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Forward Fooding

On a mission to promote food innovation: Food Tech 500 2020

Forward Fooding is a global network, driven by entrepreneurs, that provides the necessary support and speed to enable collaborations and partnerships between established food organisations and startups. They are on a mission to promote food innovation in order to shape our food system in a new way. In short, they believe that entrepreneurship can make a difference in solving some of the biggest problems affecting our current food system. That combined with corporate infrastructure and expertise is the "secret sauce" to creating a better food future.

At the same time, shifting consumer preferences are putting enormous pressure on existing business models, traditional food companies and brands. As Fortune magazine sums it up, "Big food is under attack by startup granola."

As a former executive at a Fortune 500 beverage company, Alessio D'Antino (CEO) became increasingly frustrated with the company's rigid approach to innovation and their 'meaningless' agenda. He decided to move to Silicon Valley in search of inspiration. After meeting some brave entrepreneurs who were building highly innovative businesses, he began to realise that startups would play a bigger role in solving some of the biggest challenges affecting our global food system. Since then, Forward Fooding has built a global community of innovators in FMCGs and FoodTech. They now work with food and beverage companies of all sizes to help embrace more collaborative models for food innovation.


Forward Fooding already published a map and directory of food startups on their website. However, they saw a bigger opportunity in the FoodTech data they had collected over the years. Food startups wanted to see who else provides similar services to them or who might be a good supplier, companies were looking for food startups to partner with and investors wanted to screen a portfolio of startups. With over 1500 active users and a large network, they felt the need for a real data platform.

In 2019, they introduced the FoodTech Data Navigator, powered by DataScouts, the world's first data intelligence platform for the AgriFoodTech Ecosystem. Through the platform, end users can discover the latest startups, accelerators, investors and key players in the global AgriFoodTech sector.


We worked closely with the Forward Fooding team to launch the FoodTech Data Navigator. First, we incorporated the expert taxonomy that reflects the food innovation space. During a series of co-creation sessions, we streamlined the user experience. Finally, we uploaded and further enriched the data and collectively configured the FoodTech Data Navigator to provide valuable insights to startups, companies and investors engaged in driving food innovation.

The Forward Fooding team launched the FoodTech Navigator with a targeted multi-channel marketing campaign. Immediately after the launch, users began signing up for a two-week demo period to experience the platform's capabilities and opportunities.

Meanwhile, the FoodTech Data Navigator contains 4300+ curated data from international AgriFoodTech startup companies, accelerators & incubators, investment funds and business angels.

2020 FOODTECH 500

Inspired by the Fortune 500, Forward Fooding presented the official 2020 FoodTech 500, 2020's definitive list of global entrepreneurial talent at the intersection of food, technology and sustainability.

Forward Fooding shared the key challenges facing the global food innovation ecosystem and how FoodTech is addressing the rapid need for change across the food ecosystem. According to Forward Fooding, these challenges require innovative solutions and the answer is Agrifoodtech.

Forward Fooding saw a truly global response to their call for applicants with over 1,200 applications from 52 different countries, across 8 different categories of AgriFoodTech.

According to key statistics from the 2020 FoodTech 500, there are 374 revenue-generating companies on the list, 423 companies have received investment and more than €3.9 billion has been raised over time.

FoodTech 500 embraces the startup and scale-up success stories that are shaping the future of food. Overall, 78.2% of FoodTech 500 companies are less than 5 years old and 56.1% are in pre-seed or seed-stage funding. Despite their early stage, almost 75% are already generating revenue.

To compile the official list of the FoodTech 500, data from each application was processed using the FoodTech Data Navigator's unique algorithm combined with DataScouts' algorithms to calculate the company size score and a digital footprint score. The sustainability score is derived from a customised model based on the environmental data collected from the finalists.


The business size score is generated through a proprietary algorithm that predicts company growth based on a number of financial performance indicators. These include the number of employees, the stage of funding, the amount of funds raised to date, as well as the number of offices from which each company operates.


The digital footprint score is calculated through a proprietary algorithm that generates a forecast of the growth of each company's digital presence, taking into account each company's website traffic, social media performance and growth in the number of followers.


In the absence of a global framework to measure the impact of corporate sustainability, specifically for FoodTech companies, we have chosen, in collaboration with experts from the University of Turin, to create a unique sustainability score that takes into account selected United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information visit the ForwardFooding methodology page.


ForwardFooding encourages its partners to use the power of data to transform their current business and strengthen their competitive position by:

  •  Mapping the most relevant companies for your organisation.
  • Building and sharing collective intelligence with peers.
  • Identifying emerging technology trends.
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