Industry Insights · 9min read
Fintech Solutions for Food Players Along the Supply Chain
Discover some of the top tech companies revolutionising food and finance.
The convergence of fintech and foodtech marks the dawn of a new era for food players along the entire supply chain. Both these industries have been notoriously resistant to change for decades. The emergence of a string of innovative and tech-savvy startups is giving way to new markets and heated competition. And the corporate giants that once ruled these industries are struggling to keep up with their digital-first counterparts. Most recently, the pandemic has further catalysed the advent of digital finance opportunities.
Below, we zoom in on some of the exciting fintech businesses around the globe working to disrupt farming, food manufacturing and processing, retail, restaurants and beyond.
Fintech for Farming
Digital and financial tools for agriculture are proving beneficial to farmers the world over. In Kenya, Apollo Agriculture is using mobile money accounts, financing, consulting, insurance and machinery to support farmers in the maximisation of their profits. Acre Africa connects East African farmers with innovative insurance products, such as risk monitoring and assessments, and supports them with mobile money in the face of weather and climate-induced struggles. In Asia and Africa, Pula is providing +4.5 smallholder farmers with agricultural insurance, digital products and data-driven insights to mitigate yield risks and help them become more profitable in the long run. Hailing from New Zealand, Figured is a farm management software combining planning and resource management with accounting software integration for livestock, dairy and crop budgeting, production, tracking and forecasting.
Fintech for Food Manufacturing & Food Processing
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is one of the pioneer fintech services for businesses. While we have yet to witness the emergence of specific lending firms and platforms for food manufacturers and processors, many F&B companies are making use of this service. This type of financial solution replaces the traditional intermediary role of banks in the supply chain and paves the way for online marketplaces to liaison between investors and borrowers. For this, food producers are leveraging blockchain technologies to pay their suppliers, distributors with their logistics partners. In Malaysia, for example, B2B FinPal is one such platform, while in the US, Kabbage by American Express is leading the way.
With food waste one of the food industry’s most persistent challenges, it’s no surprise that fintech businesses are also looking into ways to reduce the thus-resulting financial losses. One such example is the Colombian app-based platform Agromovil, Thanks to its ‘batch, match and pay’ approach Agromovil connects, smallholder farmers in the US and Latin America can minimise waste and thus maximise profits.
When it comes to machinery and technology investments for the food sector, Siemens is leading the way. The German conglomerate offers a range of financial solutions, including leasing, rentals, energy-efficiency programs and other usage-based financing plans that help boost productivity and lower operational costs for machinery and technology. In a similar but slightly different example, Accord Financial offers so-called asset-based-lending schemes for small to medium-sized F&B businesses in the US and Canada. ABL allows companies to unlock capital with the help of its assets, such as accounts receivable, inventory, machinery and real estate. A specialist in the latter is London-based financier Rangewell, whose focus lies on premises funding. By helping food manufacturers buy premises with commercial mortgages, businesses can reduce their costs and build assets in the long run.
Fintech for Retail
In supermarkets and other food stores, innovative POS solutions are driving fintech innovation. Retailers are responding to customers’ demand for cashless shopping by partnering with new payment platforms, such as cloud-based solutions, as well as contactless payment providers. A comprehensive list can be found here.
Fintech for Gastronomy
Restaurateurs and hoteliers are also adopting new finance solutions to boost profits and improve customer experiences. The Swiss startup Zahlin, for example, allows guests to check into their app and settle their bill as soon as they are ready to pay, rather than waiting for the waiter to drop the check. The technology is highly secure and hassle-free. In France, unicorn startup Swile is making headlines with its all-in-one-smartcard that covers a string of employee benefits, such as meal vouchers and mobility services. Also hailing from France, Pepeats is championing automated billing and customer loyalty management with integrated web-based software. Another leader in the hospitality industry is Tacit Corporation, which provides guests with easy-to-use digital ordering solutions from their smartphones, tablets or in-house kiosks across North America.
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Imagery: (1) Towfiqu Barbhuia, (2) Dan Meyers & (3) Battlecreek Coffee Roasters via unsplash.com