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How food tech startups are disrupting the industryBy Silky SinghThanks to the boom of foodtech, at the click of a mouse or a tap on ourscreens, we can have delicious meals and scrumptious desserts right at ourdoorstep. And this ease has led to the birth of a deluge of startups andbusinesses.Foodtech startups have revolutionized the way Indians consume food. Fromsmartphone equipped delivery personnel to an app powered by routingalgorithms, this innovating space has transformed the way we look at food likenever before. Many of the unconventional startups into the Food Tech domainare disrupting the industry with the exceptional adoption of thesetechnologies. The space is so sizzling that even the investors are unable to stopthemselves from taking a plunge in this sector.Transformation of Customers Technology has not only changed the way we view food — the consumersthemselves have shifted. Due to the advent of tech and startups, consumershave become time conscious where tracking is imperative at every step, rightfrom- when a customer orders, the restaurant starts its preparation to findingthe right driver to deliver it. Also, they demand high quality and are nowinterested in customizing their food experiences in real life. Socialplatforms like Instagram and Snapchat have made it easy for consumers tobecome “food producers,” create user-generated content that brands can share.These days, it seems like people are more and more interested in taking a deepdive into the food they’re eating and where it’s coming from — than actuallyeating it.A quick glance at the Stats With new consumer demographics comprising young, urban-dwelling workingprofessionals driving its growth, foodtech has been amongst the most promisingsectors within the Indian startup ecosystem. Segments like grocery delivery,personal chefs, box delivery, and on-demand meals are becoming increasinglypopular, leading to an unprecedented number of startups joining the race formarket share. The Indian food industry, the sixth-largest in the world, hasseen unprecedented growth in terms of size and revenues over the past fiveyears. Retail startups contribute about 70% to the total sales, while foodprocessing companies account for the balance of 30% of the country’s overallfood market. A high-growth sector, the Indian food industry is poised for evenmore significant growth with the use of tech and estimated to $894.98 Bn insize by 2020, while the food service industry is expected to reach $78 Bn by2018.As the technology is increasingly contributing to food’s journey from the farmto the fork. Let’s have a look at the most promising food tech applicationsaround which are used by the startups-Rise of Cloud Kitchen By shifting the focus from the core food delivery business, food techcompanies are working on slashing costs and serving good quality food. In thatquest, the companies have found a cloud kitchen as one of the mediums to gaintraction of the Indian consumers and offer lip-smacking food at customers’doorstep. A cloud kitchen is the latest modification of low-budgetrestaurants, which could not provide seating space to the customers. Theseestablishments exist only to cook and deliver food to customers who placeonline orders. Although you cannot pick up orders directly because there areno storefronts, consumer demand heavily influences ghost restaurants. Thisconcept is new in the Indian industry, while in foreign countries, giant food-tech firms are employing it massively and expanding their footprint in thecloud kitchen niche.The food-tech industry embraces Robotics and Machines The use of machines in the food industry also ensures quality andaffordability. By using machines, it drives down the costs of keeping the foodfresh and increases productivity. Reports say the rise of robotics in the foodindustry is a tangible example of food tech. The number of robots in theglobal food industry is well over 30,000, while the number of robots per10,000 employees rose from 62 in 2013 to 84 in 2018. Robotic machines can helpto eliminate safety issues for the more dangerous jobs in the food industry.In 2016, a tech company rolled out a program for butchery. By using robots tocut the more difficult of the meats, they can save many work injuries. This isjust one of the many ways technology can improve the industry.3-D printing in the food-tech The idea of 3D printed food isn’t exactly mouth-watering, but the technologystands to disrupt the food industry on at least some level. There have beenseveral applications of 3-D printing food from NASA printing a pizza tocreating soft foods for those who cannot chew hard food to consume. It opensthe door for innovation, being able to create many things that we were unableto before while also being able to help with food sustainability.Food technologyis not just about smart ovens anymore–although it is about that, too–it’salso about sensors, health, and a whole lot more. The investors andfoodpreneurs are at large in a win-win situation when it comes to investing orexpanding in food tech, thus leading to the growth of food tech startups inIndia.The author is CEO & CTO at Ripsey. DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETCIO.com doesnot necessarily subscribe to it. 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