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Investment into foodtech up to £27bn, with delivery apps taking a big bite

2 min read
table laid with plates and cutlery containing deliveroo boxes

Venture capital investment into foodtech has increased from £670m in 2011 to a high of £26.7 billion in 2021, according to figures compiled by Nesta and released today.

It said this increase in investment outperformed total funding growth across all sectors, and that in the five-years between 2017 and 2021, venture funding for UK foodtech start-ups grew faster (up 108%) than the US, China or Germany.

It said food delivery apps scooped 60% of venture capital investment in 2017-2021, equating to around £11bn being invested into food delivery apps alone. It added there was a lot of activity around the investment potential of dark kitchens, and increased utilisation of automation in dark kitchens as a way of realising efficiencies and cutting costs. 

Additional cost savings and productivity gains could be made in the future by introducing more automation and robotics in kitchens,” it said. “Our analysis shows that the global venture funding for these types of kitchen technologies has also grown by about 81% between 2017 and 2021. For example, the kitchen robot Beastro, developed by Tel-Aviv based Kitchen Robotics, is specifically aimed at dark kitchens, the company claims that it can cut labour costs by more than 50%.

Other bright spots include personalised nutrition, where investment has grown by 552% to hit £500 million in 2021, and alternative protein, which is receiving £1.5bn per year in VC investment, with an 800% growth rate between 2017 and 2021.

However, Nesta also noted a sharp drop off in VC investment in 2022, with venture funding for food tech start-ups falling by more than 50% compared to 2021.

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