Foodtech: Grasshoppers, algae and ugly bananas. Evolution on the retail shelf.

By Wim Nieuwenhuijse & Cas Weijenberg

Cupcakes made from grasshoppers, pasta with protein-rich algae, spinach fusilli and munching chips from orphaned bananas that did not stand the beauty test.

Just some developments from the retail food front. Grocery shelves will have different facings in the years to come. While Bio-based products are penetrating in almost all product categories, ‘alternative’ food ingredients are still absent. Yet: the concerns for an emission-free world are spurring latest investments.

Big appetite

No wonder that in Venture Capital, new start-ups in FoodTech enabling innovative ingredients are hot. Morph has come across many examples of meatless business; During the recent ImpactFest in The Hague, most attention from VC investors was aimed at that sector. With the current vastly filled funds, there is big appetite to invest in these start-ups. But the trick lies – as always – in a keen selection of the technology and origin behind the food.


Take the insect food industry. Widely acclaimed as The alternative for meat-based recipes. But raising nutrient-rich locusts or other insects require a careful production & drying process. And if the insects are being fed with grains, the CO2 footprint becomes less attractive. No wonder that many producers are going circular: feeding locusts with food garbage. But it is also sometimes the challenge to overcome logistics in the food chain; Left-over bananas at a plantation in Ecuador can be converted in delicious granola, but what about getting it emission-poor to Europe? And last but not least there is legislation. The approval to process insects and mealworms know a long bureaucratic journey through the desks of EU legislators. Something to think about when Glasgow’s COP agreements need to be put in actionable results.

Silent Revolution

There is still a lot to solve to make alternative food a viable alternative. But, like Bio-based, that will be a matter of time. No wonder that big corporates are keenly looking for ideal candidates in their buy & build strategy. With a very pragmatic view: if it is not for the technology, it will for sure benefit in the battle for food technicians. Both are very scarce in an industry that is yet to start the silent revolution of tomorrow’s diner.

Want to know more about investing in FoodTech? Contact us at Morph.