Startup Innovation Challenge 2020

Discover cutting-edge innovation from the most exciting F&B startups.

5th Edition

The Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge gives startups the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a jury of R&D experts, investors and major F&B industry company representatives. Now in its 5th year, the Startup Innovation Challenge 2020 will be hosted virtually as part of the
Fi Europe CONNECT 2020 virtual event. 

2020 Categories

Startups can select multiple categories but will only compete in one category, which will be selected by the shortlisting jury.

Most Innovative Food or Beverage Ingredient

This category covers F&B ingredients or additives from an animal or plant source that improve sensory attributes such as taste, texture, smell, and/or appearance. E.g. flavours, flavour enhancers, colours, sweeteners, emulsifiers, stabilisers, (thickeners, binders, texturisers), acidulants, firming agents, anti-caking agents, leavening agents, humectants, dough strengtheners, fat substitutions, yeast nutrients, PH control agents, enzyme preparations, etc...

Most Innovative Alternative Food or Beverage Ingredient

This category specifically covers F&B ingredients or additives from a novel non-animal/plant source.
E.g. fungi, algae, insects, micro-organisms, lab grown/cell-cultured or another non-animal/plant food source.

Most Innovative Healthy Food or Beverage Ingredient

This category covers F&B ingredients or additives from an animal/plant/alternative source that contribute
to digestive, cognitive, immune or physical health, with a focus on natural and/or sustainable processes.
E.g. functional lipids, dietary fibre, probiotics, botanicals, flavonoids.

Most Innovative Process, Technology or Service Supporting F&B

This category covers innovations that improve food safety, efficacy, quality, traceability, transparency, ingredient sourcing, supply chain management, or upcycling.

Winners will be announced and showcased during a live session as part of the virtual Fi Europe CONNECT 2020 event.

Entry Criteria

  • The startup should be no older than 5 years
  • The startup must have a clear business plan and a developed concept at the very least, prototypes or the final product are preferred
  • The product or service needs to be truly novel

2020 Prizes

The winners will be offered a selection from the following prizes: 

A fully equipped stand at Fi Europe 2021
Have a dedicated space to promote your product and connect with key players in the industry at one of Europe’s biggest trade shows for the global F&B industry.

A Fi Global Insights Digital Package 
This serves to promote your online presence throughout the year.

Prizes provided by our partners

Access to ‘Conciergerie’ by Presans
Conciergerie by Presans enables you to engage on-demand with top level experts for industrial innovation. Our Fellows (ex-R&D Directors/CTOs of large-size companies) identify worldwide experts related to your innovation, science and technology questions. Within a couple of days Presans organizes phone call discussions between selected experts and you. The winner of this prize will get the opportunity to raise a question on the Conciergerie platform and to get in contact with worldwide experts.



Kitchentown Berlin

  • Free Membership Product Development Remote (one month) + fast track ticket for the Kitchentown Accelerator Program

  • Free Membership Co-Working Flex Pro (one month) + fast track ticket for the Kitchentown Accelerator Program



lsbi | life science-based innovations 

A one-day quick scan including a two-page report on regulatory, safety and/or health aspects of the startup's innovation. This price is offered to the winner of each category.





General Mills
One R&D mentor/coach from General Mills for 6 months

Shortlisted startups will also receive a complimentary company profile throughout the two-week virtual Fi Europe CONNECT 2020 event.
Such profiles will allow access to various virtual networking opportunities and matchmaking services for free. 

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to pre-record pitches that will be made available as on-demand sessions throughout the two-week virtual
Fi Europe CONNECT 2020 event
, for users to engage with.

The Startup Innovation Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for any startup to leverage their networking and fund-raising efforts. We benefitted significantly from our participation in the entire process. Due to the exposure during and after the challenge, we have been approached by many stakeholders in the industry who are willing to work with us.

Startup Innovation Challenge Partners