Vegan beef jerky and cell-cultured seafood: Africa’s FoodTech scene is heating up

Vegan beef jerky and cell-cultured seafood: Africa’s FoodTech scene is heating up

By
Laura Robinson
August 11, 2021

🌍 What is it? 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • In the past, African startups had often focused on developing tech-enabled solutions in agriculture as a key way of improving food security for rural populations. 2020 investment data shows that this remains an area that is ripe for returns, with many companies using big data and AI-powered insights to create solutions that add value across the value chain. 
  • Today, many entrepreneurs are also sinking their teeth into new B2C solutions - from cloud kitchens and delivery apps to innovative meat and dairy alternatives - that provide Africa’s urban, middle-income consumers with more choice and convenience. 
  • Mariliis Holm, Partner at Sustainable Food Ventures - a leading venture capital firm that invests in early stage food companies - predicts that in 30 years’ time African foodtech companies will have leapfrogged ahead of the competition and will be operating in a mainly cell-based, plant-based and recombinant-oriented market.

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • COVID-19 restrictions have had a huge impact on food delivery services in the continent. With markets closed, farmers were losing income and inner city food supplies were running low. But platforms like Ugandan Bringo Fresh made it quick and easy for consumers to switch to online ordering - and doubled their turnover in the process. 
  • Time-strapped city-dwellers are also increasingly looking for on-demand, healthy, ready-made meals - be it handy office vending machines or an app that gets food on the table in 30 minutes when the fridge is empty on Friday night. 
  • A growing number of African consumers are also embracing plant-based diets. While some put this down to greater public awareness of health, environmental and animal welfare issues, others see this as a return to traditional, predominantly plant-based African diets. 

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • The plant-based vertical is currently the most established. Some pioneers - like Fry’s Family Food Co. - were already dishing up meat alternatives to early vegans and veggies back when today’s innovators were still in nappies.
  • But in the last two years, the latest alt-protein startups on the scene - Mogale Meats, Mzansi Meat Co., De novo Dairy and Sea-Stematic - have turned to cellular agriculture and microbial fermentation in a bid to create products that can tickle the taste buds of even the most hardcore carnivore. 
  • At the same time, a wealth of online platforms and marketplaces in retail and the food service are making it easier than ever for innovative brands to enter the market and for curious consumers to get their hands on new food products in just a few clicks. 
  • Many established foodtech startups are now looking to expand into other African countries or diversify their offer by providing their business customers with other value-added digital services, like online training or logistical support.

👀 Who? (39 companies in this space)

  • Fry’s Family Food Co. (Plant-based meat alternatives, South Africa, 1991)
  • Orderin (On-demand food delivery service, South Africa, 2012)
  • Veggie victory (Plant-based meat alternatives, Nigeria, 2013)
  • Twiga Foods (B2B technology-enabled food distribution platform, Kenya, 2013)
  • Baby grubz (Nutrient dense baby food, Nigeria, 2013)
  • Cookshop (Food delivery service, Liberia, 2014)
  • Le Coquin (Coconut-based gluten and dairy-free products, South Africa, 2014)
  • Solar Freeze (Solar-powered cold storage solutions, Kenya, 2015) 
  • eProd (Supply Chain Management system for agribusinesses, Kenya, 2015)
  • Mumm (Delivery of homemade meals, Egypt, 2015)
  • Urban vegan (Meat and dairy alternatives, South Africa, 2015)
  • Lentera Africa (Satellite-based crop analysis, Kenya, 2016)
  • eMsika.com (Marketplace for agricultural products, Zambia, 2016)
  • Mhogo Foods (Cassava products sourced from smallholder farmers, Kenya, 2017)
  • Bringo Fresh (Fresh food delivery service, Uganda, 2017)
  • Sweetpot yoghurt (Supplemented yoghurt, Ghana, 2017) 
  • Shamba records (Blockchain-based farm management platform, Kenya, 2017)
  • Taimba Limited (Online platform that connects farmers and retailers, Kenya, 2017)
  • Ecodudu (Using insects to recycle waste into animal feed, Kenya, 2017)
  • Eden home vegan foods (Plant-based alt-protein products, Zambia 2018)
  • Freterium (Cloud-based transport management platform, Morocco, 2018)
  • Infinite Foods (Go-to-market platform for plant-based products, South Africa, 2018)
  • Zowasel (Online marketplace for grains, Nigeria, 2019)
  • Proteinea (Insect-based biotechnology startup, Egypt, 2019)
  • Agribox (Hydroponic urban farms, Morocco, 2019)
  • SokoFresh (Solar-powered cold storage, Kenya, 2019)
  • Talmond foods (Tropical almond milk and flour, Ghana, 2019)
  • Tekeya (Mobile app to redistribute surplus food, Egypt, 2019)
  • Hya Bioplastics (Biodegradable food packaging made from plants, Uganda, 2019)
  • Ordera (App-based ordering for restaurants and takeaways, Egypt, 2019)
  • Mealimeter (Healthy food kiosks for employees, Nigeria, 2019)
  • Vegan Basket (Plant-based restaurant and retail products, Kenya, 2019)
  • Kune (On-demand, ready-to-eat meal service, Kenya, 2020)
  • Ifarm 360 (Tech-enabled produce hubs, Kenya, 2020)
  • Jozi Cloud Kitchens (Fully-fitted cloud kitchens, South Africa, 2020) 
  • Mogale Meats (Cultivated meat, South African, 2020)
  • Mzansi Meat Co. (Cultivated meat, South Africa, 2020)
  • De novo Dairy (Animal free dairy, South Africa, 2021)
  • Sea-Stematic (Cultivated fish, South Africa, 2021) 

