Venture capitalists (VCs) have put their money where their mouth is by ploughing millions of dollars into food tech businesses in 2021.
It is estimated $50B was invested globally in food tech businesses last year, according to Food Hack, as start-ups and unicorns responded to the changing needs of the industry and consumer habits brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
There remains a hearty appetite this year as VCs continue to invest in businesses that are bringing a new dynamic to the food sector – from production through to delivery. Pitchbook, which provides data and technology to private capital markets, has noted that there have already been seven new food tech-focused funds launched in 2022.
This continued investment will maintain the rapid explosion growth in food tech start-ups, who grabbed the opportunity to innovate the food sector after its flaws and inefficiencies were revealed by the Pandemic.
There were public supply chain issues, which showed the need for new technology solutions to overcome the challenges. Consumer habits also changed the food landscape as a result of lockdowns and a plethora of rules impacting bricks and mortar establishments. The rise of meal kits, subscription services, and greater use of home delivery services, which has seen new businesses look to fill the gap.
In addition, there has also been a move to more ‘greener’ food with consumers buying ethically sourced or produced food. How food impacts on climate change has also come to the fore and investments in ethical business or those providing alternative food sources, such as plant-based food or insects as opposed to meat are attracting VCs.
The investment over the past two years has been more weighted to meet the consumers’ needs, but funding has also gone into emerging technologies in agriculture, food manufacturing, robotics, automation, and food waste management.
The knock-on from the billions being invested in food tech is companies are expanding and need talented employees with the expertise to help them deliver their goals as well as justify the investment.
The good news is that the talent is there, however, these individuals are in high demand which has led to a ‘war on talent’, according to the finding from the State of European Tech 21 report.
This annual report, which analyses and surveys founders across all sectors of the European tech landscape, has produced some interesting research and data on talent.
One of the key outcomes from tech founders is recruiting the right talent has been identified as one of the major challenges despite some positive sentiment about the depth of talent.
Almost half of the repeat tech founders consulted (43%) considered the talent pool across Europe has improved compared to 2020. However, those businesses with greater funds are the ones being able to attract and reward the best talent available, leading to this ‘war for talent’.
Across Europe’s major tech nations, there were differing views on the amount of talent. Founders from France, Italy, Sweden, Spain and Germany believed the depth of the talent pool was better, whereas those in the UK and Netherlands felt it was worse.
Those in the UK and the Netherlands also feel it is much harder to attract talent, as do those in Spain and France. Tech start-ups are attractive propositions to employees but given the competition, founders are revising their recruitment plans and how they attract talent, particularly given how the working dynamics have changed as a result of the pandemic.
Unsurprisingly, a third of tech founders (32%) have increased the number of fully remote roles. Given the ‘work from home’ movement has grown and employees have shown to be capable of producing results, this makes sense.
Founders have equally placed more emphasis on the company’s mission and purpose, to enable them to align with the potential candidates’ outlook and career vision.
The other top strategies to attract talent include expanding the scope of the search to a wider geographical area (23%) increasing salaries (20%) and using recruitment agencies to source talent (14%).
Each of these has its merits and a combination of these factors will certainly enhance the chances of securing better talent.
As experienced recruiters for the food sector, there are advantages to using an agency as opposed to posting an advert and hoping for the best. Agencies can offer recruitment advice, ensure a premium perfectly suited shortlist as well as provide access to an established talent pool.
If you would be interested in discovering the benefits of using our AI driven recruitment processes and securing the best talent from across the globe, talk to one of our Clarico head hunters by clicking here