The food industry is getting smarter, from data analytics being used to create more efficient farming methods to data being used to improve delivery and storage.
Smart delivery services and virtual markets are popping up to take on the supermarket giants with the goal of providing fresh and local food at affordable prices. As startups that were born in the digital era begin to flourish, the challenge is for supermarkets to keep up to date or risk losing their dominance.
CBR has compiled a list of the best online food delivery services in the UK.
The online delivery service which delivers ingredients from user-selected recipes has become a big hit and has been given plenty of financial backing to expand. The company, which was founded in 2012, raised $8.3 million in its Series A round of funding in September 2014.
Founded by James Carter and Timo Schmidt, the delivery service assures that the produce is fresh, seasonal and organic and allows the buyer to cook a meal at home without trawling through shops looking for the right ingredients.
The company utilises Google Analytics to look at how customers are using its site and uses the data to see how it can improve its services.
The service works through an online portal and takes the strain out of shopping around the shops.
A delivery service which uses electric cars and is supplied by (amongst others) Growing Underground, a subterranean farm project which is backed by Michel Roux Jr.
This virtual market is accessible through its website and sources 75% of its produce from inside the M25. Deliveries are made 4 times a week via electric vans which are said to produce lower carbon emissions that a horse and cart.
Along with its celebrity chef backing, Farmdrop has also gained support from the public with £748,880 raised from crowdfunding site crowdcube.
Using subterranean spaces means that a number of intelligent crop growing techniques need to be deployed which are closely monitored through sensors that feed back data for analysis.
3. Just Eat
This company, which connects customers with thousands of takeaways, has become the big boss in the food delivery arena. Headquartered in London, the company has expanded worldwide and received impressive funding rounds back in 2011 where it raised $48 million.
It went public in April 2014, valued at £1.5 billion.
The smart thing about what they do is to give high street restaurants and takeaways’ an online presence, without having to build their own sites. Just Eat works as a search engine, so that you can use just one portal to find any food you may want.
The company moved its entire server architecture to the cloud in 2013 with AWS, holds regular hackathons and uses data analytics to improve services.
If you don’t fancy cooking but don’t want a takeaway, to go to the shops or get dressed up for a meal at your favourite local restaurant, then Deliveroo is for you.
Many restaurants don’t have a delivery service, which is where Deliveroo comes in, you go to its website, enter your postcode and choose from a list of available restaurants in your area, then you order the food and Deliveroo picks it up and brings it to you.
The delivery service only accepts card payments and a £2 charge is applied to deliveries with a minimum spend of £15 required.
This growing business recently received $25 million from its Series B funding, meaning that an expansion of services is likely.
This is another company that is basically doing Delivery-as-a-Service, taking the stress away from restaurants who find that running their own delivery service would be too complex.
Making the most of digital channels and a focus on higher quality restaurants, this is a company which is making the most of web.
5. Mallow and Marsh
If sweet treats are more your thing, then Mallow and Marsh might be for you. As the name suggests, this company caters exclusively to Marshmallows.
Founded in 2013 by Harriot Pleydell-Bouverie, the small UK startup is beginning to expand following some help from a Kickstarter project which raised £8,311 and now you can start to see some of the gourmet treats popping up in some Sainsbury stores.
The company is making a big push through social media channels such as Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter to drive up awareness, this is a digital age business that is making its name online.
Although a large focus is online, you can also hire them for events such as London Fashion Week or for parties. The company offers some unique marshmallow experiences such as marshmallow cocktails and even deep fried marshmallows.