2022: THE RESURGENCE OF ITALIAN FOOD INNOVATION?

2022: THE RESURGENCE OF ITALIAN FOOD INNOVATION?

“WE HAVE THE BEST FOOD IN THE WORLD”

The innate mankind’s ability to argue about everything, from football to religion passing through politics, it finds maybe in Italy its maximum expression. And let’s keep out the no-vax that’d be fish on a barrel.

But there’s just one thing that in Belpaese surely makes everyone agree. A kind of magic-making every quarrel forget and every rancor disappear.

The food.

#ITALIANSDOITBETTER

In Italy, we can all be friends with a spaghetti dish. The most important thing is being “al dente”. And particularly, we all agree about the prominent role played by Italian food on the world stage. On the other hand, it’s common knowledge that #italiansdoitbetter.

Al dente?

But, paradoxically, this world leadership for Italian food can be meanwhile considered even its biggest limit.

WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN

Talking about Italian food, I personally always figured out as a beautiful woman beloved and fawned over by everybody, that loves spending her whole day in mirroring with no care of what’s happening around her.

At least until some years ago…

Sorry for the poor graphic, but I had to stay focused on content

In the last few years, fortunately, the Italian food ecosystem gained awareness about the world that’s changing around it and this consciousness-raising obviously gave an incredible boost to innovation.

THE SPARK

Expo 2015 can be unanimously considered as the first ignition of the spark that lit food innovation in Italy. From 2015 in fact, Italian food innovation experienced steady growth, thanks even to events such as Seeds&Chips and the various open innovation programs launched in 2019.

And what about 2021? Regardless of covid, the rounds closed by Italian startups and the various initiatives launched last year suggest that it can be considered as the year of transition for Italian agrifood-tech.

THE ITALIAN AGRIFOOD-TECH IN FIGURES

One of the most interesting initiatives launched in 2021 is undoubtedly the “Agrifood-Tech in Italy” published by Forward Fooding.

The report stated that Italy is surely lagging behind the rest of the world, but in a situation not so catastrophic and, looking at the reverse of the medal, with great room for improvement.

Source: “Agrifood-Tech in Italy”

Here are some figures on Italian agrifood-tech:

● 217 startups launched from 2011 to 2021 (4th in the European rank)

● 259,4m€ raised by startups 2011/2021 (10th in the European rank)

● 48m€ invested in 2020 (+61% over 2019)

● 5 exits in the last 7 years

For more detailed information, feel free to download the report.

A CONSOLIDATED WEAKNESS, BUT…

Among the causes of this lag, there’s surely the historical weakness of the Italian venture capital market. Powerlessness both horizontal with the absence of players able to invest the seed stage, and vertical with the lack of venture capital specialized in agrifood-tech, at least before the launch of Linfa Ventures (see over).

Weakness? Yes, but…

THE YEAR OF RESPECT…

Besides the aforementioned report, what else have we watched in 2021? Lots of interesting stuff such as the launch of Italian Agrifood-Tech Association, the growth of Ristorante del futuro, the e-book Restaurant-Tech (disclaimer: I’m involved in all these projects).

Ristorante del futuro group shot

But there was more and more, of course.

The 100 million euro Series C round of Everli, the 43m€ Series B round of Cicalia, the 1m€ venture round of Elaisian, the exit of MyMenu, the IPO of Alfonsino, the launch of Linfa Ventures (the first Italian venture capital fund focused on agrifood-tech).

And 2022 looks to be even better.

…AND THE YEAR OF RESURGENCE?

So what will we see next year in the Italian food scenario?

Surely a reliable number of growth rounds, series A and above, closed by the Italian startups with some important international funds finally investing in Italy (take note of these 3 sub-sector: agritech, restaurant-tech and digital food) An ever growing interest by mass-media and more awareness by agrifood companies, even at SME level, about innovation. A moderate, but steady, growth and consolidation of agrifood-tech ecosystem.

Definitively, a situation that will keep improving.

OVER TO THE EXPERTS

But what’s the opinion of ecosystem players regarding the 2022 of Italian food innovation? Last year I turned the spotlight on 77 foodtech influencers to keep an eye on 2021. This year I appealed to most of these influencers and many other players, to define 2022 of Italian food innovation; a panel that’s still so wide and heterogeneous, including entrepreneurs, managers, investors, startups, ecosystem builders, and so on.

