The Nordics were one of the first to leverage the internet to transform the food industry, with Danish Just-Eat one of the most successful tech companies that the region has produced. Yet despite this early trailblazing, subsequently the Nordics have been pretty quiet, particularly in the food delivery revolution that has gripped most of Europe over the last few years, with the exception of Finland’s Wolt.
That’s not to say that the Nordics are not producing food startups though, just that these companies seem to be looking at other points in the innovation of the food industry value chain as well.
*Data source: Dealroom
Most noticeable is how diverse the companies Nordic FoodTech startups are in terms of the problems that they are tackling, with a difference of just 6 companies between the most and least popular sub-sector.
One thing that Nordic Food startups aren’t afraid of tackling are the hardest and biggest areas. Rather than a deluge of food delivery startups that we see in other European countries, they’re working on food startups that can solve global problems and are not limited to regional plays, as delivery often is. This is both smart, but also systematic of the Nordic startup scene, thinking global from day one and having the ambition to change something that makes a real difference.
Innovating food itself, whether it is food substitutes, supplements, improvements has the potential to change the way we consume and produce food, something that is much more impactful than simply delivering it, and simultaneously speaks to a bigger business opportunity. Likewise, with waste reduction. Even still, it is perhaps surprising that most companies in the space are working on these two issues, but with more traditional areas such as delivery and online ordering arguably saturated, it makes sense to look at other parts of the value chain.
For those interested in discovering Nordic FoodTech companies, you are probably best served by looking at Finland, as they currently have the most companies working in the space, with Sweden close behind.
*Data source: Dealroom
For a race that the Nordics were once leading, it’s one that they simply haven’t been at the races for in the last couple of years, however by looking beyond delivery, it’s possible that it won’t be long until they are out in front once more.
Further reading: Food Delivery Tech: Battle for the European Consumer