📈 The figures

🍲 Case study: Veggie Victory

  • Nigeria’s first plant-based foodtech company
  • Back in May 2013, Hakeem Jimo set up Nigeria’s first vegan restaurant in Lagos.
  • Serving up a wide range of internationally inspired meals, including veggie hot dogs, tofu scrambles, meatless burger patties and shawarmas as well as traditional Nigerian dishes, the restaurant soon developed a strong following. 
  • Recognising the potential, Hakeem and his team developed V-chunks, a locally manufactured plant-based meat product for the retail market in 2016.
  • Marketed as a healthy and convenient alternative to meat, V-Chunks are now sold in 12 Nigerian states. 
  • Having previously attracted angel investment from vegan industry veterans, Anant Joshia and Ryan Bethencourt, the team announced in February this year that they’d closed a pre-seed funding round, backed by a host of international investors. 
  • They now plan to use the money to double their reach in Nigeria, expand internationally and launch new plant-based products. Ready-to-eat vegan beef jerky is tipped to be top of their list.

🍔 Case study: Mzansi Meat

  • Africa's first cultivated meat company
  • A little later off the starting blocks, Mzansi Meat was founded in 2020 by Brett Thompson and Jay Van Der Walt. Brett and Jay both boast a wealth of experience in the alt-protein market - and it shows in their marketing strategy. 
  • The team are clearly focused on getting South Africa’s ethically-challenged meat lovers on board - the consumers who want to enjoy an affordable and healthier version of their favourite meals, while resting safe in the knowledge that no cow was harmed in the making of this burger. 
  • But they remain realistic about the challenges that lie ahead. Recognising that some consumers and farmers may have a negative perception of cultured meat, they’ve chosen to be very transparent about their approach. They’re also looking to work closely with the agriculture sector to help subsistence farmers join the formal economy.
  • In a bid to get approval from those at the top, the team even recently asked the South African president - who happens to also be the country’s largest cattle breeder - if they were able to borrow some sample cells from one of his prized cattle.
  • The company is looking to focus on minced beef, burgers, and nuggets initially, before developing alternatives for more traditional meals. 

👍 The good

  • Recognising that it takes an innovation ecosystem to raise a startup, a number of accelerators and business promotion initiatives are now springing up across the continent, with some like Kenya-based Food Africa, are specifically focussed on supporting women and youth-owned businesses.
  • This year, ProVeg - the world's leading accelerator for plant-based and cultured food startups - launched an accelerator for the African market, with a view to expanding the food justice movement across the continent.
  • A growing number of domestic VC funds are also focusing on closing the gap in access to capital by backing companies that are creating innovative made-in-Africa alternative proteins and helping them to scale. 
  • While overall awareness of cultured meat tends to be lower amongst African consumers, some innovators actually see this as an opportunity: potential customers won’t have built up their defenses yet and may be more open to giving it a try.  
  • Leading investment company Kale United has always said that a plant-based company in Africa would be their dream investment. It would allow the continent to make the same leap it did with mobile phones by skipping the growth of meat consumption, just like outdated landlines, and jumping straight to alternatives.

👎 The bad

  • Even if investments roughly double from year to year, access to early stage capital remains limited. The current numbers don’t do the challenges and opportunities that the continent faces justice, meaning that valuable innovation potential is lost. 
  • Many companies benefiting from a rapid increase in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic are also facing cash-flow issues. Bringo Fresh, for example, pays their farmers upfront but payments from delivery orders only follow a few days later - creating challenges for the team as orders skyrocketed.   

 💡The bottom line


How did you like today's Trends?