So what will we see in 2022? Here’s their opinion.

DISCLAIMER

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the companies they represent.

THE POWER OF ECOSYSTEM BUILDERS

There can’t be true innovation without a strong and powerful ecosystem, so the birth of association Agrifood-Tech Italia absolutely bodes well.

Sharon Cittone

Sharon Cittone — Founder and CEO of Edible Planet Ventures — Founding member of the association

“Food innovation in Italy has been growing yet there’s still a lot of work to do and to get on par with the rest of our European neighbours.. We need a more systemic approach from both the institutional and private sectors. There’s a need to create a stronger ecosystem that, through cooperation, can compete at a global level. We need to stimulate international investors to come and create a more competitive landscape, we need to support founders achieve their potential at scale, educate consumers on the necessity to shift towards sustainability and engage corporates to use innovation as a tool to redesign our food system”.

Max Leveau

Max Leveau — COO and MD Italy of Forward Fooding — Founding member of the association

‘’According to Forward Fooding FoodTech Data Navigator and looking at the amount of capital invested, 2021 is set to become ‘The year 1 of Italian FoodTech’ — the 161M euros raised to date this year by Italian AgriFoodTech startups represent 54% of the total amount that has been invested in the sector since 2011 — Driven by players like Everli or Cortilia who raised their Series C in 2021 (first players in Italy to ever raise above Series B), or Xfarm who recently merged with Farm Technologies to scale up their operations, it is great to see that the Italian AgriFoodTech ecosystem is following the global trend. Again this year, Italy is also very well represented across the FoodTech 500 2021 finalists, being the fifth most represented country with 24 companies among the finalists. Excited to see what’s ahead of us in 2022!’’

Peter Kruger

Peter Kruger — Managing Partner of Agfood Ventures — Founding member of the association

“In 2021 we watched an investment boom in agrifood startups with investments globally expected to grow by at least 50%. This is after 2020 in which investments had already grown by more than 30% for a total of $ 30 billion in invested capital. For 2022 we see the main trends that have characterized the ecosystem of agrifood startups continue since the beginning of the pandemic. New funds are springing up and existing ones are being refinanced. It would not be surprising, therefore, to see a further increase in investments (which are already at record levels). This is a phenomenon that is also characterizing Italy. However, in Italy given the delay, there is still a lot of room to grow and we expect 2022 to finally see the light of more than one player specialized in venture capital directed towards agrifood”.

Chiara Sattin

Chiara Sattin — COO of Agriturismo Borgo Buzzaccarini — Founding member of the association

“I hope that in the new year the debate between the specialists will be better focused on the fact that sustainability is not a concept related only to food and agriculture, especially considering the thematic wide of the SDGs. It is therefore time that while we continue to think about the optimization of resources in the agricultural field the overall vision essential to advance on the path of sustainable development sustainability becomes a heritage of all and a common value”.

Paola De Bernardi

Paola De Bernardi — Professor at University of Turin — Mentor at EIT Food — Member of the association

“We are urgently called to move from linear mass consumption to a circular agri-food economy — which means changing the culture of food, in the various processes by which the agri-food product from the earth reaches the consumer. The involvement of the entire food system supply chain is clearly expressed in the recent European “farm to fork” and “green deal” strategies, of which the “circular action plan” is one of the main pillars. These policies highlight the need for a change in the behavior of food production, transformation, distribution and consumption that must take place collectively, with joint governance at local, national and international level, through the adoption of a mix of measures — training , tax incentives, certifications and circularity measures, subsidized loans, etc. — that are aimed at having an impact on the resilience and sustainability of agri-food systems. Here’s the underlying principles of a circular strategy

1) Producing food in a regenerative way

2) Eliminate food waste and losses along value chains

3) Productively enhancing resources, energy and by-products and food waste, generating new value with upcycled food and innovative production lines.

In this context, companies in the food supply chain play a central role in the transition processes towards “food circularity”, innovating their business models and generating new market opportunities.

How to enable the innovation of circular business models? Through four levers of change in the value chains:

a) the development of a culture of food circularity — which does not only mean fighting “food loss and waste”;

b) the use of digital technologies as an enabling factor;

c) the development of market innovation, where consumers assume a central and active role in the creation of new products and services;

d) the creation of an effective regulatory system and incentives to support companies in the generation of resilient and circular agri-food ecosystems”.

