Koupe, Neo Farms and Cerescon are the winners of FoodBytes! Europe, a pitch competition that connects food and agriculture influencers and investors with the most disruptive startups in the industry. The awards were handed over in Wageningen, the Netherlands during the F&A Next conference, an initiative of Rabobank, Wageningen University & Research and StartLife.
More than 120 startups from around the world applied for the opportunity to pitch at FoodBytes! Europe, which took place at food and agriculture innovation summit F&A Next at Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands. Twenty companies demonstrating innovation, scalability and social impact were chosen to compete for three awards – the Judges’ Choice Award, the People’s Choice Award and the Highly Commended Award.
Judges’ Choice Award: Koupe
A panel of expert judges were responsible for selecting the companies they felt best addressed a unique criteria, including scalability, product innovation, traction and social impact. Netherlands-based Koupe took home the award. Koupe has developed a healthy ice cream product, high in protein and fibre but much lower in sugar and fat than market leading products. Unlike rival healthy alternative products, Koupe uses no artificial flavours or preservatives. Koupe is carried by Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo and will begin selling in the UK through online supermarket Ocado this summer.
The start-up has won an accelerator programme course with Paris-based food accelerator ShakeUp Factory.
People’s Choice Award: Neo Farms
F&A Next conference attendees voted for the People’s Choice Award winner via the FoodBytes! app. The award went to Neo Farms, a German company that has developed a fully automated indoor greenhouse, fitted inside kitchens, that uses patented aeroponic technology.
Neo Farms has won a one week start-up accelerator course with StartLife at Wageningen University & Research.
Highly Commended Award: Cerescon
Ten runner-up companies from the selection process were invited to deliver 60-second pitches. Judges selected a Highly Commended Award winner from the 60-second pitch companies based on the same criteria as the Judges’ Choice Award Winner. The Highly Commended Award went to Cerescon, a Netherlands-based company that has developed a robotic harvesting process for asparagus.
Cerescon has won the opportunity to appear as a finalist at FoodBytes! in Austin, Texas, in September.
Berry Marttin, member of the Rabobank Executive Board, said: "We were truly inspired by the range and quality of food and agriculture startups present and pitching, as well as with the large numbers of investors and corporates in the audience. To me this clearly evidences the commitment of all stakeholders to take innovation in food and agri to the next level; innovation that is much needed to deal with the challenge to provide an ever growing population with sustainable, sufficient and healthy food.”
Louise Fresco, president of Wageningen University & Research: “This is a unique time for the agrifood community. Great scientific advances such as robotisation and genomics lay the foundations for the bio-economy and the development of sustainable and healthy food. At Wageningen U&R we work closely with private sector partners and government to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. The second edition of F&A next is a great occasion to showcase this.”
Manuel Gonzalez, Global Head of F&A Innovation: “It was a great day of discovery and learning. The pitch companies’ energy and passion filled the room. FoodBytes! accomplished its mission of bringing the innovation ecosystem together and providing a voice to those finding scalable and sustainable solutions for the future of food and agriculture."
F&A Next was founded by Rabobank, Wageningen University & Research and StartLife.
The full list of finalist companies and runners-up that pitched during F&A Next is available at: fanext.nl/startups-2017.