Fi Europe Innovation Awards and Startup Challenge open for entries

06 Aug 2021 — Fi Europe (FiE) is calling on the most innovative ingredient suppliers and start-ups to enter its annual Fi Europe Innovation Awards and Startup Innovation Challenge. 

Last year’s awards highlighted ADM’s pea protein ingredient, ProFam Pea 580, for its clean taste, neutral color, solubility and gelling properties. These attributes help product developers easily incorporate the ingredient into formulations for plant-based applications, Allyson Fish, president of alternative proteins at ADM, tells FoodIngredientsFirst. 

“With this award recognition, we have been able to further current customer relationships and build new ones to ultimately deliver plant protein-forward foods and beverages to consumers around the world.” 

Olam International was also recognized with the Sustainability Innovation prize, tied with Solercool Technologies. Olam clinched the honors for its AtSource platform to make supply chains for coffee, cocoa, cashews, cotton and rice transparent to the consumer in terms of sustainability. Meanwhile, Solercool developed solar-powered refrigeration technology to reduce heat-related food degradation after harvest.

“Being recognized at Fi Europe Connect 2020 was an incredibly proud moment. Our team worked tirelessly to not just measure sustainability across the supply chain – but also use these insights to push for meaningful improvements,” Roel van Poppel, CEO of AtSource, Olam International tells FoodIngredientsFirst. 

“We haven’t stood still either, we have continued to push forward to improve sustainability across the agricultural supply chain.” 

2020 also saw the success of several start-ups boosted by prizes in the Startup Innovation Challenge. Standout innovations include genetically altered fungi that secrete sustainable and stable colored dyes, novel proteins and edible food coatings. 

Click to EnlargeMichroma took home first place in the Startup Challenge last year with its dye-secreting fungi innovation.Seeking an unbiased view 
This year, the finalists and winners will be chosen by a jury of industry experts chaired by Professor Colin Dennis, who is Chair of the Board of Trustees of both IFIS – a not-for-profit F&B publishing organization – and the British Nutrition Foundation. 

“Innovation in the food industry is vital to its future success,” says Dennis, who has been the Fi Innovation Awards jury chair since 2019.  

“Meeting consumer and market needs, while considering the health of people and the planet, diversity and inclusivity are key drivers for companies.”

FiE’s annual competition recognizes outstanding achievements in the F&B industry, including innovation in nutritional benefits and new sensory experiences. While last year’s competition was held online, this year winners will be announced in a hybrid format – live during Fi Europe combined with Hi Europe in Frankfurt and streamed online. 

Looking beyond the show floor
This year, FiE will extend one category to non-tradeshow exhibitors with the Future of Nutrition category, honoring people from companies, associations or organizations in the field of nutrition. 

This is in addition to the seven other categories open to exhibitors only either online or in-person. The full list of Fi Europe Innovation Award categories are:

  • The Future of Nutrition Award: For a person or team for actively contributing to and supporting innovative ideas or educational initiatives in food and nutrition. The award will go to those most likely to positively impact the health and well-being of consumers.
  • The Sensory Innovation Award: For the best ingredient or process in terms of enhancing the sensory experience of food products such as taste, texture, smell or appearance, without significantly increasing application costs.
  • The Plant-Based Innovation Award: For the best plant-based ingredient or application based on a plant-based ingredient in terms of sensory and physical properties or application costs.
  • The Clean Label & Natural Innovation Award: For the best clean label ingredient or process in terms of sensory and physical properties or application costs.
  • The Health Innovation Award: For the best ingredient or application in terms of proven contribution to digestive, cognitive, immune or physical health.
  • The Food Tech Innovation Award: For an innovative technical processing, manufacturing, packaging or waste reduction solution or service for food ingredients or finished products.
  • The Sustainability Innovation Award: For a measurable supply chain strategy that champions environmental, economic or socially sustainable practices in the F&B industry.
  • The Diversity & Inclusion Innovation Award: For creating a work environment that offers equal opportunities for all employees irrespective of their gender, race, religious background, sexual orientation, and physical or mental ability.

Click to EnlargeThe Future of Nutrition Award will be open to exhibitors and non-exhibitors making strides to benefit consumer well-being.Start-ups wanted
Now in its sixth year, the Startup Innovation Challenge supports emerging innovative projects within the F&B industry. 

Finalists will be able to meet key industry players who can help take their innovations to the next level. This contest is open to all start-ups with innovations that focus on ingredients or additives that improve sensorial or nutrition properties of F&B, new processing technologies or services that support the industry.

Startup Innovation prizes include personal mentoring from a jury member of their choice or opportunities to participate in Fi Europe 2022 online or in-person. 

The 2021 categories include innovative F&B Ingredients, Processing Technology, Healthy F&B Ingredients and Technology or Services. 

Specifics on entering 
Start-ups launched within the last five years are invited to share their most innovative product, service or solution by submitting an entry before 17 September for the Startup Innovation Challenge 2021. 

Exhibiting companies participating in the event are invited to submit their entries before 24 September for the Fi Europe Innovation Awards 2021. Companies can submit an entry for one or more categories. The jury will give preference to new products introduced within the last two years.

All start-up finalists will be invited to pre-record a presentation pitch that will be featured during the online event, as well as to give a live pitch in-person at Fi Europe combined with Hi Europe 2021. 

Start-ups can select multiple categories but will only compete in one. The shortlisting jury will determine which one is most suitable for applicants based on the information submitted.  

By Missy Green


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