Chocolate alternatives are emerging as a disruptive force due to increasing ethical and environmental concerns. The conventional chocolate industry, known for labor issues and deforestation, sees 1.56 million children engaged in cocoa farming, often under exploitative conditions in the countries that produce nearly 60% of the world’s cocoa each year: Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The environmental toll is equally alarming, with cocoa production contributing to vast deforestation, threatening biodiversity, and exacerbating climate change. The chocolate industry’s carbon footprint urges a reevaluation of people’s chocolate-eating habits.

In response, consumers are embracing chocolate alternatives that sidestep these ethical and environmental pitfalls. As the global demand for dairy-free and plant-based options surges, the market for chocolate alternatives is projected to hit $2 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 13.1% from 2023 to 2032, according to Allied Market Research. This shift signifies a growing awareness among consumers, spurring the industry to prioritize sustainable practices and redefine the sweet success of chocolate. Here, we present five startups taking strides in sustainability, ethical practices, and authenticity by creating a unique product: chocolate-free chocolate.



Foreverland 🇮🇹, based in Southern Italy, is disrupting the chocolate industry with its innovative cocoa-free alternative called Freecao. Developed by a team with experience in multinational corporations and the food industry, Foreverland aims to address the environmental and ethical challenges associated with cocoa production. Freecao is made from a base of carob, a native Mediterranean legume known for its nutritional benefits. The chocolate is free from the nine major allergens, contains 25-50% less sugar than traditional milk chocolate, and focuses on sustainability and the well-being of people. Foreverland plans to scale its production, emphasizing local sourcing and a horizontal product portfolio that extends beyond chocolate, working on a Freecao Spread. The startup has already tested its chocolate with industry players in Italy and it envisions becoming a strategic supplier of cocoa-free chocolate for major confectionery companies globally, emphasizing its commitment to a better-for-the-planet and better-for-people chocolate revolution.

wnwn logo


WNWN Food Labs 🇬🇧, a London-based food tech company, has introduced vegan and cocoa-free chocolate bars that replicate popular brands such as Cadbury, Tony’s Chocolonely, and Terry’s. The Win-Win bars, are now available for shipping in the UK, and come in three variants—Choc Nut, Choc Orange, and Vegan M*lk Choc. WNWN claims to have used “cutting-edge science” to convert vegetable fat, carob, oats, and barley into its cocoa-free chocolate alternative. The bars are palm oil-free, packaged in compostable wrappers and cardboard sleeves, and aim to offer an ethical, sustainable, and cocoa-free twist to classic chocolate bars.

planet foods

Planet a Food

Planet A Foods 🇩🇪 is a German startup revolutionizing the future of food through its proprietary technology that involves fermenting plant-based ingredients. Their chocolate is 10x more sustainable and 20% cheaper than conventional chocolate. In order to mimic the organoleptic properties of chocolate, tender, and smooth, they are working on the flavor itself but also on replacing the cocoa butter. By utilizing precision fermentation, roasting, and local processing, the company transforms natural ingredients and by-products like oats into the base for various flavors, including their flagship product, ChoViva—a 100% cocoa-free chocolate. This innovative process reduces carbon emissions by 90% and offers a delicious aroma, luxurious snap, and a smooth texture. Planet A Foods aims to create food ingredients decoupled from unsustainable land and labor practices, building a platform for the future of sustainable and ethical food production. Founded in 2021 by Sara and Max, Planet A Foods is on a mission to reduce the carbon footprint while delivering delightful and sustainable culinary experiences.

california Cultured

California cultured

California Cultured 🇺🇸is a Californian Startup based in Davis with a team of chocolate and coffee enthusiasts committed to transforming the industry for the better. Recognizing the environmental and ethical issues in traditional chocolate production, they are using plant cell culture technology in cellular agriculture to create cocoa and coffee with identical qualities to conventional products. By selecting optimal cacao and coffee varieties, nurturing cells, and mimicking rainforest conditions, they produce sustainable alternatives free from deforestation and child labor. California Cultured invites people to join them in embracing a new era of environmentally friendly and delicious chocolate and coffee.