Andrea Zorzetto

Andrea Zorzetto — Managing Partner of Plug and Play Italy — Member of the association

“In 2022, food will be fast and sustainable. In Italy, food delivery services, in particular e-grocery, will mature in line with customer needs; an example is the depth of the offer of the Macai q-commerce app (see over) that can make it an addition and not just an alternative to traditional shopping. The realities that deal with reducing food waste and that choose increasingly engaging and educational communications, such as Babaco and its sustainable fruit and vegetable boxes, are also on trend. Looking abroad, we will see a growth of sustainable solutions related to the reduction of CO2 emissions in the agri-food chain and alternatives to products of animal origin such as meat and dairy products”.

Alessandro Annovi

Alessandro Annovi - Manager, Innovation and Strategy Manager of CIRFOOD, Business Angel - Member of the association

“We are experiencing extremely complex times, challenging times, which are revealing all kinds of new opportunities. Our country has many strengths, one of which is the uniqueness of its food: food in the sense of what is on our tables, but most of all, everything that lies behind the supply chain and often is not easily perceived.I’m sure that we will rise to the challenge of global competition, bringing to the fore those distinctive factors that set us apart and the resilience which few countries in the world can boast”.

Piero Manzoni

Piero Manzoni, CEO of Neorurale Hub and member of the association

“The Italian (and not only) agri-food chain needs a change of direction in terms of biodiversity, soil protection, saving of natural resources and a circular economy. Knowledge and competences are the foundations and innovation is the key to trigger the shift towards food supply chains that become a means for fighting climate change by redesigning agriculture, food industry, organic waste management and peri-urban spaces into resources for cities, humans and the environment”.

Giulia Silenzi — Head of Foodtech Accelerator

“2021 has been a record-breaking year for foodtech and 2022 promise to be even bigger. New technologies and processes are taking over the plant-based segment and will contribute to its mainstreamification in the next year. Consumers are continuing to grow conscious of the importance of diet for disease prevention and this will drive growth for the personalized nutrition and “food as medicine” ecosystems. Last but not least the ultra-funded q-commerce will (hopefully) confront itself with a complete return to normal and will demonstrate if it was just a VC-backed flash in the pan or a real game changer”

EVER MORE AWARENESS ON INNOVATION BY INDUSTRY PLAYERS

Industry and food retail are giving a huge contribution to the Italian food revolution.

Mariano Spalletti

Mariano Spalletti — Country Manager Italy of Qonto

“According to data collected through a research on the food industry run by Qonto in December 2021, digitalization will be accelerating in 2022, with 80% of companies operating in the sector investing in their digital transformation. In an industry that has been profoundly impacted by the pandemics, with a high potential for innovation, recovery measures to support businesses will boost adoption of digital services: data show that 96% of food companies investing in their digitalization will rely on PNRR’s (Next Generation) fundings in 2022”.

Emanuele Preve

Emanuele Preve — CFO of Riso Gallo

“This year I’ve continued to invest in italian start-ups, the aim is to develop and help this generation of founder to better approach the market and the difficult dynamics I would like that there will be more cooperation between MidCap and Startups/Scale Up, This cooperation would be very helpful for both side and will improve ecosystem”.

Roberto Colombo

Roberto Colombo — CEO of Rossopomodoro

“Italian Food Service is still in a phase of uncertainty, although obviously far from the lockdown period but we can certainly look to 2022 with optimism albeit with a pinch of prudence. Taking a step back covid in the midst of disasters has also allowed us to stop and think about how to improve the sector, promoting the development of digital, delivery above all, which will increasingly be an integral part of the entire sector. Suffice it to say that the incidence of food delivery in Rossopomodoro has gone from 3/4% pre-covid to 10% today. Apart from digital, we obviously strongly believe in the recovery and for this reason, we will continue on the path undertaken for many years, namely that of growth. By our side, we will continue to expand both in Italy, even in travel retail and abroad. In fact, Oscar Farinetti, founder of Eataly has thus declared “Eataly North America and Rossopomodoro, the Neapolitan pizza brand, together in development for another 9 years”.

