Probiotic and single cell protein producers make it to Nutreco startup challenge final

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Prostock-Studio
© GettyImages/Prostock-Studio

Related tags startup Single cell protein Probiotic

Some 15 finalists have been selected to advance to the next round of the Nutreco Feed and Food Tech Challenge (NFTC).

They have been narrowed down from over 110 startups from across the globe. Nutreco said the competition acknowledges the best breakthrough innovations within livestock farming and aquaculture and this year it extended the invitation to startups active in the food space, namely in alternative proteins.

The 15 finalists will now advance to the next round of the competition, said the Dutch animal nutrition and fish feed group.

Originally planned for May 11-13, 2020, the final event will now be postponed to the autumn, given the restrictions in place globally due to the COVID-19 outbreak, said the company. The new dates for the final event will be communicated in May.

“Our priority is for all finalists to be able to participate in the next phase of the competition in a safe way. As a result, we have opted to postpone the final event and to organize a virtual introduction with the start-ups in May. We will be providing virtual mentors to help them on their journey,”​ said Nutreco’s director of venturing and NFTC jury member, Joost Matthijssen.

The final event in the Netherlands in autumn 2020 will offer a dynamic ‘greenhouse and pressure cooker’ environment with a pitching competition and plenty of interaction with industry experts, fellow start-ups and an international jury.

Depending on the business concept, the winner will be rewarded with a suitable scientific (on-farm) validation trial, including a validation report, and/or consulting through internal or external experts on topics critical for their business, said the company.


Pando Nutrition is one of the finalists. The startup says it engineers probiotics for livestock health and productivity. “By improving livestock feed efficiency, our probiotics can reduce global feed costs by billions of dollars and simultaneously reduce the environmental impact of livestock production.”

Another feed probiotic developer, TwentyGreen, was also selected as a finalist. “Our product is based on research in intestinal health at EPFL in Switzerland where we have identified a naturally occurring group of micro-organisms that enhance the quality of the gut microbiota, a consortium of symbiotic organisms colonizing the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract that are essential for metabolizing food and activating natural immune defenses.”

Finnish company, Enifer Bio, which produces Pekilo mycoprotein, a form of single cell protein derived from fungi for use as a fish feed ingredient was also selected as a finalist. FeedNavigator reported​ on this particular innovation in January this year.

Also in the top 15 is Poultrix - the company says its easy-to-use technology enables broiler and layers farmers to manage every aspect of their farm. “Our system provides remote, real-time monitoring for immediate control, as well as business intelligence tools for long-term savings and efficiency.”

Fishency360, one of the last 15 as well, is a hardware and software solution for fish welfare that monitors fish health, lice, and growth in the pen.

“With a 360° view, the entire surface of every passing fish will be scanned and analysed. Fishency uses technology to promote affordable sustainable development of the aquaculture industry.”

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