Innovation in FoodTech as a Way to Stop World Hunger


Innovation in FoodTech as a Way to Stop World Hunger

Seedstars Global

MAY 12, 2021

It may seem unbelievable that in 2021, when humanity has come such a long way in terms of technology and innovation, world hunger is still an issue. It is estimated that nearly 690 million people in the world are hungry and close to 750 million were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity.



This is without taking the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic into consideration, which may add between 83 and 132 million people to the total number of undernourished people.

Seems like a lot? That’s because it is. Nearly one in ten people around the world are facing malnourishment, with the majority living in Asia and Africa. Hunger and poverty are interconnected so it is no surprise that people living at the World Bank’s poverty line of $1.90 per day cannot afford food as 50-70 percent of their income would go towards it. Most developing countries, often in some kind of a political conflict and burdened by high rates of unemployment, are reliant on importing food which brings the costs up. Having all that in mind, the current predictions say that not only will we not eradicate hunger by 2030, but the number of hungry will surpass 840 million which means almost 10 percent of the predicted world population.

It all starts with the small scale farmer

Another issue is the unsustainability of the global food chain. According to an article in the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, global food production has increased and is producing enough food to feed 10 billion people. Yet, roughly a third of that food is wasted, whether it is because of issues in production, distribution, storage or it simply goes to waste. In developing countries, almost 40 percent of food waste occurs in the early stages of the food value chain and is linked to financial and technical constraints. With such high risks in production, producers have to raise prices for the consumers in order to cover their costs.

Small scale farmers are the basis of agriculture in emerging economies, with their share in the total number of food producers varying between 40-85 percent depending on the country. Seedstars believes that technology must be harnessed as a tool to improve agriculture and food value chains in its entirety- from improving operational processes to making markets and credit easier for farmers to access. We work with private and public partners to support and invest in entrepreneurs leveraging technology that would contribute to creating more sustainable food systems, and ultimately eradicate world hunger.

A partnership to foster innovation

We have teamed up with the Swiss canton of VAUD to showcase some of the most innovative FoodTech and AgriTech startups working on solving some of the issues in the global food chain. The canton has been a frontrunner in food and agriculture innovation since the foundation of Nestlé in 1905, as well as being a leader in entrepreneurship with a quarter of the top 100 Swiss startups being based in Vaud.

The use of technology as the way forward has since been recognized on a national level so The Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley has been created. The purpose of the initiative is to develop, strengthen and promote food innovation in a unique environment where cutting-edge startups are working side by side with leading international companies. The strategic platforms being developed within the initiative are: protein alternatives, precision nutrition & healthy ageing, food systems 4.0, precision farming, and sustainable packaging. Recognizing the importance of innovation in creating a more sustainable food chain, The Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley is organizing the 1st International Food Innovation Conference where new technologies and business models will be discussed. The canton of Vaud is helping with the creation and development of local businesses and in supporting foreign companies in establishing their presence in the canton.

When the UN developed the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, Seedstars has decided to group our portfolio companies based on their alignment with them. We utilise these SDGs as a way to guide the impact goals of the companies and benchmark their successes. Eight percent of companies supported by our first global seed stage fund- Seedstars International Fund 1, are committed to the second SDG goal- Zero Hunger.

Seedstars has impacted over 45,000 farmers

We work with entrepreneurs in applying innovative solutions in agriculture, farming and food supply-chains in order to increase access and quality of food in emerging markets. The winner of the Seedstars World Competition in 2018, AgroCenta is just one example of how digitalization of the agricultural value chain has improved the market and financial services access to smallholder farmers in Ghana. Around 45,000 farmers are actively accessing a structured market that results in higher incomes and less middlemen. But that is not all, around $12 Million USD in loans have also been allocated to smallholder farmers. The impact of the Fund 1 has three main verticals:

  • Improved Food Distribution: Promoting healthy eating habits through cost reductions in the digitization of distribution chains.
  • Digitalization of Smallholder Farming: Leveraging technology can improve productivity and create efficiencies in the food supply chain, improving and increasing access while reducing costs to the end consumer.
  • Improve Farmer Financial Inclusion: Data collection and digital tools improve credit risk models to evaluate smallholders farmers allowing them to participate in financial markets.

We are continuously working on various programs that would provide coaching, training and advice to startups in order to help them scale up and achieve their maximum potential. In partnership with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and their development agency GIZ, six African startups from the food and agriculture sector have gone through the Seedstars Investment Readiness Program.

To find out more about the topic of FoodTech tune into the Grand Finale on May 20th, 2PM CET. Register for the event here and check out the video on Environment from last year in the meantime.


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