Love it 😁 Meh 😐 Hate it 🙁

FoodHack Database

Become a member

to get unlimited access

  • Weekly Trend Reports | Access 60+ Reports
  • Startups & Investors Database | Browse 500+
  • FoodHack+ Insiders Community | Coming soon

🌍 What is it? 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • In the past, African startups had often focused on developing tech-enabled solutions in agriculture as a key way of improving food security for rural populations. 2020 investment data shows that this remains an area that is ripe for returns, with many companies using big data and AI-powered insights to create solutions that add value across the value chain. 
  • Today, many entrepreneurs are also sinking their teeth into new B2C solutions - from cloud kitchens and delivery apps to innovative meat and dairy alternatives - that provide Africa’s urban, middle-income consumers with more choice and convenience. 
  • Mariliis Holm, Partner at Sustainable Food Ventures - a leading venture capital firm that invests in early stage food companies - predicts that in 30 years’ time African foodtech companies will have leapfrogged ahead of the competition and will be operating in a mainly cell-based, plant-based and recombinant-oriented market.

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • COVID-19 restrictions have had a huge impact on food delivery services in the continent. With markets closed, farmers were losing income and inner city food supplies were running low. But platforms like Ugandan Bringo Fresh made it quick and easy for consumers to switch to online ordering - and doubled their turnover in the process. 
  • Time-strapped city-dwellers are also increasingly looking for on-demand, healthy, ready-made meals - be it handy office vending machines or an app that gets food on the table in 30 minutes when the fridge is empty on Friday night. 
  • A growing number of African consumers are also embracing plant-based diets. While some put this down to greater public awareness of health, environmental and animal welfare issues, others see this as a return to traditional, predominantly plant-based African diets. 

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • The plant-based vertical is currently the most established. Some pioneers - like Fry’s Family Food Co. - were already dishing up meat alternatives to early vegans and veggies back when today’s innovators were still in nappies.
  • But in the last two years, the latest alt-protein startups on the scene - Mogale Meats, Mzansi Meat Co., De novo Dairy and Sea-Stematic - have turned to cellular agriculture and microbial fermentation in a bid to create products that can tickle the taste buds of even the most hardcore carnivore. 
  • At the same time, a wealth of online platforms and marketplaces in retail and the food service are making it easier than ever for innovative brands to enter the market and for curious consumers to get their hands on new food products in just a few clicks. 
  • Many established foodtech startups are now looking to expand into other African countries or diversify their offer by providing their business customers with other value-added digital services, like online training or logistical support.

👀 Who? (39 companies in this space)

  • Fry’s Family Food Co. (Plant-based meat alternatives, South Africa, 1991)
  • Orderin (On-demand food delivery service, South Africa, 2012)
  • Veggie victory (Plant-based meat alternatives, Nigeria, 2013)
  • Twiga Foods (B2B technology-enabled food distribution platform, Kenya, 2013)
  • Baby grubz (Nutrient dense baby food, Nigeria, 2013)
  • Cookshop (Food delivery service, Liberia, 2014)
  • Le Coquin (Coconut-based gluten and dairy-free products, South Africa, 2014)
  • Solar Freeze (Solar-powered cold storage solutions, Kenya, 2015) 
  • eProd (Supply Chain Management system for agribusinesses, Kenya, 2015)
  • Mumm (Delivery of homemade meals, Egypt, 2015)
  • Urban vegan (Meat and dairy alternatives, South Africa, 2015)
  • Lentera Africa (Satellite-based crop analysis, Kenya, 2016)
  • eMsika.com (Marketplace for agricultural products, Zambia, 2016)
  • Mhogo Foods (Cassava products sourced from smallholder farmers, Kenya, 2017)
  • Bringo Fresh (Fresh food delivery service, Uganda, 2017)
  • Sweetpot yoghurt (Supplemented yoghurt, Ghana, 2017) 
  • Shamba records (Blockchain-based farm management platform, Kenya, 2017)
  • Taimba Limited (Online platform that connects farmers and retailers, Kenya, 2017)
  • Ecodudu (Using insects to recycle waste into animal feed, Kenya, 2017)
  • Eden home vegan foods (Plant-based alt-protein products, Zambia 2018)
  • Freterium (Cloud-based transport management platform, Morocco, 2018)
  • Infinite Foods (Go-to-market platform for plant-based products, South Africa, 2018)
  • Zowasel (Online marketplace for grains, Nigeria, 2019)
  • Proteinea (Insect-based biotechnology startup, Egypt, 2019)
  • Agribox (Hydroponic urban farms, Morocco, 2019)
  • SokoFresh (Solar-powered cold storage, Kenya, 2019)
  • Talmond foods (Tropical almond milk and flour, Ghana, 2019)
  • Tekeya (Mobile app to redistribute surplus food, Egypt, 2019)
  • Hya Bioplastics (Biodegradable food packaging made from plants, Uganda, 2019)
  • Ordera (App-based ordering for restaurants and takeaways, Egypt, 2019)
  • Mealimeter (Healthy food kiosks for employees, Nigeria, 2019)
  • Vegan Basket (Plant-based restaurant and retail products, Kenya, 2019)
  • Kune (On-demand, ready-to-eat meal service, Kenya, 2020)
  • Ifarm 360 (Tech-enabled produce hubs, Kenya, 2020)
  • Jozi Cloud Kitchens (Fully-fitted cloud kitchens, South Africa, 2020) 
  • Mogale Meats (Cultivated meat, South African, 2020)
  • Mzansi Meat Co. (Cultivated meat, South Africa, 2020)
  • De novo Dairy (Animal free dairy, South Africa, 2021)
  • Sea-Stematic (Cultivated fish, South Africa, 2021) 