Trusty 🇮🇹, an innovative Italian startup founded in 2022, specializes in blockchain-based end-to-end traceability solutions tailored for the agri-food sector. This platform, in development since 2020, currently benefits over 70 Italian companies. Trusty has acquired extensive expertise in the chocolate industry, having implemented their platform in three major industries. This implementation facilitates the tracking of over one hundred cooperatives and more than fifteen thousand farmers across seven countries.
Leveraging this experience, Trusty is now revolutionizing the cocoa industry. They’ve launched a blockchain-enabled marketplace, which adheres to both the European Union Data Regulation (EUDR) and the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (CSDD). This marketplace is designed to promote ethical sourcing of high-quality cocoa by fostering direct connections between responsible producers and the industry. Trusty’s platform not only enables transparent trade but also provides micro-financing opportunities. This initiative is pivotal in creating a more sustainable and equitable cocoa supply chain, ultimately benefiting cocoa farmers and the industry alike.

To sum up, in response to increasing ethical and environmental concerns in the conventional chocolate industry, a new era of chocolate alternatives is emerging. The traditional chocolate industry is under scrutiny for labor issues and deforestation, prompting a shift towards sustainable practices. Consumers are actively seeking dairy-free and plant-based options, driving the chocolate alternatives market to a projected $2 billion by 2032. This shift reflects a growing awareness among consumers, urging the industry to prioritize sustainability and redefine the concept of chocolate success. Five startups are leading this transformation, each contributing unique solutions to the ethical and environmental challenges associated with cocoa production. Foreverland, WNWN, Planet A Foods, California Cultured, and Trusty are at the forefront of this movement, introducing innovative cocoa-free alternatives, leveraging plant cell culture technology, and implementing blockchain for transparent supply chains. These startups collectively represent a significant step towards a more sustainable, ethical, and authentic chocolate industry.

The company launches, in collaboration with Eatable Adventures, the second edition of the “Areas for Change Challenge” with the aim of enabling the international entrepreneurial community to develop real solutions to the sector’s challenges in terms of sustainability.

Following the success of the first edition, Areas, international leader in food&beverage and travel retail with global headquarters in Barcelona, is launching the second edition of the ‘Areas for Change Challenge’, an initiative aimed at startups with the goal of finding concrete and feasible solutions that respond to the company’s own challenges for the coming years and those of the Food & Beverage and Travel Retail sector, on this occasion, in terms of sustainability.

The company has launched this new edition as part of its ESG strategy ‘Areas for Change’, which focuses on people, the planet and the future of travel. Specifically, the company wants to provide sustainable and innovative solutions to reduce its environmental footprint and, in this way, help in the fight against climate change and guide the company’s activity towards a more sustainable future.

With this program, and in collaboration with Eatable Adventures, one of the world’s leading foodtech accelerators, Areas is looking for startups that provide real solutions to the following sustainability challenges:

  • Recycling & Upcycling: Solutions related to waste management generated in Areas’ restaurants (primarily organic waste such as coffee, oil, fruit, and packaging), its reappraise and recycling.
  • Economy of Water: Innovative solutions (digital, robotic, or others) designed to enhance water management, reduce water consumption, and lower operating costs through Startups with pilot capacity, international scaling and/or impact on marketing and PR, to optimize production and reputation.
  • Return & Resume packaging: Digital solutions aimed at implementing and promoting a “use and return” packaging system to minimize the overall environmental impact of packaging, being as frictionless as possible to respect convenience.

All of this will be carried out through startups with pilot capacity, international scaling and/or impact on marketing and PR, for new lines of business and to improve efficiency. In addition to the three main areas of interest, Areas is actively seeking and evaluating startups that provide solutions related to the circular economy, with a particular focus on fashion and textiles and its applications related to employee uniforms.

Oscar Vela, Areas’ CEO worldwide, pointed out that “this challenge is being launched for the second consecutive year because we understand that it is important for companies like Areas to work to find solutions that transform the industry, and help promote a greater commitment and environmental awareness, offering a better experience for travelers. Vela highlighted the firm commitment to this project because “Areas’ purpose is to generate a positive impact on the planet, on people and on the future of travel, and to do so in an innovative, creative and disruptive way, together with the best startups and partners in the world.”

After an initial analysis, the selected startups will have the opportunity to work with Areas to develop a pilot program and support the company’s marketing strategy, among other benefits. In this sense, the selected startups will also be able to collaborate, together with the Areas team, to get the project off the ground and become a supplier of the company in the future.

