7 Israeli food safety & quality startups every manufacturing company should know about

Food safety & quality concerns are costing companies money, both in direct financial costs as well as the depreciation of brand value and image. A 2011 survey on food recalls in Germany estimates the financial impact on the industry at $1.4B/year, while another research estimates the yearly financial burden from food safety & quality failures in the US at $7B/year to the food industry, and a whopping $55.5B to the economy as a whole. The human impact is even more difficult to grasp: in 2013 the UN stated that 420,000 people around the world die every year as a result of eating contaminated food, while over 600 million become temporarily or chronically ill.

This topic is high on the agenda of leaders in the food industry. Manufacturers and food producers are taking these concerns seriously by improving quality standards across the board, incl. introducing best practices in all areas of the supply chain, making changes in company culture, and of course — investing in implementing cutting-edge technologies at scale. Food manufacturers are transforming their business to truly be in control of the entire value chain — from the raw materials to the food on a consumer’s plate.

7 Israeli startups tackling food safety & quality concerns

In order to approach this complex chain in a holistic process, new ways of working must be accompanied by advanced technology — integrated directly into primary processes. Israel, being a hotspot for FoodTech startups, has some interesting solutions for large food manufacturing’s most pressing problems when it comes to food safety & quality. Here are 7 interesting tech startups aiming to solve food safety & quality problems, that every manufacturing company should know about:

1 | Tackling issues regarding raw materials: inspecto

The company developed a portable device that can be easily used to detect food contamination in fields. The solution is user-friendly, easily accessible, and understandable to farmers, producers, suppliers, buyers, and retailers.

2 & 3 | Tackling issues during manufacturing:

Yarok

The company offers innovative technology for bacterial detection, reducing the lead time for getting results from days to 45 minutes, with an extremely high accuracy rate. The company allows for testing technology for finished products, as well as the production environment itself.

Bactusense

The company developed a testing procedure for rapid bacterial detection and quantification in food and water samples. The system’s size can be installed by the production line and used by manufacturing workers easily, alerting any problems in real-time.

4 | Tackling issues regarding allergens: Sensogenic

Food safety & quality solutions are also crucial for consumers, which is especially true when it comes to allergens. Sensogenic developed a smart, easy-to-carry, and multipurpose allergens tester, able to detect a variety of allergens within minutes. This empowers (adult and children) consumers to enjoy food without the constant worry of severe health issues when eating outside their homes.

5 | Tackling issues regarding nutrients and food quality across the supply chain: SCIO

The company offers an IoT solution able to produce nutrient analysis across the entire feed & food supply chain, starting with the feed quality of livestock, relevant attributes for grains, incoming raw materials, nutrients in food & beverages, as well as quality inspections within the manufacturing process itself.

6 | Tackling issues across the entire (cold) supply chain: BT9

Monitoring, tracking, and analyzing food quality-related data, as well as giving recommendations and issuing warnings for relevant stakeholders across the chain — from the producer to the store shelf. Analytics identifies problems early on for responsible parties to take corrective actions to maintain quality in time.

BT9

7 | Tackling issues regarding raw and finished food: Unispectral

The company provides a unique lens that allows capturing information about chemical components of an object, for both B2B and B2C uses. For example, to understand if plans in a field are healthy or water-deprived, or if there are contaminations on raw or even finished food.

These are only 7 tech companies out of a large and growing portfolio of interesting innovations in the FoodTech and AgriTech ecosystem. Another way for traditional manufacturers and food producers to introduce cutting-edge technology and innovation into the organization is not only hiring services but acquiring solutions.

Your M&A strategy should have ‘tech’ all over it

Traditional companies seeking to integrate cutting-edge technology into their operations can either reinvent the wheel or buy it. Instead of putting in a lot of blood sweat and tears, large players can leverage the niche expertise of small, agile, and highly specialized startups, reaping their benefits in a shorter time frame than it would require to develop in-house skills starting from scratch. Notable examples are DowDuPont’s acquisition of farm management software startup Granular for $300 million, John Deere acquired ag robotics startup Blue River Technology for $305 million, and of course McDonald’s purchase of Israeli AI startup Dynamic Yield for $300m in early 2019.

A final word of advice

Spotting relevant tech partners for joint ventures & innovation hubs (e.g. The Kitchen FoodTech Hub of @Strauss, house of innovation) or for acquisitions, is a wise path towards quickly realizing synergies. My conviction is that within the next 3–5 years we’ll see an overhaul in the portfolios of large food manufacturing companies, characterized by a drop-and-replace pattern. This means a rise in divestments — selling off older, stagnant business units, subsidiaries, and companies, and replacing them with small, specialized, and highly innovative tech companies. These smaller tech players will be the ones to provide solutions (and hence, synergies) to serve clients better, expand to new markets, and cater to a changing world.

As food safety & quality issues continue to keep the C-suite of food manufacturing companies awake at night, the need for sophisticated, scalable, and borderless solutions will only grow.

Interested in disruptive innovations such as cultivated meat, vegan yogurt, and other game-changers? Check out my next article about the key trends in customer preferences and their massive impact on the food industry in Israel and around the world.