Business Intelligence | Explore the US food business

In march 2019, we invite you to join a international mission in USA.

The aim of the mission is for you to better know about the the US processed food and beverage industry which is the largest employer in US manufacturing, representing small, medium, and large businesses, directly employing 2.1 million Americans in 30000 communities across the country (accounting for 16 percent of all US manufacturing employment) and indirectly supporting an additional 11 million jobs from farm to fork. In 2016, industry’s sales in the United States totaled $1 trillion, and the US processed food and beverage industry contributed nearly $250 billion to the US gross domestic product. The US processed food and beverage industry provides safe, affordable, high quality products that Americans rely on every day, enabling Americans to spend less of their disposable income on food than consumers in any other industrialized economy1.

We have decided to head to Chicago where the food and beverage industry is a large and important part of Chicagoland’s regional economy — approximately 4500 food and beverage companies call the region home, accounting for 130000 employees and $32 billion in annual sales. The Chicagoland area, one of the world’s top global cities and a hub for trade, leads the nation in packaged food and beverage sales, but also boosts a vibrant local food movement and a large number of entrepreneurial start-ups. RW Ventures and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) released highlights transformative trends in the local and national food industry, and lays the groundwork for a regional food cluster organization that will lead collaborative cluster efforts to support and grow local companies2.  We will also open opportunities in Milwaukee wich count more than 1400 food and beverage companies totalising 93000 jobs. It is number 1 in cheese, organic cors, oat and bean, and is one of the most productive ag food region, totalising 67,8 billions of food processed sales3. Find more information on

This mission aims also to tackle the future of the food industry and this is why we encourage you to continue the journey by making new key contacts and measuring the implication of technology in the future offood industry by joining in San Francisco the FUTURE FOOD TECH 2019 – which take place between the 21-22nd of March. The Future Food-Tech summit will gather 500+ global food corporates, investors and technology start-ups from around the world to uncover the most exciting innovations in the agri-food sector and to forge the right partnerships to take those solutions to the market. Together with the preceding World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, the two events form Rethink Agri-Food Innovation Week (RAFI Week). Addresses the most urgent opportunities for innovation in the downstream food industry, connecting food-tech innovators with global food brands, retailers and investors4.

Company visiting the show are Corporates looking for innovation – start-ups or partners, start-ups looking for investors and scale-up partners, Investors looking to meet start-ups, co-investors and strategic corporates, food retailers and brands looks for partners and innovators

Why is connected food market important in US? Nearly two thirds of Americans qualify as “food connected” and they account for a whopping $835 million of US food expenditures. Add on that food connected consumers tend to take a more open-minded approach to what they eat and the brands they buy5. Just how much digital influences consumer spending is a real eyeopener. In the 2016 report The New Digital Divide, Deloitte found that digital interactions influence 56 cents of every dollar spent in bricks-and-mortar stores, up from 36 cents just three years prior. Furthermore, people who shop using different methods—including online, mobile and visits to a physical store—spend more than double those who only shop at bricksand-mortar stores, according to Deloitte’s The Omnichannel Opportunity study6.

In 2018, consumers will research before they buy more than ever, and that includes food and beverages. With a quick search on their smartphones, consumers can make informed and speedy choices about the products they consume. What foods provide the protein and energy boost needed for a workout? Which drinks promote healthier skin? Where is this food grown? What are the core values and history of the company manufacturing the product? Successful food and beverage businesses will use digital and social platforms to connect with consumers, providing robust product research avenues, tips, stories, forums and more for the information hungry consumer. Harnessing the internet of things and big data are important parts of that overall strategy as well7.

Some of the key trends include more diversity and continued evolution in home-delivered meal kits; the use of connected, voice-controlled digital assistants to facilitate consumer decisions and purchases; the increasing speed of food deliveries with a wider variety of options from packaged to perishable; and even recipes on demand8.

Technological advances are leading the food and beverage industry towards a digital future where anything that can be connected will be connected. This opens a door of opportunities for the industry based on the data gained from technology. For example, consumer data can help companies anticipate and respond to changing market needs. This will challenge companies to quickly adjust product and supply chains appropriately. One way to overcome the challenge is through strategic partnerships making it possible to innovate and get products to market faster9.

Because the food and beverage industry faces unique challenges (seasonal changes, demand for differentiated SKUs, increasing regulatory/quality restrictions, complicated production planning and the sheer scale of production), it is uniquely situated to take advantage of the benefits of digitalization. Consider these examples10:

  • Online grocery sales are booming in North America and western Europe; big data analytics affords the food industry deep insights into shopping trends and the ability to predict (rather than react to) customer needs.
  • There’s an increased demand for variety in food & beverage products; smart factories enable greater, cheaper customization than has ever been possible.
  • Seasonal demands require food processors to pivot quickly; IT/OT convergence enables plant operators to fully understand how their facilities are responding to changes in production.

Digital trends will have a tremendous impact on how food is produced. The “digitization” of plants is the process of measuring, calculating, deconstructing, and storing the optimal micro-needs of a plant in a digital medium which are then used to replicate those conditions to control production. For example, if we can capture the unique DNA, water/food/light requirements, disease resistance, and corresponding yield of a crop, we can transmit, study, optimize, and replicate that same yield every time. We will remove uncertainty from growing food, managing the inputs to maximize yield. Leveraging analytics and machine learning to harness the large amounts of data collected from remote farming sensors will unlock opportunities to automate functions that drive higher yields. Digital technology is helping the food industry reinvent the where, why and how of food production. Food producers will need to venture in new directions to manage the growing needs and worsening conditions for current crops11.

Let’s discover more together threw the USA mission in March!


The Innovation Tour

Sunday 17th March Flight from Europe to Chicago (7h)
Monday 18th March Company visits Chicago & Milwaukee
Network reception and matchmaking
Tuesday 19th March Company visits Chicago
Flight from Chicago to San Francisco
Wednesday 20 March Company visits San Francisco
Network reception and matchmaking
Thursday 21th March Future Food Tech 2019
Friday 22th  March Future Food Tech 2019
Flight from San Francisco to Europe (11h)

Would you like to apply for the Innovation voucher?

More information? Please contact Adrienne Gentil, Valorial: