FoodBytes! by Rabobank seeks start-up ‘gamechangers’ disrupting the food chain

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

FoodBytes! by Rabobank seeks start-up ‘gamechangers’ disrupting the food chain
Rabobank is launching the search for food- and agri start-ups to join its 2019 FoodBytes! pitch competition and networking event in London.

FoodBytes! is seeking “cutting-edge start-ups pioneering the future of food and agriculture”​. The platform wants to identify innovations that will have a disruptive impact on the food industry and supply chain, including sustainable farming, packaging, traceability solutions, environmentally-friendly ingredients, food waste reduction and the latest sustainable CPG food start-ups.

Following a competitive application process, fifteen early-stage companies will be invited to join in the pitching competition live on stage at Victoria House, London, later this year (6-7 November).
Across the two days, participants will benefit from mentorship sessions with industry experts. They will also have the opportunity to connect with leading corporates, investors and fellow start-ups to help scale their business.

The event is returning to London following its successful European debut last year.

FoodBytes! London 2019 will be the 17th event in the series, which aims to showcase “gamechangers”​ who have developed innovation addressing the need to feed the world’s growing global population sustainably while minimising the carbon footprint of food production. Since launching in 2015, more than 2,000 start-ups have applied to join the competition from over 90 countries. FoodBytes! has attracted more than 4,700 attendees across its events in North America, Europe and Australia.

The FoodBytes! alumni community is made up of 265 companies, including smart packaging innovator Mimica​, aquaculture feed company BioKind​ and ag-tech innovator Rootwave​, which won the top prizes at FoodBytes! London last year.

Why apply?

According to Rob Wilson, chief toaster at Toast Ale, a brewing company that addresses food waste by re-purposing surplus bread, said that the experience was “superb”​.

Toast won the People’s Choice Award at FoodBytes! San Francisco​ this year. Commenting on the experience of participating, Wilson said he “cannot recommend it highly enough”​.

Resources for the 15 companies that participate in the two-day programme include a full-day mentorship led by industry experts focusing on the key topics of fundraising, branding, research trends, legal issues and go-to-market strategy. Start-ups will also benefit from one-on-one conversations with mentors and direct feedback on their products, technologies and pitches. As part of the FoodBytes! alumni community, participants will receive ongoing support from Rabobank food and agriculture experts and access to Rabobank research reports for a minimum of one year.

“FoodBytes! is an awesome opportunity to pitch your business idea, create new partnerships, network with industry professionals and receive mentoring support from world-class experts in multiple fields – from legal advice to logistics,”​ Toast’s Wilson explained.

Applications​ close on 4 August at 11.59pm GMT. The criteria for successful applicants is focused on product innovation, market opportunity, traction and commercial viability – with a focus on sustainability and social impact. The full criteria can be found here​. 

FoodBytes! London 2019 is officially supported by Compass Group​, Saputo Dairy UK​ and Coca Cola European Partners​, as well as supporting sponsors Louis Dreyfus Company​, DLL​ and Watson Farley & Williams​.

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