Startup Innovation Challenge 2018 - Finalists

Startup Innovation Challenge

In 2018, the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge was organised for the third time, during one of Informa Market's flagship shows – Health ingredients Europe (Frankfurt, November 2018). It gave startups the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the whole host of F&B industry players that made up the show’s 500+ exhibitors and 10,000+ attendees.

All shortlisted startups had access to the Startup Lounge at the Industry Insights Theatre, where they could meet and network with visitors to Hi Europe. They also had listings in the Hi Europe show catalogue and on ingredients Network, Fi Global’s online product directory.

In 2018 the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge categories were:

  • Most Innovative Healthy Food or Beverage Ingredient
  • Most Innovative Plant-Based Finished Product
  • Most Innovative Technology or Service Supporting F&B 

2018 Startup Innovation Challenge Sponsor

2018 Startup Innovation Challenge - Finalists

Category: Most Innovative Healthy Food or Beverage Ingredient

FunGeneX B.V.

FunGeneX B.V. was founded in Breda, The Netherlands in 2016 as a spin out of BioscienZ for the commercialisation of fungal protein expression technologies. This company licenses fungal protein production technology for application in Food, Feed, Pharmaceutical, Industrial as well as Agro applications. 
Next to this the company develops for it’s own commercialization strategy animal free egg white protein for Food application by means of fungal fermentation which will be commercialized in the coming 3-5 years. 
The company uses R&D facilities and staff from BioscienZ’s Laboratories 350 m2 and 12 FTE, currently mainly active in R&D/ Legal/Finance and QA/Regulatory.


Gnubiotics Sciences

Gnubiotics Sciences, a Swiss biotech founded in 2016, develops the next generation of HMOs containing +130 diverse MAC structures beneficial in establishing healthy microbiome via selective modulation to prevent inflammation. 
Our Microbiota Accessible Carbohydrates are disruptive new prebiotic ingredient that successfully mimics the diversity and health benefits of breast milk, enabling growth of key bacteria and inhibition of pathogen in the gut.


Magellan Life Sciences

Magellan Life Sciences is a synthetic biology company that discovers and develops plant inspired proteins for commercial applications in Food and Beverage industries. Magellan’s proprietary protein production platform XSeed® bridges the gap from R&D to consumer markets by allowing for economically viable industrial scale production of unique natural proteins.

Magellan’s flagship Brazzein protein sweetener is the lead product from XSeed®. We are the first company worldwide to successfully produce economically viable yields of this disruptive next-gen protein sweetener: Tastes like sugar, no bitter or metallic aftertaste, 1,200 times sweeter than sugar, non-caloric, pH and heat stable. Unlike all it’s competitors, Brazzein requires NO masking agents thereby reducing formulation and product costs; a high value proposition for today’s F&B industry.


PLANETARIANS makes high protein ingredients from upcycled by-products. PLANETARIANS’ ingredients are available in the form of crisps and flour and contain 35% protein, 18% fiber and 1% fat. Upcycling by-products PLANETARIANS makes protein affordable, feeds growing population and reduces impact on the planet.

Renewal Mill

Renewal Mill is a next generation ingredient company that harvest byproducts from food manufacturing and upcycles them into high-quality ingredients and products. In doing so, it's building a more sustainable food system that reduces waste and improves nutrition. Winner of the Institute of Food Technologists' Food Disruption Challenge, Renewal Mill is currently using its proprietary technology to upcycle the byproduct of soymilk manufacturing, called okara, into a high protein, high fiber, gluten free flour. But, okara is just the start, and Renewal Mill is already working on additional byproduct sources from other nuts and legumes. The company is 100% female run and believes that a core part of its mission is to bring its high quality nutrition and chef-developed products to food deserts first.

Category : Most Innovative Plant-Based Finished Product

Green Banana Food B.V.

Green Banana Food B.V (GBF) is a Netherlands food-tech company developing products and ingredient solutions from the native cooking green banana. Our goal is to deliver high nutrient, low carb, gluten free products with a great taste. With our propriety process, we utilise the green bananas (Highland bananas from Uganda) is our main ingredient in all our products. Our core value is to pioneer a shared value food system where the food company, end consumers and the farmers have shared benefits.



Jet-Eat is developing a new generation of plant-based meat, using 3D printing instead of animals. Founded in 2018 Jet-Eat is the world’s first company to develop a new additive manufacturing technology specifically for plant-based meat. The Jet-Eat multi-dimensional printing technology combines the latest innovations in digital and 3D printing with advanced food science – to produce steaks with the same appearance, texture, flavor and cooking properties of animal meat, from natural, sustainable and healthy ingredients.


Shileo is an online food startup founded in Sept. 2017 selling delicious konjac rice and pasta meals which are: the perfect low-cal alternative to normal pasta and rice (5x less calories than in traditional noodles), low-carb, vegan, filling, aiding weight loss (cf. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012), health promoting due to its high content of glucomannan-a soluble fibre, without flavour enhancers and artificial colourings and ready to eat within minutes.

Category: Most Innovative Technology or Service Supporting F&B


Ambrosus is a blockchain-powered IoT network for food and pharmaceutical enterprises, enabling secure, and frictionless dialogue between sensors, distributed ledgers and databases to optimize supply-chain visibility and quality assurance. Through its blockchain AMB-NET, Ambrosus focuses on Supply Chain Optimisation, Logistics Tracking, Quality Assurance and Anti-Counterfeiting.Ambrosus is likewise fostering innovation in Blockchain and IoT space by building APIs, SDKs and Developer Tools. 

Aryballe Technologies

Aryballe Technologies, the pioneer in digital olfaction, develops and manufactures bio-inspired odor sensors for ground-breaking applications in the food, home appliances, and flavors & fragrances industries. Its solution for digital olfaction is based on a unique combination of technologies: optics, biochemistry, microfluidics, electronics and IT. Over 1,000 odors have been detected, digitized, and stored in odor databases.


Better Juice

Better Juice developed a B2B product with a patent-pending technology for reducing natural sugars from fruit juices.
We harness the activity of non-GMO microorganisms to bio-convert the sugars to dietary fibers and non-digestible natural molecules. Our continuous flow system is capable of treating large volumes of juices with a little added cost to the final product.


Embion produces new prebiotic solutions for human, animal and soil microbiome nutrition from agricultural and food processing side-streams.
Embion's advantage lies in a novel processing technology that is a result of more than 10 years of research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. The technology allows to target and extract natural prebiotic ingredients from biomass such as oligosaccharides and polyphenols as well as customize the degree of polymerization for personalized solutions.
The process is a breakthrough in the production costs of prebiotic ingredients stemming from superior process parameters than competing technologies e.g. yield (2x-10x), processing speed (15x-42x) and very high product purity while reducing pre- and post-processing steps.
All the above enable the commercialization of novel but also affordable prebiotics for offering customization for microbiome nutrition.


Nucaps offers technological services for Encapsulation of bioactives and probiotics with Food Proteins for a safe and efficient oral delivery. A new nanoµencapsulation technology, with nutraceutical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical purposes. 
This encapsulation process, adapted for industrial scale and designed for oral delivery and controlled release of bioactives and microorganisms, is based on the use of Food proteins (GRAS), as casein, zein or soya.
Nanocapsules and Biocapsules protect the actives, improving effectiveness, stability, safety and profitability.