Giacomo Fanin

Giacomo Fanin — Business Development Manager of Cereal Docks

“I think 2022 can be the year of resurgence for the Italian FoodTech ecosystem as I perceive that food companies are increasingly becoming proactive players in the Italian open innovation scene, each with its different approaches and models the same intervention of institutions is promoting the growth of the ecosystem and we hope that even in our sector there is even more force unloaded on the ground by them. For Cereal Docks, 2022 will see the birth of our Corporate VC which will invest in some specific areas of FoodTech in Italian and European startup seed stages hoping that our contribution will also feed the entire ecosystem”.

Eda Fetahu

Eda Fetahu — Open innovation expert at Amadori

“Food innovation in Italy can be considered as a construction site, where we can still see the cranes. In the last years we have been able to build the groundwork, and now we are going up. This has been possible thanks to the change in mindset, that’s now more internationally oriented, and I wish that Italy could soon pull into the wake of the most important european foodtech countries, such as France or Spain. In the last years we watched ever more people that understood the importance of the ecosystem and how it can create added value. We are watching ever more companies starting collaboration with startups and launching open innovation programs. Next year we will keep raising the bar, firstly by Amadori”.

Michele Carretta

Michele Carretta — R&D specialist & team open innovation at Parmalat Italy

“What I wish in 2022 for the Italian food innovation ecosystem is a more collaborative network , to produce results at national level : less innovation theater , more pragmatic activities, that can lead to tangible business results. To do this I believe that institutions have a lead role to boost the innovation scenario as a whole , together with CVC , startups, big corporates and PMI . My proposal is to define some clear guidelines for all the stakeholders, about the steps & actions to implement a correct strategy & approach to open innovation : less is more , and to create a powerful ecosystem a lean execution is necessary now more than ever, to take the chance of PNRR. The mission is clear : agrifoodtech as a key driver for an exponential growth of our country”.

INVESTMENTS: WILL WE SEE THE HORIZON LINE?

You can’t celebrate a wedding with just dried figs”, it’s one Italian expression meaning that without money you can’t do anything. And I said it.

Marco Gaiani

Marco Gaiani — Founder of Linfa Ventures

“It is known that complex structures change by accumulating linear evolutions over time which then manifest themselves with discontinuous and non-linear changes. It is basically the Hegelian law of the transformation of quantity into quality which also applies to innovation ecosystems. I have the impression that this is happening to the Italian Foodtech ecosystem. What started out as a very visionary (glass half empty) or unrealistic (glass half full) movement has reached a moment of discontinuity. This happened due to a series of known facts. The physiological maturation of the actors (start-ups, stakeholders, some investors). A progressive awareness at the level of the country system of the incredible opportunity that we were missing. A media hype — at times even excessive. And finally, an exogenous catalyst with the COVID 19 crisis and the PNRR.

The opportunity is objectively enormous. A successful Foodtech ecosystem would allow the building of new national champions would give more credibility to the country system and would help the whole world of Italian innovation. Not all the pieces are still in place. There are still no clear successful exits. The Corporate world does not give the support it could, in my opinion. Just to give two examples. However, we at Linfa Ventures believe in it. By launching the first vertical fund on Foodtech, our ambition — in addition to repaying the trust of our investors with excellent deals — is to help finally get this ecosystem off the ground”.

Giancarlo Addario

Giancarlo Addario — Principal of Five Seasons Ventures

“It’s time for Italian entrepreneurs to open their minds beyond the Italian borders. The way they create their vision and ambition, they design products and business plans, they build competence and they fundraise, needs to be (at least) Europe-wide. The strong cultural heritage in food and agriculture could be a strong differentiator, but it’s not The Polar Star, being only one of the many available resources to leverage the growth of the business”

AGRITECH: ITALY CAN HAVE A VOICE

Indoor/vertical farming and precision agriculture can be considered as two pillars of Italian agriculture for today and tomorrow.

Luigi Galimberti

Luigi Galimberti — Founder and CEO of Sfera Agricola.

“I don’t know if 2022 will be the year of agrofood tech but it could be. For next year we expect to exceed 2 billion investments in startups in our country, while this year we are close to 1.5 billion. The pandemic and the growth of the Italian VC Market are there, so the two main planets are aligned but now we need many more ambitious projects, such as Sfera, not afraid to fall in opening a market and marking the history. Looking at what is happening in the US and in the capitals of Northern Europe yesterday and today, it is clear that in 2022 it could also happen here. I hope to see the launch of some nice SPACs, perhaps in Paris for the development of some disruptive projects, as the sector must be razed and rebuilt, because more than innovation, it needs young people, digital native … because as long as you put old farmers in the room and talk to them about blockchain and digital, we will never dig a spider out of the hole. This “old age” of ours in the agricultural sector makes us lose competitiveness on international markets, day after day”.

