foodbytes! chicago
FoodBytes! Chicago 2019 winners

3 startups focused on sustainability and nutrition win big at inaugural FoodBytes! Chicago

September 20, 2019

Tia Lupita Foods, LocalCoho and Capro-X won at FoodBytes! Chicago yesterday.

The first FoodBytes! in Chicago went off with a bang yesterday as 15 startups pitched in front of an audience of investors, food company executives and other entrepreneurs in the hope of winning one of the three awards, the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Award, the Food and Agriculture Technology Award, and the People’s Choice Award, voted by the audience.

FoodBytes! by Rabobank is a business pitch competition for startups in the food and agriculture industry. Rabobank is a leading global food and agriculture bank, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain. 

The shortlisted companies fit into four key trends: climate-resistant crops & sustainable food, alternative proteins & functional foods, food waste & upcycling, and animal welfare & precision agriculture.

“All of the startups we watched at FoodBytes! Chicago showcased some of the most innovative solutions we have seen yet when it comes to building a more nutritious and sustainable food supply,” said Darren Streiler, investment director, ADM Ventures, who served as a judge on the panel. “The key trends that emerged among our pool of applicants this year centered on plant-based and functional foods, climate-resistant crops, food waste and precision agriculture.”


And the winners are…

The CPG award went to Tia Lupita® Foods from Tiburon in California, for its tortilla chips using drought-resistant, nutrient-dense nopales (cactus).

The Food and Agriculture Technology Award went to a local startup LocalCoho from Chicago. LocalCoho has created what it says is one of the most energy-efficient, close-loop aquaculture systems in the world to farm salmon, dubbed the MxCell® Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS).

The People’s Choice Award, voted on by the audience after the pitches, was Capro-X from Ithaca in New York state. Capro-X’s ‘WheyAway’ technology ferments and distills whey on-site for natural bio-oils that can be reused in food and beauty products as a replacement for unsustainable palm oil derivatives.

FoodBytes! Chicago is supported by presenting sponsor ADM along with official sponsors PrintpackPolsinelliLand O’Lakes SUSTAINFoodSpace® and JBS USAas well as supporting sponsors Agropur CooperativeGermin8 VenturesCreative AlignmentsTIGBoulder Food GroupDLL and The Food Foundry.

What the others said…

Speaking to AFN before pitching, the CEO of The Better Meat Co., the plant protein ingredient provider for hybrid meat products (meat + plants) said: “so far, the experience has been quite positive and we haven’t even got to the apex of the event yet, but I’ve learned a lot from the mentors and talking to other entrepreneurs about challenges they face. I’m grateful to Rabobank and FoodBytes! and I really look forward to the pitch.”

The CEO of Evigence Sensors, who showcased his color-changing sensors that help to reduce food spoilage, said “it’s been great – great people, a lot of good energy around here – a very positive experience for us.”

The CEO of Agremo, which has a cloud-based, AI-powered imagery analysis software platform to help growers improve yield and protect soil health without chemical inputs, said: “we’ve met a lot of great and interesting people, and I think it’s going to be wonderful not just for our exposure but for networking and connecting to other important people in the space.”

FoodBytes! Chicago is supported by presenting sponsor ADM along with official sponsors PrintpackPolsinelliLand O’Lakes SUSTAINFoodSpace® and JBS USAas well as supporting sponsors Agropur CooperativeGermin8 VenturesCreative AlignmentsTIGBoulder Food GroupDLL and The Food Foundry.

Watch all the pitches from FoodBytes! Chicago on the Facebook Live Stream. 

Up Next: FoodBytes! London, November 7. Keep up with FoodBytes! by joining the newsletter and following on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, or via #foodbytes.

 

*This post was sponsored by FoodBytes! by Rabobank, as part of our Network Partner program*

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