ASIA May 2019
 
The power of Start-ups and their impact on the future of the F&B Industry
 
Start-ups have been disrupting the international market, armed with new, innovative solutions for both consumers and businesses that are replacing conventional products and services. Technology that was once exclusive to large companies is now easily accessible and available for smaller companies to utilise; these small companies then fill overlooked gaps in the market by developing unique solutions that address consumer or business needs. Beyond being innovative, solutions provided by start-ups are both cost-effective and flexible, revolutionizing the way businesses are done.

The food and beverage (F&B) industry is no exception. With sectors ranging from production, to delivery, and even unmanned retail, the industry as a whole has been affected by the entry of start-ups. Streamlined solutions from apps to services are introduced to the F&B industry every day, especially in the areas of delivery and customer experience.

The food delivery sector has seen the most disruption, with a large number of firms entering the market to provide delivery services to sate a growing consumer appetite for greater convenience. International players such as foodpanda focus on connecting customers with a network of restaurants – customers may browse for and order food from various restaurant menus for delivery. Other companies operating in Southeast Asia, such as Singapore-based ride hailing firm Grab, have expanded their services to include food delivery. Unlike in-house delivery services, Grab has a network of deliverymen who do not need to make return trips after delivery runs, and can proceed to different restaurants to pick up and fulfil subsequent orders without stopping.

In fact, food deliveries are only going to get faster. Thailand-based start-up Fling will be providing drone delivery services in certain areas of Bangkok, while companies such as JD.com from China offer similar services in different parts of Southeast Asia. Drone deliveries are capable of delivering food within five to ten minutes after food is prepared, which is three to five times faster than the quickest ground delivery services.

Customer experiences are yet another area of focus for start-ups. Online platforms such as Yelp and Chope are available in Southeast Asia, and function as aggregators of customer feedback for restaurants. These apps also display restaurant menus, feature delivery and seat booking services through tie-ins with third party apps. Customers stand to gain with all the information and services they need to dine in or place an order at their fingertips, while businesses also benefit from consolidated feedback for improvements to be made, and a platform to compare themselves with their competitors.

Start-ups are rapidly expanding geographically. In Southeast Asia, consumers are growing in affluence, and are hungry for new and innovative services in the F&B space. Businesses can learn much from these start-ups – from their innovative ideas to their nimble approach – at the inaugural THAIFEX Startup pavilion featured at THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2019, the largest F&B trade show in Southeast Asia co-organized by Koelnmesse, Department of International Trade Promotion of Thailand and Thai Chamber of Commerce.

Be inspired by fresh ideas fueling the future of the food service industry with some of the most exciting start-ups from Thailand, and the rest of the world.

Recognising the increased consumer focus on healthy eating, Thai start-up MeMeal provides healthy meal programs, with input from professional nutritionists. Users are able to plan personalized, nutritional meals made with quality ingredients, then order such meals for delivery through the MeMeal LINE account. MeMeal provides free delivery to Siriraj Hospital and Rama 8 Hospital in Bangkok.

Innovations are also happening in the fields of science and technology. Another start-up from Thailand, Eden Agritech has introduced Naturen, an edible fruit film which can be sprayed on freshly-cut fruits. Unlike alternatives such as salt water solutions and acetic acid, the film is comprehensive, limiting bacterial and fungal growth on fruits, while also slowing down the ripening and browning process. This results in the shelf life of freshly cut fruits being increased by 15 days on average, which is much longer than other alternative solutions in the market. Naturen works on tropical and non-tropical fruits, is 100% organic, and has also been certified by Chulalongkorn University and Kasetsart University.

Elsewhere in Asia, Alchemy Foodtech Pte Ltd from Singapore aims to fight diabetes through food innovations. Alchemy Foodtech brings to the table unique ingredients 5breplus™ and 5breGrain™, which can lower the Glycemic Index of refined carbohydrate staples such as rice, bread and noodles, without changing the food’s color, taste or texture. Working with food manufacturers, Alchemy Foodtech hopes that their solutions will make food healthier for consumers, without compromising on presentation and taste.

Green Monday from Hong Kong is a start-up that provides solutions to enable corporations, restaurants, schools and consumers prevent climate change and reduce food scarcity around the world. Their platform, Green Common, offers products ranging from snacks to fresh produce to staple foods that are nutritious, sustainably produced, and satisfying for the family. The company also maintains a culinary network of vegetarian restaurants.

“Southeast Asia is home to many people of different cultures, languages and spending habits, so a one-size-fits-all approach that traditional businesses take will not work. Start-ups tend to be more agile and adaptable than larger companies, and will be able to tailor their offerings to the many different consumer groups and businesses in the region,” said David Yeung, Founder and CEO, Green Monday.

THAIFEX Startup will see the best young, innovative companies sharing insights with visitors about the future of food services and the customer experience. It also aims to catalyze an exchange of knowledge between start-ups and traditional businesses. Promising start-ups from all around the world will be attending the event to promote synergy between businesses in the F&B industry.

“THAIFEX Startup is a stage for promising start-ups from all over the world to showcase their products and solutions on the regional and international level. Start-ups provide the industry with fresh, innovative products that are beneficial to both businesses and consumers, and we would like to support their growth and help them get up to speed in the industry,” said Mr. Mathias Kuepper, Managing Director, Koelnmesse Pte Ltd.

“We believe that knowledge should be shared in order to support food producers of all scales, from local start-ups to MNCs. The dynamic between these businesses should not be one of competition, but collaboration. There is much that traditional business can learn from start-ups, and vice-versa. By bringing the most exciting start-ups and established players together, we hope that THAIFEX Startup will be a productive information sharing and learning experience for companies of any scale,” he added.

ThaiFex World Of Food Asia 2019 will open its doors to the business community on 28 May to 1 June at the IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand.
 
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