THE MANY SHADES OF FOOD TECH
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.