📈 The figures

🍲 Case study: Veggie Victory

  • Nigeria’s first plant-based foodtech company
  • Back in May 2013, Hakeem Jimo set up Nigeria’s first vegan restaurant in Lagos.
  • Serving up a wide range of internationally inspired meals, including veggie hot dogs, tofu scrambles, meatless burger patties and shawarmas as well as traditional Nigerian dishes, the restaurant soon developed a strong following. 
  • Recognising the potential, Hakeem and his team developed V-chunks, a locally manufactured plant-based meat product for the retail market in 2016.
  • Marketed as a healthy and convenient alternative to meat, V-Chunks are now sold in 12 Nigerian states. 
  • Having previously attracted angel investment from vegan industry veterans, Anant Joshia and Ryan Bethencourt, the team announced in February this year that they’d closed a pre-seed funding round, backed by a host of international investors. 
  • They now plan to use the money to double their reach in Nigeria, expand internationally and launch new plant-based products. Ready-to-eat vegan beef jerky is tipped to be top of their list.

🍔 Case study: Mzansi Meat

  • Africa's first cultivated meat company
  • A little later off the starting blocks, Mzansi Meat was founded in 2020 by Brett Thompson and Jay Van Der Walt. Brett and Jay both boast a wealth of experience in the alt-protein market - and it shows in their marketing strategy. 
  • The team are clearly focused on getting South Africa’s ethically-challenged meat lovers on board - the consumers who want to enjoy an affordable and healthier version of their favourite meals, while resting safe in the knowledge that no cow was harmed in the making of this burger. 
  • But they remain realistic about the challenges that lie ahead. Recognising that some consumers and farmers may have a negative perception of cultured meat, they’ve chosen to be very transparent about their approach. They’re also looking to work closely with the agriculture sector to help subsistence farmers join the formal economy.
  • In a bid to get approval from those at the top, the team even recently asked the South African president - who happens to also be the country’s largest cattle breeder - if they were able to borrow some sample cells from one of his prized cattle.
  • The company is looking to focus on minced beef, burgers, and nuggets initially, before developing alternatives for more traditional meals. 

👍 The good

  • Recognising that it takes an innovation ecosystem to raise a startup, a number of accelerators and business promotion initiatives are now springing up across the continent, with some like Kenya-based Food Africa, are specifically focussed on supporting women and youth-owned businesses.
  • This year, ProVeg - the world's leading accelerator for plant-based and cultured food startups - launched an accelerator for the African market, with a view to expanding the food justice movement across the continent.
  • A growing number of domestic VC funds are also focusing on closing the gap in access to capital by backing companies that are creating innovative made-in-Africa alternative proteins and helping them to scale. 
  • While overall awareness of cultured meat tends to be lower amongst African consumers, some innovators actually see this as an opportunity: potential customers won’t have built up their defenses yet and may be more open to giving it a try.  
  • Leading investment company Kale United has always said that a plant-based company in Africa would be their dream investment. It would allow the continent to make the same leap it did with mobile phones by skipping the growth of meat consumption, just like outdated landlines, and jumping straight to alternatives.

👎 The bad

  • Even if investments roughly double from year to year, access to early stage capital remains limited. The current numbers don’t do the challenges and opportunities that the continent faces justice, meaning that valuable innovation potential is lost. 
  • Many companies benefiting from a rapid increase in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic are also facing cash-flow issues. Bringo Fresh, for example, pays their farmers upfront but payments from delivery orders only follow a few days later - creating challenges for the team as orders skyrocketed.   

 💡The bottom line


How did you like today's Trends?

