The FoodTech Awards support innovative projects and start-ups

Promoting innovation and start-ups is a priority for Alimentaria FoodTech. The trade show, which will take place from the 19th to the 22nd of October 2021 at Fira de Barcelona, promotes innovation and entrepreneurship among companies in the food industry equipment and technology sector through its Foodtech Innova and Foodtech Emprende Awards. These awards are an important recognition of sectoral research and allow participants to open up new opportunities in the market.

The third edition of the FoodTech Innova and FoodTech Emprende Awards will recognise the most innovative projects in food safety, hygiene and quality; processes and transformation; sustainability and circular economy; industry 4.0; and health and wellness; as well as the start-ups that present the most attractive entrepreneurial and innovative project.

The Foodtech Innova Awards identify the business projects of exhibitors at the trade show that stand out especially in innovation and creativity and that have been commercialised since the last edition of the trade show, in 2018.  The FoodTech Emprende Awards recognise entrepreneurial projects that contribute to technological innovation in the transformation and preservation of food and beverages. This award contributes to the promotion of creative projects developed by emerging companies in the machinery, technology and food ingredients sector that are looking to make a name for themselves in the market. Technology-based companies (EBTS), spin-offs and start-ups are eligible to apply.

For Ricardo Márquez, director of Alimentaria FoodTech, both awards confirm that Alimentaria FoodTech “works innovation as a strategic pillar which is present both in its exhibition offer and in the programme of knowledge transfer activities developed together with the country’s most important technology centres, industry associations and companies in the sector”.

The FoodTech Innova and Emprende Awards are organised together with a scientific committee chaired by Buenaventura Guamis, professor of Food Technology, which includes associations such as Ainia, AFCA, IRTA, Fiab and the Triptolemos Foundation, among other leading organisations in the sector. Guamis states that “it is no longer possible to innovate alone. Companies, universities, technology centres and associations must collaborate to boost innovation, competitiveness and sustainable development in the sector”.

Entrepreneurship with maximum visibility
Alimentaria FoodTech offers a service to all those agents who apply technologies to the agri-food value chain, from production to the commercial distribution of food, providing innovation, efficiency, safety and sustainability.

Thus, the products or services participating in the FoodTech Emprende Awards must be linked to the sectors represented at Alimentaria FoodTech: processing, ingredients, intermediate food products, packaging and labelling, industry 4.0, food safety, refrigeration, handling, storage, logistics or auxiliary services and industries, such as applications for the HORECA segment.

It was precisely for the HORECA channel that the company Cocuus System Ibérica designed the Cooking Science appliance, which won the FoodTech Emprende Award at the last edition of the trade show. Daniel Rico, co-founder of the company, points out that this recognition “was a master key to accessing our first target public. It helped us to consolidate our first key business relationships, which are so necessary for a start-up as young as ours. In addition, the visibility we gained helped us to compile the best CVs and we now have a great team of professionals that has allowed us to apply our mimetic talent to other fields in the food industry, such as bioprinting or scaffolding, and to grow and establish ourselves as a benchmark company”.

One aspect especially valued by the companies participating in the FoodTech Emprende Awards is that the finalists can have an exhibition area at the trade show’s Innovation Meeting Point, the area dedicated exclusively to innovation in the sector.

The jury, whose composition is revealed on the day of the awards ceremony, is made up of representatives from the business world, technology centres and relevant academic institutions in the food and beverage processing sector. To make their decision, they evaluate the innovative aspects of the project, its competitive advantages, its commercial viability, its financial plan and the attractiveness of its business model for potential investors.

In the last edition, the jury included such important associations and institutions as AFCA, AINIA, ANFACO-CECOPESCA, AZTI, CDTI, CNTA, FIAB, IRTA and IESE.

High-value ecosystem
The Spanish FoodTech ecosystem is made up of around 400 entrepreneurial projects, according to the consultancy Eatable Adventures. The food industry’s collaboration with foodtech startups does not yet match the decisive weight of food in the Spanish economy, which is why initiatives such as the FoodTech Emprende Awards make even more sense. However, investment in this type of company is growing fast and, according to estimates by Eatable, the segment is beginning to be considered a high-value investment asset, as the level of investment in these companies is expected to almost triple in 2021 compared to 2019.

Alimentaria FoodTech will be a turning point for the food and beverage equipment, technology and ingredients industries. The trade show will take place from the 19th to the 22nd of October 2021, at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue to boost commercial activity, business opportunities and exports of goods and equipment; and will once again be held simultaneously with Hispack, the International Packaging Show. At their last joint edition in 2018, the trade shows brought together nearly 1,100 direct exhibitors from 30 countries and more than 38,000 visitors, 10% from abroad.

Barcelona, May 2021

Susana Santamaria