tools.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report January 2015

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