The food and beverage industry, under increasing pressure to grow capacity for the world in the face of environmental challenges, is seeking out companies to control its massive water risk, Lux Research said.
Farm to Factory: Technology in Reducing Water Risk in the Food and Beverage Industry ranks 39 companies that have developed water-saving technology, based on their technical value and business execution. Companies that are strong in both areas reach the so-called dominant quadrant on the Lux Innovation Grid.
Dynamax and startup Zim have both cornered a profitable niche in direct plant monitoring, Lux Research said. Dynamax falls into the dominant quadrant for its product that monitors sap flow in plants, allowing seed developers to better understand performance of their new breeds. The technology also helps growers in high-end agriculture, notably wine grapes and tree fruits, which benefit from carefully measured water stress, Lux Research said.
AquaSpy and Capilix, which both monitor field conditions, are well positioned for accelerating changes in the agriculture industry, Lux Research said.
“The food industry accounts for nearly a quarter of all water withdrawn worldwide, and the vast majority of that is for agriculture,” said Brent Giles, a senior analyst at Lux Research and lead author of the report.
Rising wealth is accelerating consumer demand for water-intensive and processed foods, and climate change is threatening traditional growing and processing practices, Giles said.
The industry will likely respond with massive increases in resource-efficient agriculture in underdeveloped areas of Eastern Europe and Africa and a rise in local greenhouse farming for high value crops—all of which will require widespread use of technologies currently being tested in the highest value markets, Giles said.
Companies that have developed water saving technology for the oil, gas and mining industries have also attracted investors.
Venture capital funds XPV Capital, Meidlinger Partners, Enertech Capital and Energy Ventures have all made multiple investments in companies offering water management products for extractive industries, and these companies have raised more than $400 million in equity and debt over the past five years, according to a study released in May by the London Environmental Investment Forum.