Startups are founder-driven companies that focus on a single product or service. These ventures typically have loose business models, and they lack the funds to expand the business and take it further. However, that also makes them important businesses to watch. This is especially true if they have ideas that can work on a larger scale.
Food and beverage startups are always exciting, especially when they introduce something unique and creative to the market. They can also create a buzz by presenting old favorites in a new way. Moreover, with people looking for value and functional ingredients, there is a lot of room for startups to make major moves.
It can be difficult to tell which startups are going to take their products to the next level. The idea needs to be good, but they also need funding if they want to move to progress. The best way to go about things is to monitor a variety of interesting startups that have a unique idea and potential, which is what you will find with the startups on this list.
Trends In Food and Beverage for 2022
There is a lot of value in startups matching the trends that drive the industry. That is why the trends expected for 2022 will affect which startups to watch. Of course, creative and exciting products and services always stand out. However, those that have an exciting idea and follow these trends are worth even more attention:
- Functional Ingredients: Health and wellness have risen to the top over the past few years. That influences a lot of things in the world of food, including a desire for functional ingredients. Things like probiotics and health-conscious foods are in high demand, so companies that deliver them in unique ways stand out.
- Plant-Based Substitutes: There are plant-based substitutes everywhere, particularly when it comes to meat. While there has been a bit of a cool-off for some companies in the same realm, there is speculation that it will continue to see growth in the coming year and beyond.
- A Good Value: More than ever, people are starting to look for good value. High-quality products are still expected, but companies that deliver a good product at a similarly good price are seen in a good light and likely to see success.
- Green Products: Vegetables are usually sold as almost brandless products. But many people are starting to slap a brand on things like lettuce, basil, and other green products. People want fresh food more than ever, and they want to know where it came from.
While these trends do not make or break startups, they are important to keep in mind. In fact, in the list below, you will see that many brands are following these trends and seeing success.
Startups to Keep an Eye On
The trends above can be great indicators of success, but a great startup is more than that. In order for a startup to be successful, it needs to have a new approach. There needs to be something that makes the product or service stand out. Of course, passion, hard work, and timing are also important.
Below are startups that show promise in one way or another. Whether it be the idea, the execution, or the market, these are food and beverage startups to keep your eye on in 2022.
Remedy Organics is a startup that embraces functional food that is targeted toward people that want something healthy. They create plant-based shakes and immunity shots. This type of healthy product is definitely something people want, and they do it particularly well.
The products from Remedy Organics are plant-based, but that is not all. The wellness shakes have organic superfoods and are packed with protein. Everything is natural, and to top it off, they do not taste like something awful. In fact, they are known to be quite good. Some of what they offer include:
- Berry Immunity: Strawberry and dragon fruit drink focused on boosting immunity and promoting gut health.
- Cacao Essentials: Dark chocolate drink focused on energizing, improving performance, and promoting gut health.
- Blue Oxidants: Vanilla and coconut drink focused on energizing and promoting gut health.
Moreover, these drinks are free from dairy, gluten, and soy. They are also entirely organic and kosher. With so many people wanting healthy products, this is a big one to watch in 2022.
In a world where food delivery is everywhere, Goldbelly takes a different approach. They still deliver food — that much has not changed — but they offer a careful curation of food that stands out. They want to share iconic dishes from all over with people around the US.
But Goldbelly is much more than a food delivery service. Sure, they have an impressive menu of restaurants and dishes. They even do a great job of highlighting small businesses with a product worth knowing about. However, they also promote things like:
- Live Chef Classes
- Meal Kits
- Care Packages
- Food Gifts
Goldbelly lives up to its mission of emotion through food. They do this by providing memorable meals from iconic restaurants. It also comes through from the care packages and gifts you can send others. It provides a hub for those who love food, and it does food delivery in a way that makes it feel fresh and new.
