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The Top Food and Agriculture Startups of 2020

Joshua Haslun, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
February 25, 2021

In recent years, the majority of growth in the food and beverage industry has gone to companies outside the top 20 players, with smaller and more agile brands capitalizing on the demand for personalized products and rapidly shifting consumer behavior and the farm and fork growing more connected every year.

Numerous challenges, from climate to COVID to human migration, aligned in 2020 to stifle growth across food and agriculture, laying bare technology, food, and health system weaknesses. These vivid impacts are not without opportunity, even as the lines across value chains blur. Picking the right startups and partners to remain ahead in this dynamic period is critical.

As part of our emerging ecosystems in agrifood and health research, we have identified startups and technologies leading the evolution of the industry. Our new list of the top food an agriculture startups of 2020 is based on interviews with key startups in the agrifood space.These startups have been evaluated on their technology, business strategy, leadership, and market positioning. They have all been awarded a “Lux Positive” or “Lux Strong Positive” rating.

Download the Top Food and Agriculture Startups of 2020 Market Map from Lux Research

Our new market map, “Top Food and Agriculture Startups of 2020.” categorizes the startups into four key trends the agrifood industry should be tracking:

  1. The Food Company of 2050 – Major food companies face intense competition from smaller, more agile brands. With personalization in focus, there are fewer benefits to being big; innovating at an increasingly granular, regiospecific level to address changing consumer demands will be key.

  2. Doing More with Less – Companies whose businesses rely on consumption for top-line growth – from foods to agrichemicals – face pressure to diversify. Meanwhile, producers are reducing resource use, driven by concerns of affordability and scarcity.​ With the exception of new product innovations, linking services and products to measurable outcomes through digital integration is becoming increasingly important.

  3. Transformative Innovations Disrupt the Entire Ecosystem​ – Major transformative innovations underlie the products and services that drive consumer markets; innovations in bioinformatics, POU sensing, and ingredient informatics are disrupting the space to reduce the cost of and resource investment in discovery.​

  4. Consumers’ relationships with health are evolving toward prevention and personalization​ –Prevention and personalization are reshaping consumers’ choices, empowering them to make lifestyle decisions that explicitly influence health outcomes. This will drive massive market potential.

Doing more with less and transformative innovations were the most highly populated of the four trends and highly focused on agricultural solutions, indicating both the need and overall readiness to transition the value of innovative solutions to the food system. This is not to say that the momentum towards the food company of 2050 or consumers’ relationships with health trends are underdeveloped. In fact, the strong presence of key ingredient developers and emerging presence of health IoT and personalized nutrition solutions are synonymous with momentum across food and agriculture. The collective result presents well the leading areas to engage and the types of players to interact with in 2021 as these trends continue forward.

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The named top startups include: TerraCycle, Aphea.Bio, Agrorim, Agritask, Montana Microbial, Solynta, FoodLogiQ, Ceradis Crop Protection, Supplant, ProAgni, Growcentia, SmartSolve, eLEAF, Plantix, SatAgro, Saturas, Azotic Technologies, Pacific GeneTech, Vibe Imaging Analytics, Enko Chem, Tropic Biosciences, Conagen, Descartes Labs, Brightseed, Lavie Bio, Biomeme, Ectosense, LifeFuels, Notpla, Prolupin, Inbiose, and Perfect Day. Download the market map to learn more.

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