During the 'Food FUN&FAN’ conference, experts in innovation pointed towards the agrifood sector as "one of the sectors that offers the most opportunities to create new businesses and start-ups".
The ‘Innovation Prizes’, backed by the European EIT Food consortium are held in more than a dozen countries and award the most outstanding start-up projects in the agrifood sector. This year's winner at the event held at the San Mamés stadium in Bilbao is Polyfly, a company based in Almeria that has innovated by using insects to pollinate crops naturally. Second place went to Sonicat Systems, based in Catalonia, which provides advanced solutions based on high power ultrasounds for environmentally friendly food processing.
The jury evaluated their innovation and the potential of the two projects to help the future of the agrifood sector. The winner took away a prize of €10,000 whilst runner-up received €5,000. These prizes were the culmination of the ‘Food FUN&FAN’ conference, whose objective is to help start-ups from the agrifood sector to discover new opportunities and trends to develop their proposals.
The meeting was attended by Bittor Oroz, the Basque Government's Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Fishery and Food Policy; Begoña Pérez-Villarreal, Director of EIT Food in the South of Europe; and Benoit Buntinx, Director of Business Creation at EIT Food.
Among the speakers, Alfons Cornellá, author of 18 books with first-hand knowledge of today's most cutting edge tendencies, can be highlighted.
From his speciality in the field of innovation, he pointed out a reality: "the agrifood industry is one of the sectors that offers the most opportunities to create new businesses and start-ups".
More specifically, he highlighted two aspects that must be combined in food innovation: "efficient management of resources and the generation of new value for people, or in other words, producing more food with less resources whilst making this product healthier, more attractive and affordable". For this reason, he encouraged "a rethinking of food and the development of the future food systems".
Entrepreneurship experts in the agrifood sector also participated in the conference, such as Andrés Casal (Wetaca), Baiba Soika (Vegshelf), Erich Sieber (Peakbridge Partners), Oriol Reull (Too Good To Go), Sara Gonçalves (Trigger Systems). They provided keys to how innovation can transform the food system.
During the ‘FUN&FAN’ conference, other interesting experiences of emerging companies were revealed. This is the case of: Cedrion (refrigeration devices for high performance electronics), Digitanimal (IoT solutions for livestock), Green Killer Weeds (100% eco-friendly and bio alternatives to herbicides and pesticides), Groots (sustainable, urban and vertical agriculture) and Kowat (research and development of robotic mechanisms and devices based on nature).
There were others like Nice To Eat You (mobile application devoted to reducing food wastage from food stores and restaurants), Savia Atmospheric Fountains & Rivers (start-up that “makes water from air”) and XTREM (extremophilic bacteria used in agriculture for a sustainable increase in performance).