Eatable Adventures is partnering up with different countries’ foodtech ecosystems to connect Spain to the world. Each month we will present a new partner, giving them a platform to describe their foodtech ecosystem. It is also an opportunity to give visibility to the startups and activities developed by the organization.
The company has built a global network of partnerships with incubators, accelerators, foodtech, and agritech events, academia, investors and governments.
This month we are introducing the Swedish Foodtech Ecosystem. As you will discover below, the Swedish (and Nordic) food tech scene is very developed, strong, and modern. Thanks to their population, culture, and mindset, Sweden was able to go from unknown to a major player in food tech. Here is what Johan Jorgensen, founder of Sweden FoodTech, has to say.
Swedish Foodtech Ecosystem
1. Describing Sweden Foodtech ecosystem
Over the past decade Sweden – with the rest of the Nordics in tow – has gone from obscurity in food circuits to frontrunners in food tech. Many ask how it is possible that countries without deep-rooted food traditions suddenly can play an outsized role in the transformation of a sector so steeped in tradition? I would dare say; just because of that.
Let’s dive a bit deeper with a focus on Sweden, but mind you that the Nordics are a tightly knit part of the world with many connections and common identity. Whatever we say about Sweden virtually also holds true for the rest of the Nordics, a combined market of 30 million people that is the 19th largest country in the world in terms of GDP.
Sweden has 10 million inhabitants, is a highly modern country, not only in terms of its economy but more so its culture. This is where the magic lies and this is where the opportunities can be found. Swedes are modern to the degree of anxiety. If there is a progressive development, Swedes jump onto it. The new religions in Sweden thus are health and sustainability. In fact, the term LOHAS-consumers (Lifestyle of Health And Sustainability) was virtually coined in Sweden and a whopping 40% of the population defines itself as LOHAS. It is as if Manhattan or the trendiest parts of Los Angeles were a country.
This is then combined with a very high degree of tech maturity. The most common job description in Stockholm is “coder” and the city is one of the leading unicorn factories in the world. Thus, there already was a very highly developed tech ecosystem that now spills over into food tech. But it isn’t just Stockholm, activities can be found all around. It is therefore hard to define the specific actors, it is more the ecosystem that pushes food tech in Sweden, an ecosystem that Sweden Foodtech has been instrumental in setting up and pushing.
What regards opportunities; everything that helps people make smarter choices in the direction of health and sustainability. But I would also say; anything that helps companies become better at attacking sustainability issues in the area of food. Or the public sector, for that part. It might seem absurd to many, but in Sweden almost every second meal served outside the home is a public meal, i.e. the free meals in schools, kindergartens, hospitals, elderly care centers, etc.
The main players are the entrepreneurs, many of who come from successful exits in the “traditional” tech sector and now bring their abilities to the food tech revolution. The same goes for the VC-funds that increasingly back food tech companies; both traditional VC-funds such as Creandum and Northzone as well as new ones such as Gullspång/Re:food. But the private equity companies are also moving in, as are the traditional investment companies. One that should be singled out is the Kinnevik investment group that now has started to make bold moves into e-grocery and that has poured hundreds of millions of euros into the reformatting of the food sector. They hail from forestry but have been vital in the reformation of the telecom, media, and e-commerce sectors in Sweden and beyond.
2. Describe 5 relevant Foodtech startups in your ecosystem
As a discussion partner to many of the players both in Sweden and those who want to come here – and that we help by opening doors, to understand the market, develop their concepts and find business partners – it is hard to single out the most interesting ones, but let’s take a few examples:
Hooked Seafood – developing plant-based alternatives to tuna and salmon. They have a great traction and is a very good example of a next gen product company that produces attractive alternatives.
Stockeld Dreamery – a vegan cheese company that methodologically attacks the problems with making good-tasting vegan cheese. The founder has a tech background and drives the company as a tech company, not a dairy company. Lot’s of funding and global ambitions.
Trustrace – helps companies verify traceability claims through blockchain solutions. A great example of a company with Indian founders that has set up its base in Sweden. First they built their presence in the textile and fashion sector and now they’ve moved on to food.
Karma – facilitates the connection between restaurants and retailers that have food that is about to expire and the end consumer that can buy the food at a discount. Widely successful.
Northfork – recipe solutions that power retailers and their online shopping experiences in Sweden and beyond.
But these are just a few examples. At Sweden Foodtech we do our best to keep ourselves up to date and will shortly launch the Stockholm Food Tech Ecosystem Report where we will go deeper into the topic. If you don’t want to wait for that, please reach out. We are here for both entrepreneurs, investors, and corps who want to be part of the next-gen food system.
3. How do you help these startups at Sweden Foodtech?
Thanks to the set-up of people in Sweden Foodtech, with experiences from both the tech and food scenes, it has been possible to both introduce the opportunities in food to the tech people as well as introduce tech to the food people. It has been our task at Sweden Foodtech from day one to act as the connectors and strategic business builders, constantly educating food people, potential food tech people and adjacent industries, such as telecom, that food is not just what’s on the plate, but rather what effects food has, be it on the planet, on personal health or urban development. This means that a growing number of players in society at large now realize that they’re potential players in the next-gen, re-built food system. You can today initiate a high-level discussion with a wide range of individuals, companies, and public sector entities around food, not the least the city of Stockholm itself, which defines itself as a Good Food City, where food is good for you, good for the planet and also tastes very good.
Sweden, and Stockholm in particular, is, therefore, an amazing international testbed. If you’re developing something new, it is a great place to test and refine your product or service on some of the most advanced customers in the world. If it flies here, chances are good it will fly elsewhere too in a few years.
Discover other global foodtech ecosystems here.