Winners Announced for the FTIC Food Tech Start-Up Challenge

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Pitch Day 27 June 2023

After months of hard work, mentoring and start-ups honing their innovative thinking and product development skills, our inaugural FTIC Food Tech Start-up Challenge culminated during Pitch Day, held at Nurasa’s Food Tech Innovation Centre [FTIC] on Tuesday, 27 June 2023.

The Challenge’s nine start-up finalists, from countries around the world, had the opportunity to present their ideas and products for alternative foods to a distinguished panel of judges from across the food tech industry and a 100-strong audience of key ecosystem players during the event’s tasting and pitching sessions at the FTIC.  Their solutions were based on either of the two Challenge tracks: Optimisation of Alternative Proteins, or the Creation of Functional Foods and New Product Formats.

The judging panel consisted of Ms Irene Cheong, Executive Director (Industry Cluster (HHP) & Venture Creation and Growth), A*STAR Innovation and Enterprise; Dr Hazel Khoo, Executive Director, A*STAR’s Singapore Institute for Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI); Ms Sharon Tay, Director of Food Manufacturing & Agritech, Enterprise Singapore; Mr Anton Wibowo, CEO, Trendlines Agrifood Innovation Centre; and Mr Alan Thompson, Interim CEO, Nurasa. Finalists were assessed based on the following criteria: (1) Product Quality, (2) Feasibility, (3) Market Potential and (4) Innovation & Capability.

The judging panel and attendees were impressed with the quality of solutions presented by all finalists as well as their commitment to creating a sustainable food future with innovations ranging from waste upcycling for new ingredients to better flavour solutions using innovative methods.

Highlighting the importance of collaboration to support emerging start-ups and accelerate the scaling of alternative foods, the judges drew attention to Singapore’s prime position as a launchpad for the sector and their excitement for the finalists to be among the leading players driving its growth.

After much deliberation by the judges, the Grand Prize went to Singapore-based Prefer, who aims to produce sustainable bean-free coffee at scale by fermenting surplus food. They were awarded S$150,000 worth of innovation vouchers and an additional S$30,000 proof-of-concept development grant.

The first runner-up was Formo, a Berlin-based start-up using precision fermentation to create animal-free cheese and egg products from microorganisms. They were awarded S$100,000 worth of innovation vouchers plus a S$30,000 proof-of-concept development grant. The second runner-up was The Mediterranean Food Lab (MFL), an Israeli start-up that merges solid state fermentation and AI to develop natural flavour solutions for a wide range of meat replacement needs. They received S$50,000 worth of innovation vouchers.

The judges commended the other finalists for demonstrating incredible fortitude and purpose throughout the Challenge: Algrow Biosciences – Allium Bio – Meatiply – Mycosortia – ULTIMEAT – WEMEET.

Congratulations to all winners and finalists! We look forward to their continued progress in building a more resilient and sustainable food system.

Thank you to our organising partners A*STAR’s Singapore Institute for Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) and Trendlines Agrifood Innovation Centre, as well as Enterprise Singapore for their invaluable support.

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