The rise of the food-tech industry in 2020

New Delhi: According to a report by Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Indias online food ordering market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25-30 per cent to touch $7.5-8 billion by 2022, up from $4 billion.

This brings good news for multiple food technology brands, including the world’s largest fish and meat online e-commerce platform FreshToHome, which managed to raise a total of $121 million in a Series C funding in a year that was full of upheavals for most businesses.

Greater internet penetration into tier 2 and 3 markets has worked as a catalyst for online food companies such as Licious, Grofers, BigBasket, Zappfresh, and Milkbasket, as more and more people shifted from conventional retail markets to online food deliveries during the pandemic. This, coupled with their accelerated reach resulted in newer groups of customers and higher profits.

Moreover, mobile-based apps, tech integration including QR-based menu display, contactless payments, online meals customisation, online tracking and tracing of ingredients, and AI-enabled smart camera-aided services in the food industry have become norms today. This integration of technology with food is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 25-30 per cent to $8 billion by 2022.

Rapid digitization and a consistently growing consumption multiplied the reach of food tech aggregators between 2017-2019 by six times, according to a report by Google and BCG. And if statistics are anything to go by, even the time spent exploring and ordering food online has almost doubled from 32 minutes in 2017 to 72 minutes a month in 2019. It is also anticipated that the food ordering frequency is estimated to rise by 18-20 per cent, though average order values may slow down by 5-10 per cent as consumers order smaller portions but in higher numbers.

Food lovers are ready to pay for food tech innovations for the convenience it offers without compromising on quality. Today’s consumers are well aware of food fraud and therefore they are keen to know everything including the ingredients used in their food, traceability of their source, as well as a variety of health and hygiene factors.

That is exactly why FreshToHome which sells FSSAI and TUV certified products comes across as a winner. The platform offers the freshest meat and fish with AI-powered supply chain technology, aided by a cold chain used by its sellers. Standing by its brand promise of “100 per cent Fresh and 0 per cent Chemicals,” the platform aims to more than double its revenue to Rs 1,500 crore over the next 12 months, driven by growth across the business, including its ‘FTH Daily’ service.

FTH Daily is a daily delivery service by FreshToHome that specializes in delivering milk, groceries, fruits, vegetables, and daily essentials. Available in Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Pune, the service has about 2,000 products, which is being scaled up to 5,000. The company expects the number of orders on FTH Daily to rise to 4-5 million by next year.

It is safe to say that the pandemic-accelerated consumer interest towards a more holistic approach to health has led the food tech industry to rapidly emerge as one of the fastest-growing in India and is now changing the way the country eats.