Barilla and Plug And Play invite applications from Ag-tech and Food-tech startups

Accelerator News

Barilla renews and strengthens its commitment to innovation in food with Good Food Makers, a global accelerator for Ag-tech and Food-tech startups whose ideas will shape the more sustainable future of food.

Registrations will be open from today until July 7 at Good Food Makers.

The innovative ideas sought for 2023 are focused on 4 areas:

  1. Circular packaging:  solutions and business models for packaging reuse or reduction
  2. Logistic quality: digital solutions to improve logistic quality in terms of suppliers’ quality & service, monitoring and traceability
  3. Fermentation for clean label: ingredients and technologies leveraging on fermentation to exploit the nutritional/sensorial/environmental value of our products with special focus on clean label solutions
  4. You @ Best: digital solutions to improve people wellbeing by connecting lifestyle and food habits

Now in its fifth year, Good Food Makers was created to support food innovators and drive the development of new sustainable food solutions. It includes an eight-week program, during which startups work side by side with Barilla’s managers to develop and test new ideas together, thanks to the vision of a company that has been committed to producing good and quality food for 145 years. To help them undertake this shared growth path, the 4 selected startups will receive 10,000 euros of support for the project to be implemented during the acceleration program, and the opportunity to build future collaborations with the Barilla Group.

“There is an increasing awareness of the importance of investing and bringing new ideas to the food sector, not only to satisfy global demand, but also and above all to create healthy, sustainable products that are able to respond to the new consumers’ needs” says Claudia Berti, Barilla Global Open Innovation Senior manager. “After 5 years, Good Food Makers increasingly represents an open window on the entire panorama of Food & Beverage, which at an international level conveys different habits, customs and lifestyles. The project allows us to commit to collaborating with companies from all over the world that operate in this sector and who share with us the mission of creating a future full of progress.”

For the second consecutive year, Good Food Makers will be working with Plug And Play, the largest open innovation platform in the world, with a network of 60,000 startups, over 550 world-leading companies and hundreds of venture capital companies, universities, and government agencies. Launched in 2019, Plug And Play’s Food & Beverage Program has already accelerated over 200 startups globally.

“The common goal is to support the most promising entities of the sector in a development path towards internationalization, providing the specific know-how of the branch experts on a daily basis” says Arianna Elena Maschietto, Plug and Play Milan Director. “We believe that experimenting with the application of new technologies along the entire supply chain, from agronomic processes to conservation techniques, from transporting products to preparing meals, is the key to success for all those who intend to make a real difference in this area, with a closer look at environmental and social sustainability”.

In its five years of existence, Good Food Makers has attracted over 600 participating startups and involved more than 150 managers of the Barilla Group. The 18 winning startups were given the opportunity to co-develop their ideas with company managers by testing and validating the solutions to the proposed challenges.  With some of them, the collaboration with the Barilla Group continues today.

“For us, the success of the program was defined by how much learning, best practices, and relationships could be taken away after the program and fed back into our day-to-day work. My top tip would be to ensure you have a good breadth of participants in the kick-off trip to Barilla, as this will mean that the two teams can share a really broad range of knowledge and experiences. For example, we sent someone from customer insights / data, a recipe developer, and a process manager, and we all came back having learnt and shared a lot” says Matthew Savage, Allplants BI Lead.

“Through this program new business projects can explore many advanced solutions to their challenges, immediately test them to evaluate the potential, or they can just think ‘out of the box’ and get inspired to try alternative approaches. Good Food Makers wants to disclose a different perspective where flexibility is valued higher than perfection and this is extremely useful when time and resources are constrained” says Elisa Cavandoli, Barilla Quality Food Safety Manager and Good Food Makers Project Leader.

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