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The Future of Innovation in the Global Food Market

25th Jan 2023

As a result of widespread changes globally in supply chain and consumer habits, the global food market is constantly evolving and innovating. Consumers are demanding more diverse, convenient, and sustainable options. At HW Global, David Peel has worked extensively across the globe collaborating with businesses to place candidates at the forefront of several exciting innovations that are shaping the way we produce, distribute and consume food. In this article, David highlights the most notable innovations he expects to define 2023.

We have ongoing projects across multiple different geographies around the world and are regularly talking to business leaders about innovation and the future of food every day. If you would like to discuss any of these topics in more detail and gain insight into how we have built global leadership teams in food, please get in touch.


Plant-Based Sources

As a result of heightened awareness around human health, animal health and environmental concerns, one popular change we are noticing when talking to business leaders is the consumer shift towards an increasingly plant-based lifestyle. A recent report by BI projected that plant-based foods could make up to 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030 with a value of over $162 billion. Companies across the spectrum are now investing heavily in acquiring and creating new products and brands which will appeal to the surging consumer demand for plant-based products.

One innovation that is driving this trend is the development of new plant-based meat and dairy alternatives that are increasingly indistinguishable from their animal-based counterparts. Companies such as Novameat* are using 3D technology to replicate the fibres of animal meat through ‘bio-printing’ whilst companies such as Prime Roots are using fungus to replicate fish and meat alternatives.

We have developed a strong working relationship with disruptive market-leading brands to build their senior leadership team globally. Some of which are pioneers of the alternative dairy and protein market, conducting some of the most impactful scale-ups in a generation. This recent work is alongside partnerships with more traditional and established companies who are global market leading FMCG/CPG organisations, who are all looking to ramp up their innovation and distribution of plant-based products.

Technological Advancements

Another area of innovation that will continue to develop is the use of technology to improve efficiency and sustainability in food production. As a result of the climate crisis, issues around supply chains following the pandemic and the shortage of agricultural land due to urbanisation, the need to innovate and refresh agricultural methods is increasingly urgent.

Technological advancements such as precision agricultural techniques like the use of drones and sensors to monitor crops are aiding another exciting innovation: vertical farming. Designed to increase yields hundreds of times larger than traditional outdoor farming, vertical farms occupy spaces such as buildings and shipping containers and use 70-95% less water as they are not disrupted by poor irrigation or evaporation. Companies such as Infarm are spearheading a revolution in farming which is producing plants that are never affected by floods or draughts, reducing the travel needed to transport food all whilst monitoring 50,000 data points with each plant to improve yield, quality and nutritional value.

We have worked with many global FMCG organisations to place candidates in a variety of R&D roles accelerating innovation in the food and functional snacking market. Recently, we have placed roles responsible for managing global food laboratories to improve food safety in emerging market geographies and also for improving the efficiency and nutritional value of the product in conjunction with R&D and Innovation teams.

The Rise of e-Commerce & Digital Platforms

The rise of e-Commerce and digital platforms is also transforming the way food is distributed and sold. Online grocery shopping and food delivery services are becoming more popular, and these platforms are using advanced data analytics to optimize their supply chains and reduce the 900 million tonnes of food waste each year.

Companies such as HelloFresh are combating food waste by providing precise ingredients based on customer preference, pre-portioned to the gram. Whilst companies such as Wasteless are helping retailers reduce food waste through the development of the world’s first machine-learning solution with real-time tracking, allowing grocers to offer customers dynamic pricing based on a product’s expiration date.

We have done extensive work globally in placing candidates building leading-edge back-end and front-end functional capabilities to deliver directly to consumers by digital means and through e-commerce channels that have no historic capability in this consumer channel.


The global food market is facing increasing pressure to become more sustainable and equitable. Consumers are demanding that companies prioritise social and environmental responsibility in their operations, and governments and organisations are implementing policies and regulations to encourage more sustainable practices. In the future, we can expect to see a greater focus on initiatives such as regenerative agriculture, which aims to improve the health of soil and ecosystems, and fair trade, which ensures that small farmers and producers receive a fair price for their goods.

The future of the global food market looks bright and is filled with opportunities for innovation. From the use of technology to improve efficiency and sustainability to the growth of plant-based and alternative protein sources, many exciting developments on the horizon will shape the way we produce, distribute, and consume food. What do you think? Let us know at: 



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