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Opinion

How the New AgriFood Economy is shaping a sustainable Future of Food

Dr. Julia Köhn, CEO & founder of PIELERS and president of the German AgriFood Society on the three main focuses of the green revolution

2020 was heralded as the breakthrough year for food delivery in Europe. Covid-19 has helped the over 10 year-old investment trend to finally succeed. In November 2020 Dr. Oetker announced the billion takeover of flaschenpost. For now, this is the culmination of the delivery investment trend. 

However, years before that, a second wave of innovation had been developing in the AgriFood Tech area alongside the food delivery hype. The New AgriFood Economy has set itself the task of making food supply chains safer, more resilient, more efficient, more intelligent and, above all, more resource-efficient. High tech, new business models, software and innovations are used by a young generation of innovators to be able to feed 10 billion people on our planet by 2050 and at the same time secure the future of nutrition.

The main drivers of this green revolution include: 

  • AgTech & Regenerative Farming 
  • Social Networks, Marketplaces & Software Platforms 
  • Food Processing Innovation and New Foods 

Let’s make farming smart and sustainable 

Young companies like Dropnostix, Monitorfish, Seedforward and Gut & Bösel are fighting for more animal welfare and the development of natural resources. The start-up Dropnostix from Potsdam, for example, has made recognizing illnesses in cows at an early stage its mission. Sensors in the animal's rumen, which constantly measure important parameters, detect diseases before the cow shows symptoms. This improves animal welfare, saves medicine costs and increases milk yield. 

Monitorfish pursues a very similar goal. The Berlin founders monitor the behavior of fish and chickens with cameras. A self-developed AI evaluates the data and gives the herd owners recommendations for feeding and keeping conditions. The targeted and forward-looking monitoring reduces the amount of medication and the livestock are demonstrably better off. 

Seedforward and Gut & Bösel choose a different approach. The aim is to make better use of the power of nature and to build up humus in the long term in order to improve the soil quality. While Gut & Bösel uses regenerative cultivation methods for this purpose, Seedforward supports plant growth in conventional cultivation methods, drawn through additives.

Dr. Julia Köhn, CEO & founder of PIELERS and president of the German AgriFood Society

The Green Platform Revolution
Platforms are also on the rise in the agriculture and food industry. For example, the Munich start-up Agrando recently demonstrated with a multi-million financing round that its trading platform for agricultural products breaks up linear value chains. Instead of a central agricultural trade with a regional warehouse, attention is paid to central hubs, networks and a strong farmer-centered mobile user interface. It is similar to PIELERS - the leading platform for farm to fork commerce. The software platform helps farmers sell their products directly from the farm to the customer, without any expensive intermediate trade and climate-damaging storage. Over 1,000 farmers in Germany already use the software to supply their customers with fresh and healthy food straight from the field.

The next Generation of Sustainable Food
Animal protein-based nutrition has emerged as a model for success. The production of these proteins devours a disproportionately large number of resources, harms animals and cannot be increased further in the long term in order to feed the growing world population. That is why more and more companies are striving for new production processes that are synthetic or biological with significantly lower resource consumption. The Hamburg-based company Mushlaps, for example, produces protein, fiber and umami taste by fermenting side streams of food and agro industries with mushroom mycelia. In large fermenters you create the basis for a modern, resource-saving and healthy diet.