Luca Travaglini

Luca Travaglini — co-founder and co-CEO of Planet Farms

“My wish for 2022 — says Luca Travaglini, — is to be able to continue contributing to the development of an agri-food system that is increasingly attentive to the health of man and the Planet, capable of to respond to real challenges such as global population growth, food security and climate change. Vertical farming is a concrete and sustainable response to new environmental, social and economic demands. Planet Farms’ innovative cultivation system allows food to be produced everywhere, in larger quantities and with fewer resources, thanks to the use of advanced technologies that are becoming increasingly important in the agri-food sector “.

Niccolò Calandri

Niccolò Calandri — Cofounder and CEO of 3Bee — The “Lord of the Bees”

“BuzzWord 2017 Blockchain

BuzzWord 2018 AI

BuzzWord 2019 Agtech

BuzzWord 2020 Covid

Buzzword 2021 Sustainability — Drink a sip for every “sustainable” in this page.

Are we following buzzwords or are we creating trends?”

Fabiana Surace

Fabiana Surace — Cofounder of Cynomys

“I do not know if 2022 will be the year of resurgence for Italian agri-food innovation but one thing is certain, we cannot wait any longer. The international panorama poses many challenges to the agri-food sector, not only the Italian one. Consumers undisputed protagonists of market choices and therefore of the “command” of production. Each of us in front of the refrigerated counter asks himself many questions that no longer concern only price and taste but origin, transport, farming conditions, farming methods, ethics, fairness, conditions of workers … in short, questions that the sector is called upon to answer also thanks to the use of new technologies. The increasingly restrictive legislation and an increasingly aware market will give Italy a great opportunity for redemption but only if we are ready and competitive. But what does it mean? An example for everyone, which is now very fashionable the blockchain, a wonderful transparency tool, which, however, must be managed with the acquisition of the direct data and not manually entered into the “chain”; because in the end, in that line of code, I can also write that the milk comes from happy cows but if I have not unambiguously and universally defined the criteria of animal welfare, for example, well it’s all smoke and mirrors. In short, breeders, farmers, companies, startups, large-scale distribution, big players, the press, consumers must all be on the same side in order to be able to make informed choices by reconciling productivity and sustainability; otherwise, it will be another missed opportunity. Furthermore, information based on objective, scientific data from authoritative sources can act as a collector for the various players in the sector, but that’s just my opinion”.

Matteo Vanotti

Matteo Vanotti — Cofounder and CEO of xFarm Technologies

“The world of AgTech, both in Italy and globally has become very dynamic and fast. I believe that 2022 will be a turning point, where even the great protagonists of the agricultural world will embrace digital and new technologies. On our side, we are ready to support them and we have strengthened ourselves to be able to do it professionally and guarantee the fast times that the market asks for. All this, to help farms where I myself belong to be more efficient in facing the great challenges that await us. “

NEXT GEN DRINK AND FOOD: THE MADE IN ITALY OF THE FUTURE

Beyond any doubt, Italy missed the boat of alternative proteins and there’s still a kind of resistance to new foods. But there is great room for improvement.

Lorenzo Pezzato

Lorenzo Pezzato — CEO of Fucibo Group

“If 2022 will be the year of resurgence for the Italian food innovation sector, it will depend on many factors that cannot be directly controlled by the operators of the various sectors, given the period we are experiencing. However, there is no doubt that Italian foodtech will not stop doing research, innovation and market actions, as well as marketing. The reason is quite obvious: the unsustainability of our current system of food production and consumption is now at the highest levels, choosing alternatives is no longer an opportunity but a necessity urgent and the alternatives are ready, they only need to be supported in their growth and diffusion. Regarding the edible insect products sector specifically, we see a growing interest from consumers and investors which is consequently leading to an important growth of the companies involved. We believe that consumption will be oriented towards foods — traditional or innovative — healthy, sustainable, of quality, good to eat. Among the innovative, from our point of view edible insects are at the top of the list for the extraordinary set of nutritional values ​​they contain and for being one of the cornerstones on which to base circular economy systems”.