Cultivated Biosciences is a young company with an exciting idea. They create plant-based fats, and they do it using fermented yeast. While it might sound strange, it serves an interesting purpose. Using these plant-based fats, they hope to add creaminess to dairy-free products. Therefore, it has uses in things like dairy-free:
- Baked Goods
The list goes on, including yogurts and virtually anything that otherwise relies on milk for its creaminess. Considering food often depends on texture, there is a lot of value in this product. Moreover, plant-based dairy is said to have some health benefits. Since health and plant-based products are expected to grow, the company has a bright future.
Direct-to-consumer businesses are not new, but Licious is looking to popularize the concept in India. They have already seen some success, and they hope to achieve more. Since its founding in 2015, the company has seen significant growth. Part of it is the high demand, but it is also due to offering high-quality products, including:
- Fish & Seafood
- Ready-to-Cook Meals
The company offers even more, including cold cuts and value packs. Moreover, they have a reputation for quality, convenience, and reasonable prices, making them stand out. Licious has even received recognition for its success and innovation as a startup. They are one you really need to watch in 2022.
On the opposite side of things from Licious is Impossible Foods. This company is known for its delicious plant-based burgers, among other things. Their main mission as a company is to create sustainable meats, with those meats being made from plants. And they have already found some success in grocery stores across the country with:
- Chicken Nuggets
It is all made from plants, and it is a healthy alternative with a low environmental impact. Even if that is not your ideal type of burger or chicken nugget, it is an exciting idea, especially since plant-based companies are expected to see success.
Pasta is beloved by people around the globe, and that is exactly what Banza does. The only difference between Banza and many other pasta companies is what they use to make their product. Banza, unlike the average pasta company, uses chickpeas. Higher in protein and fiber and composed of fewer carbs, it is a healthy pasta alternative.
However, it is such a great product because the end result still has a decent texture and great flavor. Is it the exact same as regular pasta? No. However, it does allow you to have some of your favorite pasta dishes using healthier noodles. And it does not stop there, with their products including:
- Penne Pasta
- Mac and Cheese
Banza offers pasta, rice, pizza dough, and even boxed mac and cheese. And it comes in all sorts of shapes, from penne to shells and ziti. There are even alphabet noodles for a playful twist. It is a unique startup with a clear vision, plenty of products, and a creative idea on a classic that embraces the health-conscious era of food.
To put it simply, Nutpods is a company that makes various creamers. However, it is not just any other creamers. All of their creamers are derived from non-dairy products. The primary focus is on products made from almond and coconut. But the company has expanded to oat-based creamers as well, rounding out their lineup quite nicely.
The line of products is meant for coffee, tea, and anything else you want to use it for. They also have a variety of flavors, from original to things like caramel and hazelnut. There are even seasonal offerings available. It is an impressive operation with a lot of positive reviews, so you might want to keep an eye on it in 2022.
Another company looking to take a common, beloved food and put a twist on it is RightRice. As one of the most popular foods in the world, it is clear that rice is something people want. However, there is no denying that, much like pasta, rice is full of empty calories. However, RightRice looks to change with rice made from vegetables.
RightRice is not just a look-alike product, either. They provide an easy-to-cook rice alternative that has a good texture and rather impressive taste. Part of that is the flavors provided, such as garlic herb and Spanish rice. But there is also an original flavor. Moreover, they do other products as well, offering:
Flavor and variety aside, the healthy aspect of RightRice is still its major selling point. This plant-based rice is loaded with more than twice the protein and five times more fiber than ordinary white rice. It also contains almost 40% fewer net carbs. The startup checks a lot of boxes, from tasty to healthy, and it is worth watching.
Bizzy Coffee is a startup focused on coffee, as the name might suggest. But they are focused on a specific type of coffee: cold brew. The company has a passion for its product, devoting seven years to perfecting the blends. Their process is just as strict, starting with ethically-sourced beans that are coarsely ground and then micro sifted.
The products from Bizzy Coffee are also 100% organic and sustainably produced. Moreover, they sell ground coffee, brew bags, and ready-to-drink blends of their delicious cold brew. It is clear how much effort they put in, and they have already seen results. In fact, they are the highest-selling brand of cold brew on Amazon.
