Key start-ups to accelerate expansion thanks to EU mentoring programme

By Nicola Gordon-Seymour

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock
©iStock

Related tags: RisingFoodStars, Complete Organics, Cubiq Foods

Four nutritional EU start-ups will benefit from membership to regional mentoring programme, RisingFoodStars (RFS), enabling them to upscale and accelerate business expansion.

The EU programme recently accepted Complete Organics, CUBIQ FOODS, Aliga Aps and Verdify - from Germany, Spain, Denmark, and The Netherlands, respectively - as part of its latest member intake, selected from 130 applicants.

The network helps emerging companies upscale their business, giving them access to expert support, funding, and marketing opportunities. Members can test new ideas in the marketplace, interact with corporate partners and connect with potential investors.

RFS manager, Narjis Chakir, comments: “Making meaningful connections and raising the profiles of the members at an international scale will be our main priorities this year. I am looking forward to working together to build more stories of success and impact in the agrifood space.”

Protein diversification

The RFS was developed by EIT Food, an EU network of organisations and partnerships that supports business innovation in six specific areas, including two with a nutritional focus: protein diversification and targeted nutrition.

Protein diversification addresses the issue of overproduction of animal-based products and its environmental impact. As such, the programme targets ‘high impact’ agri-food start-ups with viable sustainable solutions, such as meat-free alternatives.

There are currently eight RFS members working within this domain, including Aliga Microalgae and CUBIQ FOODS.

The former is a Danish food-tech company and major microalgae producer in the Scandinavian region that develops, cultivates, and produces functional and protein-rich Chlorella algae ingredients for food, feed, and dietary supplements.

Made from fermented and dried Chlorella algae, the ingredient is naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, fibres, proteins, amino acids, and fatty acids, and chlorophyll-free, with improved organoleptic properties that neutralise the flavour and colour making it versatile in a range of food applications.

CUBIQ FOODS, meanwhile, produces healthy functional fats for food applications to replace animal fats and saturated vegetable oils. The company also develops omega-3 enriched algae oil and sustainable omega-3 fatty acids based on cultured cellular systems.

Targeted nutrition

According to the EIT, targeted nutrition is increasing the world’s understanding of the risk of malnutrition, obesity and diseases and ensure nutritional products, services and information target individuals who need it the most and “represents a promising opportunity for consumers​”, as well as for medical purposes and food production.

The EIT actively supports seven small businesses within the ‘targeted nutrition’ arena, including Belgium personalised and predictive food and flavour platform, FoodPairing, and Swedish liquid oat fibre developer, Glucanova.

The two latest additions have come up with equally innovative concepts that should appeal to consumers. Verdify has developed an AI-driven nutritional platform that to provide personalise recipes according to user profiles and based on individual requirements and preferences.

Complete Organics, on the other hand, produces sustainable fermented vegetables free-from preservatives, colouring or flavourings using green energy. Organic ingredients are sourced locally, wherever possible, and supply chains are entirely transparent.

Profile

EIT Food is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) - an independent EU body set up in 2008 to encourage and develop innovation and entrepreneurship within Europe.

Around 46 companies throughout Europe are current members of the RFS, including five based in the UK and two Israeli start-ups.

Applicants are recognised for their innovative business ideas and compliance with eligibility criteria, such as paying customers or participation in a paid pilot project and must be strategically prepared for global expansion, in order to be selected.

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