Competence and passion for agrifoodtech, with the ecosystem above all.

That’s what I would answer to whoever asked me to define Forward Fooding  in one phrase. With such features, Alessio D'Antino, founder and CEO, has obviously been included in the list of 77 Italian Foodtech Influencers to watch in 2021.

Profile photo of Alessio D39Antino

Alessio D'Antino

“Create global awareness on agrifoodtech” could be instead the “Sense of Why” of Alessio, Max and the rest of the team with which I have the pleasure to collaborate. And exactly merging all these features that was launched last year the “Foodtech500” , this year on its second edition.


“The idea for the FoodTech 500 - says Alessio - first came over a team lunch at Forward Fooding  HQ in 2019, where we were debating the recent IPO of Beyond Meat and wondering who will be the next big player in AgriFoodTech to exit. This question led us to embark on a journey to seek and celebrate global innovators at the intersection of food and technology, allowing us to create the world’s first ‘Fortune 500’ list of AgriFoodTech. This successful first edition, released in February 2020, received over 1,200 applications from international FoodTech startup and scaleup companies from 54 countries”.

Profile photo of Max Leveau Max Leveau

“With 2052 applicants from over 60 countries - says Max Leveau, COO - this year has revealed the incredible diversity of those tackling the food crisis”. In fact, the numbers of 2020’s edition are pretty impressive:

  • 2,000+ applications from international AgriFoodTech startup and scaleup companies covering the whole value chain (from Agtech to Food delivery, Food Processing, Next-gen Food & Drinks, Food waste and beyond)

  • 63 countries represented (based on the companies who applied)

  • 45% of the FoodTech 500 companies' leadership teams are women, BEM (Black and minority ethnic), or LGBTQ+ founded.

  • 20+ pieces of exclusive press coverage from specialist publications for the 2019's edition (including Food NavigatorSifted, AgFunder, among the others);

  • 250,000+ page views and 86,000+ unique visitors from 95 countries on the FoodTech 500 website (since December 2020)



Regarding this year’s edition, Forward Fooding underlines a net increase in the selected companies’ founding teams’ diversity. As a matter of fact, as stated above, 45% of the chosen companies' leadership teams are women, BEM (Black and minority ethnic), or LGBTQ+ founded. Even though a 2017 Forbes  investigation found that the fastest-growing companies, with 200%+ growth, are 75% more likely to have a female founder, data has consistently shown that from leadership positions, pay gap and investments, women are systematically losing out. According to a  Carta analysis  involving nearly 10,000 startups, female founders hold much less equity in their companies than their male counterparts. Women represent a mere 13% amongst startup founders. Over the past eight years, women have been instrumental in advancing food and ag-tech and bringing the food system’s pressing challenges into the public consciousness. We witness that they have a unique understanding of the consumer bases and typically best respond to the most progressive causes. In a Yale study, female public opinion consistently perceives environmental issues such as global warming and biodiversity loss as more urgent and worrying than their male counterparts. This means that women make up a larger share of the very consumer base that these food-tech startups are targeting, and losing out from their leadership in the boardrooms will ultimately dampen innovation and marketing effectiveness.

FT500 2020 - LAUNCH WEBINAR - 15_02_2021 2png


“We created the FoodTech 500 in 2019 - explains Alessio  - to shine a spotlight on the leading global innovators across the AgriFoodTech ecosystem, from farm to fork, who are making impactful solutions to better our food system. This year instead, we focused on understanding the driving factors behind some of these companies’ success and their innovations, which confirmed our belief that the SDG Goal 5 – women’s empowerment and gender equality – is a crucial target that has been neglected. As stakeholders, decision-makers, and educators, women have unique insights into real effective solutions, prompted by their current position as a population most vulnerable to climate change amongst other inequalities. To this end, we are thrilled to unveil the official ranked list of the 2020’s FoodTech 500, and showcase the top industry players transforming our food system and give them the recognition they deserve.”


What will be the 5 most important agrifood-tech trends to watch for in 2021? Here’s Alessio’s list

  1. Plant-based & delivery going towards consolidation and becoming more mainstrea

  2. D2C is here to stay. Digital Native Vertical Brands are the new brands that provide and acquire data from their customers

  3. Proteins from everything (wood, peanuts, air, mushrooms) and precision fermentation, that’s more scalable than cell-based

  4. Regulation going more in favour of cell-food

  5. Agritech solutions being adopted a lot quicker (vertical farming quite present in FT500, precision agriculture becoming the norm to optimise resources, new generations of farmers and growing awareness).

    FT500 2020 - LAUNCH WEBINAR - 15_02_2021 1png


Finally, after a long wait, I’m so excited to share in previewing the Top 10 of Foodtech 500 2020. And the winner is

  1. PLENTY - The soil less farming is the future of agriculture and Plenty can be defined as one of its standard bearers. The first place of SIlicon Valley based startup unveils a lot about the future of agrifoodtech

  2. AEROFARMS - The winner of 2019 edition, this year instead has to settle for the place of honor. A great result anyway that confirms the great quality of american B corp growing vegetables through aeroponics. Soil less farming even for the second position. So?

  3. IMPERFECT FOOD - Third place this year for the food waste warriors of Imperfect Foods. These guys aim to shape a better world through delivery of foods discarded by the food system due to ther “imperfect” look. Doesn’t it sound great?

  4. APEEL - Food waste even on the fourth place, but with a “food science” approach. Through reprocessing of fruit and veggies byproducts Apeel technology is able to craft a coating film able to delay postharvest rotting.

  5. INFARM - Vertical farming again, with another market leader, the german startup which closed a 170m$ round in september

  6. THE LIVEKINDLY CO. -  A great result for the vegan media company founded by Jodi Monelle, after the 200m$ investment by Blue Horizon

  7. TOO GOOD TO GO - Another team of true sustainability warriors that’s expanding quickly all over the world.

  8. FARMY - The swiss startup can be defined as an authentic pioneer of D2C. Fresh products directly from producers to consumers

  9. GREEN MONDAY GROUP - The proper recognition of the commitment shown by Green Monday to promote a more sustainable and “plant-based” lifestyle

  10. NOTCO - After the investment of Amazon Big Boss Jeff Bezos and the launch of its plant-based milk in USA, the chilean plant-based company close its 2020 in the Top10 of Foodtech500

What do you think about this Top10? Discover the full list here.

Have you missed the livestream presentation? Watch it here

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