- “The agriculture sectors comprise establishments primarily engaged in growing crops, raising animals, and harvesting fish and other animals from a farm, ranch, or their natural habitats.” (EPA) For the purposes of this analysis, companies whose products or services are primarily focused on integrating with or innovating upon agriculture are included.
- The world’s population is growing, while available farmland is decreasing inside and outside of the United States. The global population is predicted to be at 9.8B in 2050, and farmers are expected to feed the world with fewer and fewer resources (Fast Company).
- Farms around the world will need to increase global food production by 70 percent in the next 40 years to keep pace with population growth (Forbes).
- The agricultural innovation market focuses heavily on biotechnology, which is a market projected to grow with a 7.07 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between now and 2025 (Fast Company).
- Between 2018 and 2020, venture capitalists invested around $7B into AgTech (Crunchbase).
Trends in Agriculture Sector
The Outthinker 8P framework – opportunities for disruption and innovation in the industry
- Impossible Foods was founded as a producer of plant-based substitutes for meat, dairy, and fish in 2011 and has received total funding of $1.6B to date (Crunchbase).
- The Impossible Burger, their top seller, is already positioned in supermarkets and featured in partnerships with Burger King and Disney (Reuters).
- Using food science and engineering, the company uses soybeans and yeast in a process in which they extract genetically modified heme, a protein additive that gives the Impossible Burger its meat-like flavor (Green Matters).
- The company presents that its food production generates 87 percent less greenhouse gas, uses 95 percent less land, and 75 percent less water than conventional beef operations.
- The company has recently released plant-based substitute Impossible Sausage in a partnership with Starbucks (Impossible Foods), and is currently developing an alternative to pork.
- Valued at $4B in 2020, the company now retails in over 20,000 stores, beyond the 150 it initially sold in.
- AgTech company Indigo was founded in 2014 as a microbiology and biotechnology company focused on increasing profitability, sustainability, and health in food production (Crunchbase).
- They innovated on the technology of microbially-treated seeds using a bio-coating which reduces or eliminates the need for chemical inputs that place a burden on the environment (The Counter).
- Indigo created a global data-gathering “apparatus” called Indigo Research Partners (IRP), or “The World’s Largest Agricultural Lab,” which harnesses one trillion data points per day from drones, satellites, and sensors around the world (The Counter).
- Their Terraton Initiative connects farmers with an eye on regenerative agriculture with corporations who seek to offset their carbon footprint with environmentally friendly investment. The company aims to sequester 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide in the next few decades through the initiative (Fast Company).
- Freight Farms was founded in 2013 as a producer and designer of modular, scalable farming systems (Freight Farms).
- Freight Farms released the first hydroponic container farm in 2013, and now offers 10 different farm systems in its lineup.
- Freight Farms developed the farmhand® suite, IoT-based farm management software that provides optimization and automation tools for container farmers.
- In their new Greenery S model, Freight Farms uses IoT-connected sensors and cameras integrated with its farmhand® software to give farmers control over air, lighting, water, nutrients, and spacing (Freight Farms).
- IBM Food Trust is a blockchain-based, shared record of transactions and data in the food supply chain.
- IBM Food Trust, through blockchain trackability, can improve supply chain efficiency, increase brand trust, innovate on food safety and sustainability, and improve food freshness, eliminate food fraud, and reduce food waste (IBM).
- The network provides users with permissions access to supply chain data, connecting farm to store, and store to consumer.
- According to IBM, the “complete history” of singular food items with relevant information, such as tests, certifications, and temperature data, could be accessible within seconds of upload to the blockchain.
- Clients can access data on food items in the store and track those individual items and their pertinent data points down the chain to the farm within 2.2 seconds.