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Market Data 20.01.2022

Over 1,100 food and drink acquisitions in 2021

2021 was another record year for food and drink industry transactions, with 1,116 registered on the Zenith Global mergers and acquisitions database, an average of 21 each week.

Over 1,100 food and drink acquisitions in 2021
(Photo: confructa medien GmbH)

2021 was another record year for food and drink industry transactions, with 1,116 registered on the Zenith Global mergers and acquisitions database, an average of 21 each week.

The total is 34 % more than in 2020 and 79 % higher than 5 years ago. The number has risen every year since a dip in 2013. Funding rounds for early stage businesses have become an increasingly important element.

Over 1,100 food and drink acquisitions in 2021
GLOBAL FOOD AND DRINK ACQUISITIONS 2016-21 (Photo: Zenith Global)

The most active sectors were ingredients on 97, packaging on 96, soft drinks on 56 and dairy on 54.

Over 1,100 food and drink acquisitions in 2021
GLOBAL FOOD AND DRINK ACQUISITIONS BY SECTOR 2020-21 (Photo: Zenith Global)

The top 15 sectors saw some significant changes in 2021. Packaging, plant-based and vertical farming deals more than doubled, with plant-based rising 9 places to the top 5. Meat-free entered the top 10, outpacing meat.

Vertical farming, food delivery and CBD moved up to the top 15, while services, water drinks and beer dropped out.

The combination of plant-based (48), meat-free (41), cell-based (24), dairy-free (20), alcohol-free (10) and plant-based seafood (5) would make free-from by far the biggest category overall on 148, 13 % of the total. Water drinks (23) and water dispense (18), when taken together at 41, would come 8th.

5 categories had declared transaction values in excess of $10 billion. These were packaging, food delivery, ingredients, plant-based and dairy.

8 more categories exceeded $5 billion – fresh produce, nutrition, meat, soft drinks, snacks, equipment, water drinks and tea.

Meat-free surpassed USD2 billion, while vertical farming and cell-based both exceeded USD1 billion.

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