Alberto Musacchio

Alberto Musacchio — CEO of Food Evolution

“Regarding plant-based, in recent years there has been a marked acceleration in Italy but it is still not enough. More awareness is needed, primarily by the institutions, on the need to embrace more respectful diets on the planet. Trend is in any case constantly growing and we will continue to create “products awareness” alongside our “brand awareness”.

Felippe Fontanelli

Felippe Fontanelli — Head of European expansion at Future Farm

“The future is Plant-Based, there is no doubt! 2022 will be the year of alternatives. This awareness is growing more and more among Italians mainly in urban areas but not only. The young audience is the most sensitive to the subject and open to experimenting in the kitchen. There are vegans, vegetarians and more… in this exponentially growing market. The most interesting public for the market is rightly the “not only” made up of onlookers and people with a desire for more sustainable consumption who do not necessarily want to cut meat from their menus but to reduce it. This comes out of the latest Coop 2021 Report — Consumption and lifestyles of Italians today and tomorrow found that 1 Italian out of 6 they say they are climatarians that is those who change their meat consumption to reduce the impact on the environment. And 13% is decreasing the consumption of meat in their diet: it is the reducetarians who are aiming for more natural alternatives. The Italian market will be increasingly targeted by more Italian and foreign companies interested in taking a slice of this market. But the Italian public is demanding and it is necessary to offer quality products with consistent brands committed to sustainability”.

Andrea Ambrosoli

Andrea Ambrosoli — CEO of Herbamelle

“First of all, I do not see improvements in consumption on the contrary I fear a contraction given by the monstrous increase in raw materials, only for our packaging we are in the order of 30% on average … the rest I am not telling about it so as not to get depressed … This situation will inevitably lead to increases in the price of products on the shelves and as you well know the more food products increase the more consumption contracts. In short, I don’t think there will be a real restart but a year of transition with many difficulties and the pandemic emergency will certainly put the Food and non-Food markets to the test. Having said that we are gearing up for our restart with new projects both in co-marketing and in product innovation with a new line of sugar-free candies in a super fashion and very international pack truly unique for visuals. Therefore, our restart will be marked as always by the development of new projects and at the same time looking for new sales channels that can implement both volumes and contact with new consumers that are not only those of supermarkets. Another important resource is abroad, even here those who want to leave must make a further effort to try to find new distributors and increase the presence of the company in as many countries as possible the international vision of the market applied to their products can become the keystone to overcome this moment, certainly not easy”.

Riccardo Bottiroli

Riccardo Bottiroli — New Food Product Development expert

“My answer is, sadly, no. More we step into the food of the future, the easier it is to realize the marginal role Italy is playing. If we compare, for example, the plant-based meat analog section of most Italian supermarkets with the one of a random one in Nord Europe, the gap in food innovation and consumer awareness on sustainable food production is evident. Overall, all the alt-protein products developed so far will consolidate their position in different market. More and more VCs will invest capital accordingly, but not in Italy unfortunately. Technology wise, the gap I see will be even wider: next year we will experience the consolidation of cultured meat and precision fermentation as novel technology for producing animal-like products. In the current scenario, there are no companies or startups in Italy working on these revolutionising technologies. Last year I wrote “Game-changing food products require game-changing approaches to new product development. This is, in my opinion, the essential prerequisite for building up the food system of the future”. As long as the Italian food sector will rely on an outdated approach to create new products, matching the expectations of the future generations will be difficult to achieve”.

BLOCKCHAIN: GETTIN’ON BUT STILL LOT TO DO

Blockchain can be still considered a buzzword but in Italy, we have some strong players working hard to make it a real and consolidated trend.

Marco Vitale

Marco Vitale — Cofounder and CEO of Foodchain

“2022 year of redemption? Absolutely. It’s time that the actors that make up the agri-food chain become aware that counterfeiting of controlled origin products and “Italian Sounding” products put honest companies in front of lost revenues for billions of euros. Only with the use of innovative technologies, such as Blockchain, can we protect our supply chains, our producers, who could enhance the value of what they produce with so much effort, and the final consumers, who would have the security of buying a quality product. We have seen a growing interest in Blockchain technology combined with agri-food and all disruptive technologies such as AI, precision agriculture, Remote Sensing, IoT. The technologies are mature, as is the market.