Love it 😁 Meh 😐 Hate it 🙁

🌍 What is it? 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • In the past, African startups had often focused on developing tech-enabled solutions in agriculture as a key way of improving food security for rural populations. 2020 investment data shows that this remains an area that is ripe for returns, with many companies using big data and AI-powered insights to create solutions that add value across the value chain. 
  • Today, many entrepreneurs are also sinking their teeth into new B2C solutions - from cloud kitchens and delivery apps to innovative meat and dairy alternatives - that provide Africa’s urban, middle-income consumers with more choice and convenience. 
  • Mariliis Holm, Partner at Sustainable Food Ventures - a leading venture capital firm that invests in early stage food companies - predicts that in 30 years’ time African foodtech companies will have leapfrogged ahead of the competition and will be operating in a mainly cell-based, plant-based and recombinant-oriented market.

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • COVID-19 restrictions have had a huge impact on food delivery services in the continent. With markets closed, farmers were losing income and inner city food supplies were running low. But platforms like Ugandan Bringo Fresh made it quick and easy for consumers to switch to online ordering - and doubled their turnover in the process. 
  • Time-strapped city-dwellers are also increasingly looking for on-demand, healthy, ready-made meals - be it handy office vending machines or an app that gets food on the table in 30 minutes when the fridge is empty on Friday night. 
  • A growing number of African consumers are also embracing plant-based diets. While some put this down to greater public awareness of health, environmental and animal welfare issues, others see this as a return to traditional, predominantly plant-based African diets. 

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • The plant-based vertical is currently the most established. Some pioneers - like Fry’s Family Food Co. - were already dishing up meat alternatives to early vegans and veggies back when today’s innovators were still in nappies.
  • But in the last two years, the latest alt-protein startups on the scene - Mogale Meats, Mzansi Meat Co., De novo Dairy and Sea-Stematic - have turned to cellular agriculture and microbial fermentation in a bid to create products that can tickle the taste buds of even the most hardcore carnivore. 
  • At the same time, a wealth of online platforms and marketplaces in retail and the food service are making it easier than ever for innovative brands to enter the market and for curious consumers to get their hands on new food products in just a few clicks. 
  • Many established foodtech startups are now looking to expand into other African countries or diversify their offer by providing their business customers with other value-added digital services, like online training or logistical support.

👀 Who? (39 companies in this space)

  • Fry’s Family Food Co. (Plant-based meat alternatives, South Africa, 1991)
  • Orderin (On-demand food delivery service, South Africa, 2012)
  • Veggie victory (Plant-based meat alternatives, Nigeria, 2013)
  • Twiga Foods (B2B technology-enabled food distribution platform, Kenya, 2013)
  • Baby grubz (Nutrient dense baby food, Nigeria, 2013)
  • Cookshop (Food delivery service, Liberia, 2014)
  • Le Coquin (Coconut-based gluten and dairy-free products, South Africa, 2014)
  • Solar Freeze (Solar-powered cold storage solutions, Kenya, 2015) 
  • eProd (Supply Chain Management system for agribusinesses, Kenya, 2015)
  • Mumm (Delivery of homemade meals, Egypt, 2015)
  • Urban vegan (Meat and dairy alternatives, South Africa, 2015)
  • Lentera Africa (Satellite-based crop analysis, Kenya, 2016)
  • eMsika.com (Marketplace for agricultural products, Zambia, 2016)
  • Mhogo Foods (Cassava products sourced from smallholder farmers, Kenya, 2017)
  • Bringo Fresh (Fresh food delivery service, Uganda, 2017)
  • Sweetpot yoghurt (Supplemented yoghurt, Ghana, 2017) 
  • Shamba records (Blockchain-based farm management platform, Kenya, 2017)
  • Taimba Limited (Online platform that connects farmers and retailers, Kenya, 2017)
  • Ecodudu (Using insects to recycle waste into animal feed, Kenya, 2017)
  • Eden home vegan foods (Plant-based alt-protein products, Zambia 2018)
  • Freterium (Cloud-based transport management platform, Morocco, 2018)
  • Infinite Foods (Go-to-market platform for plant-based products, South Africa, 2018)
  • Zowasel (Online marketplace for grains, Nigeria, 2019)
  • Proteinea (Insect-based biotechnology startup, Egypt, 2019)
  • Agribox (Hydroponic urban farms, Morocco, 2019)
  • SokoFresh (Solar-powered cold storage, Kenya, 2019)
  • Talmond foods (Tropical almond milk and flour, Ghana, 2019)
  • Tekeya (Mobile app to redistribute surplus food, Egypt, 2019)
  • Hya Bioplastics (Biodegradable food packaging made from plants, Uganda, 2019)
  • Ordera (App-based ordering for restaurants and takeaways, Egypt, 2019)
  • Mealimeter (Healthy food kiosks for employees, Nigeria, 2019)
  • Vegan Basket (Plant-based restaurant and retail products, Kenya, 2019)
  • Kune (On-demand, ready-to-eat meal service, Kenya, 2020)
  • Ifarm 360 (Tech-enabled produce hubs, Kenya, 2020)
  • Jozi Cloud Kitchens (Fully-fitted cloud kitchens, South Africa, 2020) 
  • Mogale Meats (Cultivated meat, South African, 2020)
  • Mzansi Meat Co. (Cultivated meat, South Africa, 2020)
  • De novo Dairy (Animal free dairy, South Africa, 2021)
  • Sea-Stematic (Cultivated fish, South Africa, 2021) 

