The Food Systems Network
A creative commons for food system innovators

Innovation (10)

Innovation through technology, policy change, and public awareness is critical to reshaping our food systems for the good of all. Read about the radical and disruptive innovation now changing the nature of food production and food service to help meet the challenges ahead.

Food supply chains across the world are becoming ever more interlinked and complex. The complexity of these networks is not however the greatest challenge for those wanting to know the origin or location of any particular food product. 

Several years ago, there was an explosion of new Food Retail Outlets, like Soup Works, on the high street in London and other major urban centers, offering fresh soup to hungry workers in the city. This trend survived for only a short time. Most of these companies closed their doors and their customers were eventually absorbed into the operations of Retailers like Pret A Manger, EAT and Itsu, to name just a few.

Pre-order services are now being touted as ‘essential’ services for the commercial success of hospitality, food and events management businesses. Proponents argue that by allowing customers to book, order and pay in advance, both customers and businesses benefit. Customers, they claim, can avoid lengthy queues and can also take advantage of the many loyalty schemes these businesses offer. Businesses benefit from the increased efficiency of their operations (customers are not standing in queues) and from the additional sales opportunities this creates.

Food Delivery Providers are transforming the foodservice sector with both Eat Away and Eat at Home markets affected. By providing consumers with greater choice and offering start-ups a clear path to early profitability, Food Delivery Services are guaranteed continued support from across the business world. There are however warnings from Health & Safety professionals about the lack of clear oversight and applicable standards for the protection for the public from non-vetted providers.

Food Delivery Orders (Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Just Eat) are said to be increasing 30 times faster than for the overall foodservice industry. Meal kits (HelloFresh, Gousto and Mindful Chef) now account for more than 5 million meals a month in the UK. In the US in 2018, Delivery orders in accounted for more than 9% of all restaurant sales. In London, the current figure is 12%.

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