As the food industry focuses on water savings for sustained growth, Lux Research rates 39 companies with technologies that can help
BOSTON, MA – October 24, 2012 – With world food prices soaring 70% in just ten years, the $4 trillion food and beverage industry, from farm to market shelf, faces enormous pressure to grow capacity for a hungry world in the face of enormous water and environmental risk. With manufacturers hitting practical limits in their water efficiency, the industry is looking farther upstream to control its massive water risk, according to a report by Lux Research.
“The food industry accounts for nearly a quarter of all water withdrawn worldwide, and the vast majority of that is for agriculture,” said Brent Giles, Lux Research Senior Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Farm to Factory: Technology in Reducing Water Risk in the Food and Beverage Industry.”
“Rising real wealth, growing at 5% worldwide, is accelerating consumer demand for water-intensive and processed foods at the same time climate change threatens traditional growing and processing practices. Even major supermarkets are now demanding to know whether the food they sell is sustainable. The industry is far from delivering a reassuring answer. We will see massive increases in resource-efficient agriculture in underdeveloped areas of Eastern Europe and Africa, and a significant rise in local greenhouse farming for high value crops. All of this will require widespread deployment of technologies that are currently being tested in the highest value markets,” he added.
Lux Research ranked 39 technology developers with the potential to transform the space on the Lux Innovation Grid based on their Technical Value and Business Execution – companies that are strong on both axes reach the “Dominant” quadrant – and also assessed each company’s maturity, and provided an overall Lux Take. Among their findings:
- Dynamax and Zim corner a profitable niche in direct plant monitoring. Dynamax falls into the “Dominant” quadrant with a product that monitors sap flow in the living plant, along with European startup Zim. Direct monitoring allows seed developers to better understand performance of their new breeds, and helps growers in high-end agriculture, most notably wine grapes and tree fruits which represent enormous long-term investment and benefit from carefully measured water stress.
- AquaSpy and Capilix monitor field conditions. Aquaspy uses wireless moisture sensor probes to improve algorithms for watering. Capilix monitors water quality in recirculating greenhouse water. Both companies are well positioned for accelerating changes in the agriculture industry.
- Bilexys and Emefcy are potential future leaders. Taking advantage of rich, predictable waste streams from food and beverage manufacturers to drive experimental microbial fuel cells, Bilexys and Emefcy are “High Potential” firms that may yet deliver on the promise of extracting valuable energy and chemicals directly from industrial wastewater.
The report, titled “Farm to Factory: Technology in Reducing Water Risk in the Food and Beverage Industry,” is part of the Lux Research Water Intelligence service.