Interested startups can register here:


Great success of participation in the first edition


Last March, Areas selected the 3 winning startups of the first edition of the ‘Areas for Change Challenge’ project, developed in collaboration with Eatable Adventures. On this occasion, the objective was to find feasible solutions that respond to the company’s own challenges for the coming years and those of the Food & Beverage and Travel Retail sector, focusing on 3 categories: sustainability, gastronomy and digitization.

From the more than 70 applications received from startups in the United States, Europe, and Asia, Eatable Adventures selected a total of 37 finalist projects, from which 9 finalist startups were selected. From these 9, 3 winning projects were finally chosen for their positive impact on the sector. These three projects had the opportunity to work with Areas, access its international network and, ultimately, to scale their project in the market.

The three winning companies were Flax&Kale, in the gastronomy category; Alberts, in the digitalization category; and Cupffee, in the sustainability category.

In words of Itziar Ortega, Senior VP Global Operations of Eatable Adventures “The selected startups will be able to test their proposals and scale with the support of a global benchmark in the Food & Travel Retail sector, adding to the legacy of sustainable innovation of this initiative. The successful implementation of Cupffee’s edible cups, a startup selected in the first edition, in different Areas’ establishments demonstrates how open innovation can become a very efficient collaboration tool for both parties, promoting innovation and sustainability in the sector”.

 Seven Italian startups have been selected for the 1st edition of the FoodSeed Accelerator, a program focused on innovative food technologies, part of the CDP Venture Capital National Network. FoodSeed was launched in March 2023 to promote excellence and innovation in the Italian agri-food industry, with the support of promoting partners and co-investors such as Fondazione Cariverona, UniCredit and Eatable Adventures, among the main foodtech accelerators on a global scale, with the contribution of corporate partners Amadori, Cattolica Business Unit of Generali Italia, Axxelera, Veronafiere and the scientific partner University of Verona.


After screening over 250 applications, the 7 startups presented concrete solutions to the main challenges affecting the food industry, at a national and global scale. The projects, showcased on the Demoday on November 13th in Verona, are ready to bring to the market solutions with a strong positive impact on the Italian FoodTech and Agritech sectors: from “non-chocolate chocolate” to prevention systems against water stress, to advanced fermentation via sound waves and the creation of organic products capable of extending the shelf life of products.


Every startup received an initial investment of 170.000 euros – with the possibility of increasing up to 500.000 euros for the best performers – and benefited from a 6-month acceleration program to consolidate their business proposal.


Foodseed also offered a coaching and mentoring program that supports startups in building relationships and networking from an Open Innovation perspective. This aims to foster collaboration between these new enterprises and existing traditional entities, making it easier for them to find investors who believe in the importance of innovation to address crucial sustainability challenges in the food sector, the beating heart of the Italian economy.


  • 1. Foreverland: The chocolate of the future on Italian tables

Foreverland introduces a revolutionary, sustainable, and Made in Italy alternative to the market: chocolate without cocoa. In response to the challenges posed by deforestation, water stress, carbon emissions, CO2 consumption, and the exploitation of over 1.5 million children in the chocolate industry, Foreverland addresses this pressing issue with Freecao. This breakthrough in the confectionery sector uses carob, a legume typical of the Mediterranean region and one of Italy’s major producers. By leveraging reverse engineering, enzymatic treatments, and fermentation and roasting techniques, Freecao significantly reduces environmental and social impact, supporting our system, lessening the issues on cocoa cultivation, and aiding local businesses in the sector. Freecao achieves an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions and a 90% decrease in water consumption compared to traditional cocoa production. This alternative is free from the top 9 allergens, including milk and tree nuts, it is gluten-free, caffeine-free, and avoids the usage of artificial ingredients. Furthermore, it contains 50% less sugar than traditional milk chocolate, making it a healthier choice for consumers.


  • 2. Enhancing pasture well-being: Regrowth and remote livestock monitoring

The lack of adequate tools for extensive livestock farming management and the inadequacy of available products have brought Regrowth to the forefront. Hailing directly from Teramo, Regrowth introduces a Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) tool for extensive production farms, allowing farmers to monitor their farms. Regrowth offers a system capable of reducing animal losses by approximately 60% through early disease identification. Concerned about pasture well-being? With specific protocols, Regrowth can detect overgrazing caused by poor herd and pasture management. Moreover, their protocols aim to stimulate increased soil biodiversity, CO2 sequestration, water retention, and much more. To facilitate communication about livestock management, Regrowth makes farm data transparent and protected by anti-tampering protocols. The Regrowth team is currently adapting its system for intensive farms to ensure optimized management and monitor animal well-being levels.


