Twenty companies have been selected to pitch at FoodBytes! NYC on October 18, marking the event’s third run in the big apple. FoodBytes! is the global pitch competition organized by food and agriculture bank Rabobank with the aim of harnessing new innovation to create a better world through food. The pitch competition has now taken place in seven cities globally with more than 40 countries taking part.
Animal health and reducing antibiotic use are dominant themes among the pitch companies, including an AI milk quality analysis tool and microalgae-based oral vaccines for the aquaculture industry. Restaurant efficiency is another major trend, with a food assembly robot and a back-of-house tool that reduces food waste by fifty percent. Additionally, novel plant-based CPG startups will take the stage with tomato-based “sushi” and cereal made from up-cycled juice pulp.
The pool of applicants included companies focusing on foodservice efficiency, food waste reduction, and functional beverages. A whopping 25 percent of overall CPG applications were beverage startups and 22 percent were plant-based. Almost 30 percent of the food tech applications came from food service startups and nearly 25 percent were food waste-focused. In the agtech sector, 50 percent of applicants focused on indoor farming and 36 percent on animal health.
Many of the selected companies are either based in New York or other major American cities, while a handful of startups hail from Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, and the UK.
The top 10 companies have 3.5 minutes to pitch a panel of expert judges and participate in an audience Q&A. Ten runner-up companies will give 1.5-minute pitches.
The companies that will be giving 3.5-minute pitches are:
- Ingest.ai (Food Tech – New York, NY): Software that integrates all of a restaurant’s fractured third-party systems. Ingest.ai automates previously manual finance and operations functions, food ordering and staffing to help restaurants eliminate waste on all fronts.
- Afresh Technologies (Food Tech – San Francisco, CA): A Fresh-first supply chain software company that uses cutting-edge technology to massively reduce food waste, increase freshness and multiply the profitability of perishable foods.
- Dexai Robotics (Food Tech – Boston, MA): Automating activities in commercial kitchens and the food industry using flexible robot arms. “Alfred” automates food assembly by using utensils to scoop and pick ingredients, exceeding human capabilities in speed and precision.
- Winnow (Food Tech – London, UK): Developer of digital tools to help chefs run more profitable, sustainable kitchens by cutting food waste in half.
- SomaDetect (Ag Tech – Buffalo, NY): Deep learning and AI dairy company that provides real-time, automated analysis of milk quality without any addition of chemicals or consumables.
- Pheronym (Ag Tech – Gainesville, FL): Agricultural biotechnology company that uses pheromones from nematodes (microscopic worms) to control agricultural pests and provide safe and eco-friendly pest control for farmers.
- MicroSynbiotiX (Ag Tech – Cork, Ireland): An algal synthetic biology company developing a new drug delivery system to help prevent costly disease outbreaks in the aquaculture industry.
- Ocean Hugger Foods (CPG – New York, NY): Creates delicious, plant-based alternatives to popular seafood proteins, aiming to reduce stress on the world’s oceans by giving consumers a sustainable alternative that mimics the taste, appearance and texture of fish.
- BrainJuice (CPG – Austin, TX): A liquid supplement shot packed with the highest quality brain nutrients that supports focus, clarity, memory and good mood.
- Sweetie Pie Organics (CPG – Raleigh, NC): Organic functional food products that make pregnancy and motherhood easier.
The companies that will be giving 1.5-minute pitches are:
- Wasteless (Food Tech – New York, NY): Dynamic pricing system that allows supermarkets to price and sell products based on expiration dates, thus reducing food waste and optimizing shelf management.
- Agragen (Food Tech – Cincinnati, OH): Maker of plant-derived “fish oil” made from Camelina that will be used in human nutrition and in aquaculture, replacing marine-derived fish oil.
- Spinn (Food Tech – San Francisco, CA): Quality on-demand coffee roasted and brewed at home via their proprietary app technology.
- water.io (Food Tech – Nes Ziona, Israel): Technology that turns any package into a smart one that generates data.
- dropnostix GmbH (Ag Tech – Potsdam, Germany): Maker of rumen sensor health monitoring system for dairy farmers, helping them reduce the annual losses caused by diseases of dairy cows.
- RIND Snacks (CPG – New York, NY): Sustainable and better-for-you snacks focused on the ‘power of the peel.’ Preserving the peels on USA-grown, non-GMO dried fruit maximizes nutrition while minimizing waste.
- Rise Brewing Co. (CPG – New York, NY): Brews nitro cold-brew coffee kegs and cans for offices, bars, restaurants and cafes. Its coffee is organic, non-GMO, fair-trade, single-origin, non-dairy, kosher and zero calories.
- Pulp Pantry (CPG – Los Angeles, CA): Transforms neglected low-cost, high-value resources like juice pulp into nutritious foods that make it easy for everyone to eat fruits and vegetables.
- OneForNeptune (CPG – San Diego, CA): Sustainable seafood jerky made from undervalued and underutilized white fish that is traceable to clean, small-scale U.S. West Coast fisheries.
- Finer Flavors (CPG – Geneva, Switzerland): Fresh vegetable nut butters in convenient pouches.
FoodBytes! NYC will present three awards at the completion of the pitching. The 3.5-minute pitch companies are in the running to win the Judges’ Choice Award (selected by the judges), and the People’s Choice Award, voted by the audience. The 1.5-minute pitch companies are in the running to win the Highly Commended Award (selected by the judges).
Last year’s winners of FoodBytes! NYC include AgVoice, a mobile voice-interaction service designed for food and agriculture professionals to capture insights on the go, ImpactVision, building a more transparent and secure global food system through hyperspectral technology, and Proud Pour, sustainably-grown and vegan wines that uses its sales to fix environmental problems.