📈 The figures

🍲 Case study: Veggie Victory

  • Nigeria’s first plant-based foodtech company
  • Back in May 2013, Hakeem Jimo set up Nigeria’s first vegan restaurant in Lagos.
  • Serving up a wide range of internationally inspired meals, including veggie hot dogs, tofu scrambles, meatless burger patties and shawarmas as well as traditional Nigerian dishes, the restaurant soon developed a strong following. 
  • Recognising the potential, Hakeem and his team developed V-chunks, a locally manufactured plant-based meat product for the retail market in 2016.
  • Marketed as a healthy and convenient alternative to meat, V-Chunks are now sold in 12 Nigerian states. 
  • Having previously attracted angel investment from vegan industry veterans, Anant Joshia and Ryan Bethencourt, the team announced in February this year that they’d closed a pre-seed funding round, backed by a host of international investors. 
  • They now plan to use the money to double their reach in Nigeria, expand internationally and launch new plant-based products. Ready-to-eat vegan beef jerky is tipped to be top of their list.

🍔 Case study: Mzansi Meat

  • Africa's first cultivated meat company
  • A little later off the starting blocks, Mzansi Meat was founded in 2020 by Brett Thompson and Jay Van Der Walt. Brett and Jay both boast a wealth of experience in the alt-protein market - and it shows in their marketing strategy. 
  • The team are clearly focused on getting South Africa’s ethically-challenged meat lovers on board - the consumers who want to enjoy an affordable and healthier version of their favourite meals, while resting safe in the knowledge that no cow was harmed in the making of this burger. 
  • But they remain realistic about the challenges that lie ahead. Recognising that some consumers and farmers may have a negative perception of cultured meat, they’ve chosen to be very transparent about their approach. They’re also looking to work closely with the agriculture sector to help subsistence farmers join the formal economy.
  • In a bid to get approval from those at the top, the team even recently asked the South African president - who happens to also be the country’s largest cattle breeder - if they were able to borrow some sample cells from one of his prized cattle.
  • The company is looking to focus on minced beef, burgers, and nuggets initially, before developing alternatives for more traditional meals. 

👍 The good

  • Recognising that it takes an innovation ecosystem to raise a startup, a number of accelerators and business promotion initiatives are now springing up across the continent, with some like Kenya-based Food Africa, are specifically focussed on supporting women and youth-owned businesses.
  • This year, ProVeg - the world's leading accelerator for plant-based and cultured food startups - launched an accelerator for the African market, with a view to expanding the food justice movement across the continent.
  • A growing number of domestic VC funds are also focusing on closing the gap in access to capital by backing companies that are creating innovative made-in-Africa alternative proteins and helping them to scale. 
  • While overall awareness of cultured meat tends to be lower amongst African consumers, some innovators actually see this as an opportunity: potential customers won’t have built up their defenses yet and may be more open to giving it a try.  
  • Leading investment company Kale United has always said that a plant-based company in Africa would be their dream investment. It would allow the continent to make the same leap it did with mobile phones by skipping the growth of meat consumption, just like outdated landlines, and jumping straight to alternatives.

👎 The bad

  • Even if investments roughly double from year to year, access to early stage capital remains limited. The current numbers don’t do the challenges and opportunities that the continent faces justice, meaning that valuable innovation potential is lost. 
  • Many companies benefiting from a rapid increase in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic are also facing cash-flow issues. Bringo Fresh, for example, pays their farmers upfront but payments from delivery orders only follow a few days later - creating challenges for the team as orders skyrocketed.   

 💡The bottom line


How did you like today's Trends?

Love it 😁 Meh 😐 Hate it 🙁

🌍 What is it? 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • In the past, African startups had often focused on developing tech-enabled solutions in agriculture as a key way of improving food security for rural populations. 2020 investment data shows that this remains an area that is ripe for returns, with many companies using big data and AI-powered insights to create solutions that add value across the value chain. 
  • Today, many entrepreneurs are also sinking their teeth into new B2C solutions - from cloud kitchens and delivery apps to innovative meat and dairy alternatives - that provide Africa’s urban, middle-income consumers with more choice and convenience. 
  • Mariliis Holm, Partner at Sustainable Food Ventures - a leading venture capital firm that invests in early stage food companies - predicts that in 30 years’ time African foodtech companies will have leapfrogged ahead of the competition and will be operating in a mainly cell-based, plant-based and recombinant-oriented market.

