EIT Food reveals new cohort of impactful agrifood startups

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Andrii Yalanskyi
© GettyImages/Andrii Yalanskyi

Related tags EIT Food Sustainable agriculture Single cell protein black soldier fly larvae

EIT Food has announced the latest group of companies to join its Food Accelerator Network (FAN) – a total of 61 agrifood startups have been selected to receive support and investment opportunities to grow and scale.

The chosen startups cover a range of innovation areas including sustainable agriculture and sustainable aquaculture.

EIT Food is supported by the EU body, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). 

Over 500 startups from the EU and its associated countries were evaluated online by experts from the agrifood industry, said the organizers. In April, the top 120 firms advanced to a second evaluation round, presenting their solution in front of an evaluation panel during a technology deep dive session, which resulted in the selection of the 61 most promising ventures.

“These startups have gone through a rigorous and comprehensive review process to assess their innovative potential, commercial viability and positive impact on our food system,”​ said Marie Russier, EIT FAN operations manager.

Some 25% of the applications came from female founders, she added. “It’s great to see this percentage increasing each year.”

Feed industry focus

In terms of feed industry relevance among the 61 innovators going forward, Germany based MicroHarvest is a biotech using bacteria to produce protein. The company claims it does so much faster than existing approaches. The single cell protein (SCP) and its derivatives that result can be used along the whole protein value chain - ranging from animal feed to direct application in food and pet food.

Norway’s GreenTech Innovators has developed a pre-treatment method for food waste using biotechnology to improve utilization of carbohydrates and production of a growth media for fermentation to SCP and algae to be used as feed in aquaculture.

UK based INSPRO uses insects, Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL), to bio convert food waste and by-products into animal feed.

Sustainable fish farming

Looking to companies focused on sustainable aquaculture innovation and France headquartered, LISAqua, claims it has come up with a process to produce shrimp without antibiotics, without polluting discharge, in land-based indoor aquaculture farms.

MonitorFish, a startup from Germany, has developed a digital aquaculture assistant designed to empower better decision-making to secure the future of fish farming. The company said the tool guides the fish farmers to achieve their optimal growth strategy while ensuring a healthier fish population with less reliance on chemicals and antibiotics.

How the program works

The 61 startups selected for the EIT FAN 2022 will be spread across six program locations running in parallel: Munich (Germany), Haifa (Israel), Paris (France), Bilbao (Spain), Helsinki (Finland) and Cambridge/Reading (UK).  

A matchmaking process connects startups with industry-leading corporate and research partners. In addition, the selected startups benefit from EIT FAN’s curriculum and unparalleled network. The curriculum was created by academic and industry agrifood leaders to ensure the participating startups will transition from early stage to impactful innovators.

Christoph Mandl, head of corporate venturing at EIT Food, said: “By the end of this year’s program, we expect a new record number of startups and established companies to enter into partnerships, for example in the form of co-development activities, pilot projects, and/or commercial agreements.”

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