THE MANY SHADES OF FOOD TECH

Arabnet - The Quarterly - - Business -

Apart from food de­liv­ery, star­tups in MENA are tack­ling other food tech cat­e­gories such as restau­rant tech, on­line chef/caterer hire, and food sub­scrip­tion. The fol­low­ing sec­tions il­lus­trate the di­ver­sity of the food tech cat­e­gories and busi­ness mod­els found within MENA and call at­ten­tion to some of the most prom­i­nent play­ers, key in­vest­ments, and ac­tive mar­kets. The 10 mar­kets that have been in­cluded and an­a­lyzed are Le­banon, UAE, Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain, Jor­dan, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco, and Oman.

While the pre­pared meal de­liv­ery model is still rel­a­tively new to MENA, it is gain­ing trac­tion, and the re­gion is cur­rently home to around 15 unique star­tups across four mar­kets, with the ma­jor­ity (11) based in the UAE. Ac­cord­ing to Nielsen’s ‘Global Health & Well­ness Sur­vey’, 83% of UAE re­spon­dents said that they are will­ing to pay more for healthy food, thus pro­vid­ing a niche for healthy food star­tups to flourish and grow.

Home-cooked Meal De­liv­ery

Home-cooked food de­liv­ery star­tups con­nect home cooks with work­ing pro­fes­sion­als, cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple at home to gen­er­ate in­come by con­nect­ing them to con­sumers will­ing to pay for their healthy home-cooked meals. Un­like other food de­liv­ery ri­vals, th­ese star­tups crowd­source the cook­ing process, and pri­or­i­tize the home-cooked qual­ity of food over the con­ve­nience of de­liv­ery. While still rel­a­tively new to MENA, the home-cooked meal de­liv­ery model is catching on, es­pe­cially in Egypt where 3 of the 6 home-cooked meal de­liv­ery star­tups are based. Cairo-based startup Mumm is cur­rently the lead­ing player in the sec­tor, af­ter hav­ing se­cured a $200K in­vest­ment from 500 star­tups, its sec­ond round of in­vest­ment since launch­ing in 2015.

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