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • COVID-19 restrictions have had a huge impact on food delivery services in the continent. With markets closed, farmers were losing income and inner city food supplies were running low. But platforms like Ugandan Bringo Fresh made it quick and easy for consumers to switch to online ordering - and doubled their turnover in the process. 
  • Time-strapped city-dwellers are also increasingly looking for on-demand, healthy, ready-made meals - be it handy office vending machines or an app that gets food on the table in 30 minutes when the fridge is empty on Friday night. 
  • A growing number of African consumers are also embracing plant-based diets. While some put this down to greater public awareness of health, environmental and animal welfare issues, others see this as a return to traditional, predominantly plant-based African diets. 

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • The plant-based vertical is currently the most established. Some pioneers - like Fry’s Family Food Co. - were already dishing up meat alternatives to early vegans and veggies back when today’s innovators were still in nappies.
  • But in the last two years, the latest alt-protein startups on the scene - Mogale Meats, Mzansi Meat Co., De novo Dairy and Sea-Stematic - have turned to cellular agriculture and microbial fermentation in a bid to create products that can tickle the taste buds of even the most hardcore carnivore. 
  • At the same time, a wealth of online platforms and marketplaces in retail and the food service are making it easier than ever for innovative brands to enter the market and for curious consumers to get their hands on new food products in just a few clicks. 
  • Many established foodtech startups are now looking to expand into other African countries or diversify their offer by providing their business customers with other value-added digital services, like online training or logistical support.

👀 Who? (39 companies in this space)

  • Fry’s Family Food Co. (Plant-based meat alternatives, South Africa, 1991)
  • Orderin (On-demand food delivery service, South Africa, 2012)
  • Veggie victory (Plant-based meat alternatives, Nigeria, 2013)
  • Twiga Foods (B2B technology-enabled food distribution platform, Kenya, 2013)
  • Baby grubz (Nutrient dense baby food, Nigeria, 2013)
  • Cookshop (Food delivery service, Liberia, 2014)
  • Le Coquin (Coconut-based gluten and dairy-free products, South Africa, 2014)
  • Solar Freeze (Solar-powered cold storage solutions, Kenya, 2015) 
  • eProd (Supply Chain Management system for agribusinesses, Kenya, 2015)
  • Mumm (Delivery of homemade meals, Egypt, 2015)
  • Urban vegan (Meat and dairy alternatives, South Africa, 2015)
  • Lentera Africa (Satellite-based crop analysis, Kenya, 2016)
  • eMsika.com (Marketplace for agricultural products, Zambia, 2016)
  • Mhogo Foods (Cassava products sourced from smallholder farmers, Kenya, 2017)
  • Bringo Fresh (Fresh food delivery service, Uganda, 2017)
  • Sweetpot yoghurt (Supplemented yoghurt, Ghana, 2017) 
  • Shamba records (Blockchain-based farm management platform, Kenya, 2017)
  • Taimba Limited (Online platform that connects farmers and retailers, Kenya, 2017)
  • Ecodudu (Using insects to recycle waste into animal feed, Kenya, 2017)
  • Eden home vegan foods (Plant-based alt-protein products, Zambia 2018)
  • Freterium (Cloud-based transport management platform, Morocco, 2018)
  • Infinite Foods (Go-to-market platform for plant-based products, South Africa, 2018)
  • Zowasel (Online marketplace for grains, Nigeria, 2019)
  • Proteinea (Insect-based biotechnology startup, Egypt, 2019)
  • Agribox (Hydroponic urban farms, Morocco, 2019)
  • SokoFresh (Solar-powered cold storage, Kenya, 2019)
  • Talmond foods (Tropical almond milk and flour, Ghana, 2019)
  • Tekeya (Mobile app to redistribute surplus food, Egypt, 2019)
  • Hya Bioplastics (Biodegradable food packaging made from plants, Uganda, 2019)
  • Ordera (App-based ordering for restaurants and takeaways, Egypt, 2019)
  • Mealimeter (Healthy food kiosks for employees, Nigeria, 2019)
  • Vegan Basket (Plant-based restaurant and retail products, Kenya, 2019)
  • Kune (On-demand, ready-to-eat meal service, Kenya, 2020)
  • Ifarm 360 (Tech-enabled produce hubs, Kenya, 2020)
  • Jozi Cloud Kitchens (Fully-fitted cloud kitchens, South Africa, 2020) 
  • Mogale Meats (Cultivated meat, South African, 2020)
  • Mzansi Meat Co. (Cultivated meat, South Africa, 2020)
  • De novo Dairy (Animal free dairy, South Africa, 2021)
  • Sea-Stematic (Cultivated fish, South Africa, 2021) 

