Food is an ever-changing landscape defined by its unique ability as both a fundamental commodity and business opportunity. For instance, the revolution for plant-based food products not only launched trailblazing sustainable businesses, but it also introduced consumers to unconventional concepts for what’s possible. Food companies are now creating the flavors of the future with technology as their main ingredient.

The following are some of the most exciting food concepts by food and tech startups driven by innovation, technology, and sustainability.

Innovation

Professional chefs creating new innovative pasta recipe
Professional chefs creating new innovative pasta recipe
Notpla

Many foodies on social media have certainly seen the wave of using banana leaves as a package free alternative in Thailand. But here’s another cool thing. What about packaging-free containers for your ketchup packets? Notpla, a developing startup brand based in London, rids of conventional plastic containers using brown seaweed as a component. Their innovative alternative concept is nicknamed “Ooho” launching variable products and machinery to create sustainable food items for the future.

According to the product info, Ooho containers are bio-degradable and begin to degrade in just a few weeks. Your next ketchup packet will not only be safe for the environment, but you can eat the whole thing as a snack, too. With ongoing campaigns for plastic bans in American cities like New York and San Francisco, the delicious innovation for Notpla is an interesting alternative to see.

Block Chain Food Trust via IBM

General consumers are now interested in understanding where their food comes from. This need for sustainable sourcing is not a new concept; however, combining a new program with technology can become revolutionary. Enter IBM with its jarring push for a global network system that is transparent and accessible with ease. It’s called blockchain, and its massive potential is incredible, to say the least.

“Using blockchain for trusted transactions, food can be quickly traced back to its source in as little as a few seconds instead of days or weeks. Unlike traditional databases, the attributes of blockchain and the ability to permission data, enables network members to gain a new level of trusted information. Transactions are endorsed by multiple parties, leading to an immutable single version of the truth.”

The IBM Food Trust platform already consists of notable food company giants like American based Wakefern Food Corporation. In 2018, the French food group Carrefour also committed membership to the trust. It’ll be exciting how IBM can make this happen. It’s almost like that one scene in Portlandia. Though it probably won’t be as funny without Fred Armisen, information of all food sourcing inquiries will be clear and readily available.

Products

Clear glass jars full of food products
Clear glass jars full of food products

Tired of the same old vegetarian options you see in stores? Check out the cool products from food startups, as well as big companies, who are hoping to cash in on the sustainable trend. You can find them on retail shelves and through online ordering.

RightRice

Vegetable-based rice alternatives with flavors like Cilantro Lime, Lemon Pepper, and Thai Curry

Sweet Earth Foods via Nestle Brand

Awesome Burgers

Cerebelly

Organic and nutritious Baby Food

Chickpea Protein

Milk alternative made with Chickpeas

Tech

Person typing on a computer keyboard
Person typing on a computer keyboard
Wasteless from the UK

The idea for Wasteless is quite simple: use an algorithm for product management in retail stores’ inventory to determine the number of perishable food products to increase sales. How? Set the price lower. “It doesn’t make sense to go to the supermarket and then to pay the same price for a cheese that expires in two days or seven days,” explains CEO and Co-Founder Oded Omer. He expresses that with combining technology and dynamic pricing, stores would reduce fewer products left on the shelf and creates an incentive for customers.

Imagine having to stock a tall shelf with cans of tuna. Clerks would price them with a pricing gun, update the pricing stickers as the product loses shelf-life throughout the weeks or months, and at the expiring date, you’re left with 50% percent of your old product collecting dust. With Wasteless, Omer introduces its management system with a simple pricing factor for seamless inventory.

Ghost Kitchens

As restaurants are struggling today with the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants are kicking in innovative ways to keep food orders coming in. Third-party delivery apps create an easy experience for hungry diners. But for the restaurant, their fickle revenue stream overall has decreased due to limited national social distancing precautions. In the US, only some states have ruled against such precautions.

Restauranteurs push for an immediate return to packing their empty seats, violating adjusted social distancing rules, and then have to close. Not to mention the delivery apps charge a sizable fee most restaurants can hardly afford. Enter ghost kitchens, a concept for sharing a commissary kitchen space, available to both existing restaurants and an opportunity for entrepreneurs to cash in on delivery sans brick and mortar.

Are there any food startups you’re excited about this year? Let us know in the comments!

This article originally published on GREY Journal.