Startup Innovation Challenge 2022

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

The finalists of this year’s Startup Innovation Challenge have been announced. Find out which game-changing companies were selected for their innovative ingredients, technologies, and services. Startup pitches and the announcement of the winners will take place on Tuesday 6 December at 14.20 in the Innovation Hub

7th 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.

What does it offer

The Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge offers startups targeting the Food and Beverages sector, an opportunity to develop their innovative projects through a specialised support programme. 

Taking part in the programme gives finalists great exposure in the F&B industry, and offers them the chance to make valuable industry connections in the early stage of their company development.

The first advice I have for startups is to apply, don't miss the chance to experience this great challenge. The feedback from the jury was very personalized and extremely wise. Winning the prize was also extremely helpful not only to be contacted by new investors and potential costumers but also to reactivate some conversations we had in the past.

Who can participate?

All startups (5 years or less) who are targeting the F&B industry with innovations focusing on:

  • Ground-breaking ingredients / additives that improve taste, texture, appearance, and/or nutritional value of food and beverages 
  • Revolutionary technologies and/or services that support the F&B industry

Entry Criteria

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


This years categories

Startup innovation challenge

Category 1: Most Innovative Food or Beverage Ingredient

This category covers ingredients or additives that improve taste, texture, appearance and/ or nutritional value.

For example, flavours, flavour enhancer, colours, sweeteners, emulsifiers, stabilisers, (thickeners, binders, texturisers), acidulants, firming agent, anti-caking agents, leavening agents, humectants, dough strengtheners, fat substitutions, yeast nutrients, PH control agents, enzyme preparations, functional lipids, dietary fibre, probiotics, etc.

Startup innovation challenge

Category 2: Most Innovative Plant-Based or Alternative Ingredient

This category covers innovations related to food and beverage ingredients or additives specifically from a plant-based or alternative, non-animal source.

Startup innovation challenge

Category 3: Most Innovative Processing Technology

This category covers innovations related to food processing technologies that have the potential to positively impact the F&B industry.

Examples include molecular farming, biomass fermentation, cellular agriculture, precision fermentation, etc.

Startup innovation challenge

Category 4: Most Innovative Service, Technology or Digital Solution Supporting F&B

This category covers innovations that support improvements in ingredients sourcing and production, formulation, food safety, traceability, transparency, smart packaging, upcycling, and/ or supply chain management.

Startup innovation challenge

Jury's choice award: Most Innovative Sustainable Solutions

This special prize will be awarded to the startup with the most sustainable innovation. All startup finalists across categories can be considered for this award, with the winners being decided by the expert jury. The startups’ overall sustainability efforts will be considered.

2022 Prizes

All category winners of the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge can select one of the below prizes on offer:

A fully equipped stand at Fi Europe 2023

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.

Fi Global Insights & Ingredients Network Digital Package to promote your online presence throughout 2023.

This serves to promote your online presence throughout the year.

Read our dedicated startup e-mag and learn

  • Why collaboration between established companies and startups is crucial in today’s ecosystem
  • How startups can stand out from the crowd when pitching to investors, incubators, and accelerators
  • Updates from previous winners of the Startup Innovation Challenge

Hear from past winners

Don’t just take our word for it. Hear directly from other past winners of why they recommend participating. 

Interviews with 2021 Finalists

California Cultured, one of the the 2021 Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge finalists,
is creating non-GMO chocolate with their pioneering cell culture technology.

Time-Travelling Milkman, one of the the 2021 Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge finalists, is taking novel concepts out of the lab and bringing creaminess to plant-based dairy.

NoPalm Ingredients is using microbial fermentation to produce palm oil in laboratories without oil palms, a development that it says will reduce deforestation rates in tropical regions.

Startup Innovation Challenge Partners