📈 The figures

🍲 Case study: Veggie Victory

  • Nigeria’s first plant-based foodtech company
  • Back in May 2013, Hakeem Jimo set up Nigeria’s first vegan restaurant in Lagos.
  • Serving up a wide range of internationally inspired meals, including veggie hot dogs, tofu scrambles, meatless burger patties and shawarmas as well as traditional Nigerian dishes, the restaurant soon developed a strong following. 
  • Recognising the potential, Hakeem and his team developed V-chunks, a locally manufactured plant-based meat product for the retail market in 2016.
  • Marketed as a healthy and convenient alternative to meat, V-Chunks are now sold in 12 Nigerian states. 
  • Having previously attracted angel investment from vegan industry veterans, Anant Joshia and Ryan Bethencourt, the team announced in February this year that they’d closed a pre-seed funding round, backed by a host of international investors. 
  • They now plan to use the money to double their reach in Nigeria, expand internationally and launch new plant-based products. Ready-to-eat vegan beef jerky is tipped to be top of their list.

🍔 Case study: Mzansi Meat

  • Africa's first cultivated meat company
  • A little later off the starting blocks, Mzansi Meat was founded in 2020 by Brett Thompson and Jay Van Der Walt. Brett and Jay both boast a wealth of experience in the alt-protein market - and it shows in their marketing strategy. 
  • The team are clearly focused on getting South Africa’s ethically-challenged meat lovers on board - the consumers who want to enjoy an affordable and healthier version of their favourite meals, while resting safe in the knowledge that no cow was harmed in the making of this burger. 
  • But they remain realistic about the challenges that lie ahead. Recognising that some consumers and farmers may have a negative perception of cultured meat, they’ve chosen to be very transparent about their approach. They’re also looking to work closely with the agriculture sector to help subsistence farmers join the formal economy.
  • In a bid to get approval from those at the top, the team even recently asked the South African president - who happens to also be the country’s largest cattle breeder - if they were able to borrow some sample cells from one of his prized cattle.
  • The company is looking to focus on minced beef, burgers, and nuggets initially, before developing alternatives for more traditional meals. 

👍 The good

  • Recognising that it takes an innovation ecosystem to raise a startup, a number of accelerators and business promotion initiatives are now springing up across the continent, with some like Kenya-based Food Africa, are specifically focussed on supporting women and youth-owned businesses.
  • This year, ProVeg - the world's leading accelerator for plant-based and cultured food startups - launched an accelerator for the African market, with a view to expanding the food justice movement across the continent.
  • A growing number of domestic VC funds are also focusing on closing the gap in access to capital by backing companies that are creating innovative made-in-Africa alternative proteins and helping them to scale. 
  • While overall awareness of cultured meat tends to be lower amongst African consumers, some innovators actually see this as an opportunity: potential customers won’t have built up their defenses yet and may be more open to giving it a try.  
  • Leading investment company Kale United has always said that a plant-based company in Africa would be their dream investment. It would allow the continent to make the same leap it did with mobile phones by skipping the growth of meat consumption, just like outdated landlines, and jumping straight to alternatives.

👎 The bad

  • Even if investments roughly double from year to year, access to early stage capital remains limited. The current numbers don’t do the challenges and opportunities that the continent faces justice, meaning that valuable innovation potential is lost. 
  • Many companies benefiting from a rapid increase in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic are also facing cash-flow issues. Bringo Fresh, for example, pays their farmers upfront but payments from delivery orders only follow a few days later - creating challenges for the team as orders skyrocketed.   

 💡The bottom line


How did you like today's Trends?

Love it 😁 Meh 😐 Hate it 🙁

FoodTech News Digested ✉️
Every Monday (12pm CET) & Friday (1pm CET) in your inbox

Reports

New Energy: the 37 companies creating better-for-you energy drinks
Flour power: the rise of substitute alternatives to traditional wheat flour
Meet the lupini bean: the humble legume - and the next big superfood - you’ve never heard of
Animal Free Cheese: the 90+ brands on quest to make great tasting cheese, cow-free
New kids on the block: the 40+ brands making healthier choices for babies and children
Vegan beef jerky and cell-cultured seafood: Africa’s FoodTech scene is heating up
The fourth wave of craft coffee is coming: are you ready for a revamped cup of jo?
The 50+ companies driving the shift to plant-based chicken