How Small Food Companies Are Disrupting the Food Chain

February 25, 2016

CHICAGO —Entrepreneurial companies are disrupting the food chain through product innovation, storytelling and home delivery services. In the February issue of Food Technology Magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), writer and nutritionist David Despain examines the factors revolutionizing the food industry.

Recent research from Mintel (2015) showed that 43 percent of Millennials do not trust large food manufacturers, compared to only 18 percent of non-Millennials. Similarly, nearly three quarters (74 percent) of Millennials want food companies to be more transparent about their products. Because of this distrust, Millennials want brands to form a genuine, authentic connection with them. They are seeking out products with local or novel ingredients and brands that are attached to a greater ethical mission. Small food brands are successfully connecting with consumers by offering natural and transparent products and aligning ingredients and marketing with a social cause.

As Millennials look for foods made with premium distinctions, it’s also creating a favorable business climate for food entrepreneurs. Food startups are flourishing and tapping into the rapid shift in consumer demand. From alternative proteins to meal delivery ventures to urban greenhouses, the food startup scene has taken off and is helping to meet the demand for expanded and better food choices.  

Major retailers and investors are taking notice. Retailers are catering to new consumer needs by changing the assortment on their shelves to include more products from smaller brands. Investors, too, see tremendous potential in smaller food companies and have been eager to finance new food ventures. The viable funding environment combined with a commitment to product innovation and storytelling has helped accelerate growth for small food businesses. As large food companies struggle to stay relevant, small food businesses are quickly becoming competition and disrupting the traditional food chain.

Read the article in the Food Technology here

About IFT
Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is committed to advancing the science of food. Our non-profit scientific society—more than 17,000 members from more than 95 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government and industry. For more information, please visit