Marco is even a founding member of Quadrans Foundation, which aims to revolutionize the blockchain and crypto market. Do you wanna know more? Take a look at this video.

Alessandro Conti

Alessandro Conti — Market Lead Italy at Connecting Food

“The Italian Food industry is highly efficient from a production standpoint. But market demands and new legislation are putting pressure on the industry to measure sustainability, check authenticity, and food safety. To respond to this, without losing cost-effectiveness, the industry needs to become data-driven. Within this space, the Italian Foodtech ecosystem can, and must play a central role to make 2022 the breakthrough year”.

RESTAURANT-TECH: THE BEST OF ITALIAN FOODTECH

In my opinion, Restaurant-tech is along with agritech the best that Italy can offer in the field of agrifood-tech. Some examples? As aforementioned, let’s consider the growth of Ristorante del futuro and the e-book Restaurant-Tech.

Source: E-book Restaurant-Tech
Ivan Aimo

Ivan Aimo — Cofounder and CEO of Deliveristo — Member of Ristorante del futuro

“During 2021, Italy has finally reached the wall of 1B€ VC funding: we are where Spain was 4–5 years ago and France 7 years ago. First signs of an ecosystem that is starting to grow in the right direction though 2022 must be a year of further growth and the country’s key pillars such as food should be one of the main points on which to bet on”.

Marco Simonini

Marco Simonini — Cofounder and CMO of Dishcovery — Member of Ristorante del futuro

“Technological tools have been used by the Ho.Re.Ca sector to overcome the limitations of the pandemic. Now that the industry is experiencing a recovery, it has understood that technology has not only served to overcome the crisis, but represents a real ally for optimizing workflows, increasing sales and visibility. 2022 will therefore see a strong growth in digital systems which will also allow guests to add to the display of the menus in digital format, the possibility of ordering and paying directly through the tools. An established trend abroad that will also take hold in Italy”.

Eleonora Bove

Eleonora Bove — Cofounder and CMO of Deliverart — Partner of the e-book

“The food-tech market in Europe is one of the most promising in the world. Especially in Italy, where the hospitality industry is an excellence, the adoption of new technologies will be the real competitive advantage. A customer-centric approach and the ability to exploit new services will shape the scenario of the restaurateurs of tomorrow, rewarding those who will adapt quickly.”

Max D’Urso

Massimiliano D’Urso — Cofounder and CEO of Smart Touch Menu — Partner of the e-book

“In 2022, Italian food service will look with less distrust at the potential of technology and digital tools. The digital transformation will begin to take place gradually. It will start with simple solutions, such as digital menus and “do-it-yourself” orders via App and smartphone, up to digitally managing entire processes. All supported by greater awareness of the professional use of digital tools such as social media and instant messaging”.

Mattia Ferretti

Mattia Ferretti — Cofounder and CEO of JoJolly — Member of Ristorante del futuro

“This pandemic period has shown how imperative it is for the restaurant industry to move closer to innovative business management solutions, data on industry openings and closings for 2020 are in line with the pre pandemic period and this is a surprising result. and extraordinary if we think of one of the sectors most affected by the crisis.

If 2020/21 was the starting year of this process, in the years to come, innovation and digitalization will be the protagonists of a real revolution in the sector”.

Antonio Ruscitti

Antonio Ruscitti — Cofounder and CEO of Dishup — Partner of the e-book

“The biggest challenges facing the restaurant industry have prompted companies to review their models. Nearly six out of seven restaurants made corporate investments in 2021 and activated new acquisition channels. The 2022 goal is to make these channels work together to create a lean and omnichannel restaurant that provides a customer experience of value. New restaurant technology is the key to entering the future. Nearly two in three restaurateurs say automation would address critical issues in managing online orders. Technology can also help solve new challenges. Restaurants have adapted by changing business models, investing in omnichannel solutions, modernizing kitchen automation and evolving to meet the needs of their business and customers”.

Anthony Byron Prada

Anthony Byron Prada — Cofounder and CEO of Hotbox Food — Member of Ristorante del futuro

“The love for food is universal. Food delivery and related devices and technologies are becoming a booming market and always more a need for consumers, especially during this pandemic period. At Hotbox we strive to provide the best technology in the world. “You taste the food, not the journey”.

