Spain is the fourth agro-food power in Europe and the tenth in the world. It contributes 10% to the national GDP, generating over 2.8 million direct and indirect jobs. In 2021 we were able to see how investments in the Spanish food-tech ecosystem, as well as startups, tripled (to €695m), making Spain one of the world leaders in this regard. This figure puts food-tech in a very good position when it comes to investing in Spain.
However, there are other industries where Spain is establishing itself as a reference in Europe. The online entertainment sector such as online casinos and bookmakers has not stopped developing in Spain, being a major contributor to the country’s GDP. Furthermore, more and more companies are interested in entering Spain and establishing themselves in the market to offer casino games to users.
The Spanish ecosystem is in the top 5 of European ecosystems with the highest investment in foodtech after Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands. This ecosystem includes national, regional and local government agencies, trade associations, technology centres, science parks, universities, incubators and accelerators and of course startups.
Leading food companies in Spain
For example, in relation to public bodies, ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones is launching this spring the second edition of the Desafía program, an international immersion program hosted in the Netherlands and supported by the EU Next Generation Fund, which aims to internalize and To support rapid development. of the Spanish foodtech ecosystem.
Next, in relation to the technical centers in Spain, which play a fundamental role in the development of innovation of different startups, we have the National Center for Food Safety (CNTA) which has been an important participant in innovative programs such as Spain FoodTech and . Mylkcubator.
Similarly, large industries such as Europastry and Pascual, with their Baking the Future and Mylkcubator programs respectively, are leading the development of new technologies, working with national and international startups to help them scale their solutions and create a sustainable can help guarantee the food system.
Startups in the Spanish food tech sector
On the other hand, in terms of the classification of the main innovative areas, this year’s major projects with 24% are oriented towards product innovation, which includes everything related to new materials, from their production to their transformation into finished products. This is followed by the “direct to consumer” model, with 22% and finally, the digitization of the sector with 12%.
They all incorporate different sources of innovation and technologies, such as biotechnology, robotics, blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data. Thanks to these technologies, the foodtech ecosystem is getting closer to meeting the sustainability challenges presented by the agri-food industry.
Currently, we can see how many Spanish startups cover each part of the market value chain, applying this type of cutting-edge technologies. For example, in the agritech sector, Aconoc, a Madrid startup, is working on harvesting its first indoor hop crop and intends to supply a large part of the hop needs of a Galician brewery (Estrella Galicia) by the end of 2023. . On the other hand, in the food production and processing sector, we have Biotec Foods, a Spanish startup dedicated to the development of cultured meat from animal cell samples to grow the desired tissue in a controlled environment.