Instacart is such a big name these days that it is hard to think of it as a startup. That is just how much success this company has seen in recent years, growing particularly quickly during the height of the pandemic. However, there are plenty of reasons behind their success beyond the times. Instacart simplifies grocery shopping:
- They allow you to make a cart online
- Their shoppers go to the store for you
- The groceries are delivered to your door
While the process is convenient, Instacart’s rapid growth and desire to expand make it really worth keeping an eye on. In fact, the company no longer relies on just delivering groceries. They also deliver from other stores, such as pet stores and pharmacies. Moreover, they offer curbside pickup services with some retailers across the country.
Freshly is another direct-to-consumer startup that has seen some success. Since its founding in 2012, Freshly has seen some impressive growth. They were even purchased by Nestlé for $1.5 billion in 2020, helping them keep growing as they try to provide fresh meals to people across the US.
The main business model of Freshly is delivering meals to customers across the country, but they offer more than that. Freshly offers subscription plans that let people set things up how they want them and gain a clear understanding of what they are getting for their money.
Freshly has also expanded in recent years to provide business-to-business food delivery, providing a concierge meal service. It was originally targeted at healthcare workers during the pandemic, offering quick and delicious meals, but it has since expanded. There is also FreshlyFit for those who want low-carb and high-protein meals.
There are plenty of plant-based meat alternatives on the market. In fact, there are a few on this list. But with people craving a delicious meat alternative, it is no wonder these startups are popping up. However, no matter how many others exist, Redefine Meat stands out. Why? Because they use 3D printing when making their products.
It might sound like a gimmick at first. 3D printed meat? But it is far more than that. Redefine Meat understands meat, and they want to create something that does more than taste vaguely of steak. Their goal is to make steak so perfect that you cannot tell the difference between the plant-based meat and the real thing. You can currently get:
- Ground Beef
And Redefine Meat is expanding its offerings. They soon plan to sell lamb flank, beef flank, beef skewers, and minute steaks. This startup is doing interesting things, and it is one to watch in the coming year and beyond.
This startup is a bit different from many of the others on the list. In fact, they do not produce food or beverages at all, nor do they deliver them. Instead, they make micro-farms that you can put anywhere. They make indoor farming simple, and they let you have fresh, delicious produce. They even express interesting uses, such as:
- In schools to make student dining smarter
- At hotels to add a unique experience and ambiance
- Inside hospitals or senior living facilities
- Within a corporate dining area for fresh additions
Regardless of how you plan to use the product, it is an interesting take on urban farming. There is even an app that provides information on what can be grown, how well the growing process is going, and when it is time to harvest. With so many people wanting sustainability and healthy products, it is sure to see growth in 2022.
Formerly known as Memphis Meats, Upside Food has a different take on meat. No, not plant-based, though it is a type of indirect substitute. The difference between the company’s products and other meat products is that no animals are slaughtered. If you are wondering how that is possible, the answer is simple, kind of. They use animal cells.
Upside Foods is somewhat of a pioneer. They created the first cultured beef meatball and did the same with chicken and duck. Now, they are looking to ramp up production and get their products out to customers.
Mainly, the company is focusing on their Upside Chicken, but they plan to do much more. If you are excited about real meat without the need to slaughter animals, keep your eyes peeled.
Once Upon a Farm
Although many startups target kids with healthy snacks and drinks, few are as exciting as Once Upon a Farm. This startup has a great product, and it really knows how to make something that will appeal to children and adults. The adults will like it because it is healthy, while the children will be excited by the packaging and taste. They sell:
- Cold-Pressed Blends
- Overnight Oats
- Dairy-Free Smoothies
- Organic Meals
There are numerous products, and they are meant for children of all ages. There are even blends meant for babies. Moreover, since it is all organic, people can trust what they are putting into their child’s body. Once Upon a Farm is definitely one to watch in 2022.
These are only a few of the startups that exist, with many others existing out there with their own strengths and unique approaches to the food and beverage game. Moreover, with tech and food continuing to mix it up, it is likely that even more will be seen in 2022 and the years to come. It is an exciting time for food, so make sure you do not miss it.