2021 business outlook: Small business leaders reveal trends and predictions

Real Business showcases small businesses that have exemplified innovation in 2020 on their outlook for the year ahead.

Please use the list below to flip through each business story.

Spoon Guru

Markus Stripf

Co-founder, Spoon Guru

Company overview: Established in 2015, Spoon Guru is a global AI nutrition technology start-up that has developed a unique Health & Wellness platform to cater for individuals with specific dietary food requirements or health objectives. A world leading end-to-end solution, Spoon Guru combines AI and machine learning with nutritional expertise to enable food retailers to deliver a highly personalised experience tailored to each consumer, based on their distinct and unique dietary, health and wellness needs. The platform processes billions of data points on a daily basis and analyses every ingredient as well as its nutritional value to allocate the appropriate dietary tags to each product or recipe, enabling large and unstructured data sets to be easily searched and accurately filtered to deliver relevant choices.

Company location: London & Los Angeles

What have been key challenges for your sector in 2020?

  • Challenge 1: The dominant impact of COVID for food retailers was of course to ensure the supply chain doesn’t break down and that people can get the groceries they need, either from stores or delivered at home. Vulnerable people were particularly exposed but the industry rallied with impressive efficiency to ensure appropriate measures were implemented.
  • Challenge 2: From a business perspective, the way all of us work changed over night. We closed the office early to ensure staff safety. We are an international company with clients on 3 continents. Face to face client meetings were the norm.That had to stop too of course so all of us in the retail sector had to adapt to conducting business via zoom.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned as a business this year?

  • Lesson 1: The importance of being agile is a key requirement. You can’t call yourself a proficient sea captain if you have never weathered a storm so the huge anomalies of 2020 have forced companies around the world to react and respond to the new world order practically overnight. Being agile is of course in the DNA of startups but I think it’s made all of us re-consider how we respond more effectively when things change overnight, regardless of the size of our companies.
  • Lesson 2: Business is like a game of chess. It doesn’t matter how bad it looks, there is always one best move. The trick is to find it when you are up against it.
What key innovations have you seen in your sector in 2020?

  • Innovation 1: Technology has taken a central role now in helping ensure groceries get delivered to shoppers with minimal disruption. Whether it’s using robots for pick & pack, e-commerce for ordering or AI for providing more personalised nutrition.
  • Innovation 2: The vast majority of us want to lead healthier lives, in the wake of COVID now more so than ever. Shoppers are embracing digital enablers to help them make better, healthier food choices, set goals, and track their progress.

What are your predictions for your sector in? 2021 and beyond?

  • Prediction 1: Shoppers will be even more health-conscious and the need for personalised nutrition will continue to grow.
  • Prediction 2: Regarding food consumption, we see 3 specific trends:
    • a move towards plant-based foods
    • growing interest in healing foods
    • greater demand for long-life/shelf stable products
What are your new year?s resolutions?

To be the best version of myself.

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