For a small country of 38,691 square miles, South Korea’s capital is the world’s second largest metropolitan area with almost half of the population living in Seoul. It has become important to innovate with new ideas and transform the food and beverage industry. In recent years, Korean food and beverages startups have received great support from Korean accelerators and incubators.
It is not easy to flourish in the food and beverages industry due to constant competition. Thus, it has become imperative to continuously generate new ideas to gain attention. Let us see some of the innovative Korean startups that are changing the landscape of this industry –
- The PlantEat Inc.
The PlantEat is a food-tech company that designs, develops, produces, distributes, and sells a range of plant-based alternatives. It conducts extensive research to produce such products. It focuses on producing data-based plant materials. The company aims to solve the malnutrition problem prevalent worldwide by producing healthier, tastier and sustainable plant-based products. In a bid to address the over-reliance on animal-based food diet, PlantEat wishes to improve the eating habits of people for a healthy and fit life.
They only produce vegan products certified by the UK vegetarian society. Currently, they are doing research to find sustainable meat substitutes. They have also signed a business agreement with Korean Agriculture Tech Company EzFarm for the same.
Headquarters- Anyang, Kyonggi-do, South Korea
Founder- Jaesik Yang
Founded on- Mar 5, 2017
Southeast Asia wastes around 21% of food. As a result, restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores end up wasting an additional 25% of their net income and add 15% to their food costs.
DamoGO is an app that fights against food waste and aims to build the biggest food sustainable community in Southeast Asia. Their platform allows people to rescue potential wasted food from restaurant, cafe, bar, hotel, marts at cheaper prices. They sell food at around 50% discount. Through their app, even the registered restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries can increase their brand value by taking this as an opportunity to reduce their food wastage.
“We are really a social app to reduce food waste, and our partners see the value and know that the service is not diluting their brands, but actually strengthening their brands,” said the CEO of DamoGo Lynn Hwang Soo.
Headquarters- Asia-Pacific (APAC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Southeast Asia
Founder- Farras Muhammad, Lynn Hwang Soo
Founded on- Sep 22, 2018
- Intake Foods
INTAKE Foods is a company that mainly focuses on food content development and food branding. It specializes in the innovation of leading food brands. It is involved in brand development, content development and publishing, such as food activities, intake of foods and a food culture of innovation. It is working on healthy foods and meal replacements. They have a range of healthy snacks, meals, and drinks. Intake Foods also has the biggest food information portal in Korea called FoodB2B. They are selling their products in various e-commerce channels. Some of their popular products are- Morning Jook (porridge), Meals (multigrain shake) and Dr. Nuts (mixed nuts snack).
The company claims that they have reached over US$ 15M in sales in 2020. Due to COVID-19 people in Korea are purchasing most of their food/beverages online.
Headquarters- Seoul, Seoul-t’ukpyolsi, South Korea
Founder- Nokyeob Han
Founded on- Feb 19, 2013
Alienrobot is the developer of a next gen robot joints that are designed to produce cycloid gears. It has created Cafeman which is an automated fully functional barista robot/bar. Cafeman can serve over 100 cups of coffee in an hour which is equal to the volume of three baristas. Customers place an order at a kiosk using a touchscreen. The time to prepare and serve the coffee is less than 3 minutes. Therefore, Alienrobot helps to bring customer satisfaction by cutting down on long queues, confusion at counter and order mistakes. Alienrobot also uses high-quality ingredients and helps to raise efficiency.
Such a robot-led revolution in the food and beverages industry can change the landscape of the industry. “Korea is a great place to gauge whether robots could bring about real changes in the food and beverage sector because of the number of small and medium-sized businesses and high population density,” said the CEO of Alienrobots Lee Sun Woo
Headquarters- Dongan, Kyonggi-do, South Korea
Founder- Lee Sun woo
Founded on- Nov 8, 2016
WeCook is a Korean kitchen startup that rents out space equipped with culinary equipments to restaurants and entrepreneurs. It is also Korea’s first shared kitchen. It was opened by Simple Project that was a part of Lotte Accelerator and had secured a funding of US$ 1.3M. They had opened 15 WeCook shared kitchens in 2019. It gives a chance to restaurants to develop food and beverages and sell food online.
It is a food market selling products of producers that make food using shared kitchen. They charge a monthly membership fee from food makers.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused many restaurants to shut down. By 2021, shared kitchen services like WeCook can be in high demand.
“With the food-related market being fragmented, it has been difficult for the industry to achieve economies of scale. With shared kitchens, we can create a community that can eventually contribute to creating economies of scale as we can share food supplies, equipment and logistics. Demand for shared kitchens continues to rise,” said CEO of WeCook, Kim Ki-woong.
Headquarters- Asia Pacific Region
Founder- Kim Ki-woong
Founded on- 2015
Startups are trying to keep up with trends and create new products and services according to the consumer needs and wants. They have also started incorporating sustainability and corporate responsibility in their products. We can expect that many such responsible startups can come up in future that are more inclined towards social welfare than just increasing profits.
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