Nicola Faedi

Nicola Faedi — CEO of Eatsready — Member of Ristorante del futuro

“Digital payments are growing fast and I think that in the next year we will see something interesting from the startup ecosystem, maybe with the introduction of the cripto-currencies also in Italy.

Respect the meal voucher market, I think that has to be more etichal respect the conditions provided for the restaurant sector. With EatsReady we believe that is a key factor in order to produce not only innovation, but also a sustainable growth”

DIGITAL FOOD: THE NEW CONSUMER MODELS OF ITALIAN PEOPLE

Extremely and obviously boosted by the pandemic, digital food is another sub-sector in which Italy can have a great voice.

Andrea Lippolis

Andrea Lippolis — Founder and CEO of Feat Food

“Certainly, compared to previous years, progress has been made for the Agri-Food Tech sector in Italy, but we are still too far from the models and ecosystems of the rest of Europa to hope for a revolution in the sector in 2022. We need to attract players internationally, leading them to bet on the emerging realities of the beautiful country and return to being competitive in one of the sectors for which we have always been esteemed and recognized”.

Domenico Pascarella

Domenico Pascarella — Cofounder and CMO of Alfonsino — Partner of the e-book “Restaurant-tech”

“2022 will be the year of independent producers. And q-commerce will be the vehicle for these small businesses, not just for sell their products, but above all to take advantage of the media trailthat the various Gorillas, Getir, GoPuff, Picnic and many other quick commerce are leaving. In 2022 we will even see a fight between big retailers and. vs G.O.D. Although the market is still dominated by the first, the latter is revolutionizing the world of shopping, with related habits on the part of consumers. If large supermarket chains do not adapt to this change in 2022, they will find many difficulties, risking to lose considerable market shares. Finally. 2022 will be the year of 360 delivery: while q-commerce scare large-scale retailers, delivery companies such as Alfonsino, and others are launching horizontalization processes, offering users more shopping opportunities beyond the classic food delivery”.

Sara Menato

Sara Menato — Cofounder and CMO of Sommelier Wine Box

“The Italian agri-food sector — and the world of wine in particular — did not hold back in the face of the challenges that the pandemic has posed, above all digitization.

2022 will be an important year if we are able to innovate by intercepting people’s needs and desires. If I had to bet, I would focus on three themes: environmental sustainability, customization of the offer, the story of the quality that makes Made in Italy great in a concrete, simple way, for everyone”.

Edoardo Tribuzio

Edoardo Tribuzio — Cofounder and CEO of Mymenu — Partner of the e-book “Restaurant-tech”

“In 2022, we will continue towards an ever greater concentration of operators on the market, there will be 2 or 3 at most, whose apps are already on the smartphone of each user and intended to meet different needs that may arise over the course of several days or even the same day (lunch, dinner, shopping, quality dinner, affordable lunch, etc.); more and more advent of food service business exclusively dedicated to delivery and takeaways: the restaurants are not structured — and do not have the margins — to withstand the mass of volumes that will follow a greater penetration of services such as Mymenu, in this sense they are already gaining ground autonomous realities such as dark kitchens dedicated to delivery or even really existing restaurants outsource the production of their dishes for these sales channels”.

Giovanni Cavallo

Giovanni Cavallo — Founder and CEO of Macai

“2021 has been an incredible year in terms of growth of the European foodtech ecosystem, with a new record in terms of deals led by US investors. Italy is trying to fill the gap, let’s work all together to be more attractive and finally start talking about having a proper impact on the market!” .

A new beginning for Italian food?

That’s a wide overview about what we will see in the Italian food market in 2022..

What’s your opinion? Have you liked this article? Feel free to drop a comment and/or share it in your network

Do you wanna know more about what I do? Drop me an e-mail to antonio@thefoodcons.com and follow me on my social media

Keep in touch!

Antonio Iannone

--

--

--

Passionate agrifoodtech professional

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Antonio Iannone

Antonio Iannone

Passionate agrifoodtech professional

More from Medium

Should We Advertise Parks?

A National Parks ad that has a big rock with trees on top coming out of a body of water on the right matched with a lady’s head on the right

THE MULTIPLE TRANSFORMATIONAL HANDSHAKES METHOD

Tools & Organization Tips for Private Music Teachers

The Importance of Belonging and WHY it Matters More than the Result