The 16 Most Innovative Food Companies

These companies see the status quo as a challenge to be overcome

Pret a Manger is revolutionizing the "grab and go" lunch. 

Every company, in one way or another, wants to be innovative. Doing the same thing as everyone else isn’t a recipe for success, after all. Some companies, however, are far more innovative than others, and these 16 are the most innovative in the food and drink world.

The 16 Most Innovative Food Companies (Slideshow)

Merriam-Webster defines innovate as “to do something in a new way, or to have new ideas about how something can be done.” To be truly innovative is much harder than it looks. Not only does a company need to convince investors, consumers, and/or potential clients that its new way of doing something is superior to the old way, it actually needs to live up to those expectations, successfully disrupt the status quo, and succeed as a business.

We divided our list into four different categories: Science and Technology, Redefining Fast Food, Delivering the Goods, and Disruptive Products. These companies run the gamut from small start-ups to major corporations, from artificial intelligence to artificial meat, from household-name fast food chains to companies you most likely didn’t even know existed.

Small or large, beloved or controversial, all these companies have one thing in common: They’re truly innovative. Although some of them aren’t new, they’ve made their mark on the industry and left major upheaval in their wake. And as for the startups, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on them. Read on for 16 of the most innovative food companies around.

Science and Technology: Beyond Meat

For vegetarians, finding a suitable meat substitute that actually looks, tastes, and feels like meat has always been a futile effort. Until nowBeyond Meat hails its creation as “meat from plants,” and they really mean it. Instead of just putting vegetable protein in a mold and calling it a day (or a burger), they went looking for the same building blocks that meat contains — amino acids, lipids, fats, oils, water, and protein — and found them all in plant-based sources. The resulting product is uncannily meat-like, but Beyond Meat’s goal goes far beyond that: they want to improve human health, positively impact climate change, address global resource restraints, and advance animal welfare. 

Science and Technology: Farmers Web


The core mission of Farmers Web is to connect consumers to the farmers and artisans from whom they get their food. The easy-to-navigate website brings the farm-to-table movement full-circle by allowing chefs, purchasing managers, and other food buyers to find farmers selling fresh dairy, produce, and meat within 250 miles of them; the food is picked and shipped fresh to order. It’s free for the buyers to use, only costs farmers a small fee, and completely cuts out the middleman.