  • 3. Water stress and water waste: Soonapse to the rescue

Amidst climate change, water waste, and the lack of innovative means to help farmers understand soil health, the agricultural sector seeks assistance. Soonapse, a startup based in Rome, has developed the first Decision Support System (DSS) specifically designed for IoT. This Dual AI system interprets climate change and provides forecasts with 99% accuracy, enabling farmers to optimize water usage and more. By combining contextual information with events (data collected from sensors, drones, and satellites) and predictions, Soonapse can predict water conditions in any soil/crop for the next 5 days. This involves Smart or Precision Irrigation, a predictive model that considers all crops, offering advice on the best cultivation based on seasonality. Currently, no technology guarantees this level of precision. With experience in the wine sector, Soonapse is extending its technologies to serve oenologists, allowing them to improve production quality through agricultural process control.


By 2030, Italian (National Action Plan) and European (from Farm to Fork) regulations will reduce the use of chemical pesticides by 50% and increase the agricultural area cultivated with biological tools by 60% compared to today. Unfortunately, the market lacks sufficient products capable of protecting plants and replicating common phytosanitary agents, both in terms of effectiveness and cost. The agricultural market, therefore, needs an alternative with the same efficacy and comparable costs. Directly from Udine, Agreen Biosolutions proposes a solution to aid the transition to more sustainable agriculture: ozonized oil with a variable concentration of ozone, to be applied in agricultural fields, ensuring a preventive and/or curative effect. This certified “tonic” oil, with biostimulant and phytosanitary effects, eliminates the use of chemical pesticides and provides significant cost savings for farmers. A uniquely valuable product capable of stimulating and protecting crops.


  • 5. From farm to fork: Trusty advocating Product traceability transparency

To ensure transparency in the food supply chain, Trusty offers industrial traceability services in environmental, social, and corporate governance domains. The Pescara-based startup has developed a blockchain-based platform with a customizable dashboard for each industry. The system can integrate information from authorities and issue traceability certifications. Trusty follows the entire life cycle of food products, from Farm to Fork, providing reliable and accurate information to stakeholders about the origin, quality, and safety of products. The startup’s services align with certain regulations, such as the European Deforestation Free and Smart Label standards. A traceability system like this can address various issues related to food safety and monitor emissions of pollutants during production. Starting with long and complex supply chains such as Cocoa, coffee, and other tropical products, the startup can genuinely contribute to building trust between consumers and producers for a more sustainable food system.


  • 6.  Extending product shelf life: AgreeNET

Addressing food waste, a major issue in the food chain, safeguarding our raw materials, and supporting Italian exports that significantly contribute to the national GDP, AgreeNET proposes an innovative, biologically based, and biodegradable material for food packaging. AgreeNET has conceived a POD to insert into product packaging. Emitting natural substances normally produced by plants to protect against pathogens, the POD can extend the shelf life of products by up to 20 days, helping food producers resolve or mitigate the issue of food waste.


  • 7. Hypesound: Advanced fermentation through sound waves

What if sound therapy could benefit the industrial sector? The idea comes directly from Perugia: Hypesound, the startup selected by the acceleration program, has developed So’Sweep, a device that reproduces sound waves for advanced fermentation. It can accelerate the growth of microorganisms, increasing production by up to 300%, thus reducing time and costs. Currently, Hypesound is focusing on optimizing algae production, especially Spirulina and Chlorella. Still, the technology’s applications extend to the entire biotechnology sector.


The acceleration program has also had a strong resonance in the rest of Europe, especially in those countries where the food sector already collaborates with industry innovation: 5% of the received applications come from Spain, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Switzerland. This data not only is unsurprising but further validates the inclusive nature of FoodSeed and emphasizes the general interest in safeguarding Italy’s role as a gastronomic excellence worldwide. An acceleration program capable of attracting new talents that can bring a breath of innovation to a sector that, although excellent, remains deeply rooted in tradition.


FoodSeed will select, every year, for three consecutive years, up to 10 startups capable of building ecosystems and value synergies that bring innovation to the entire sector for a more sustainable Italy. The call for startups participating in the 2nd edition of FoodSeed will open in February 2024.



  • ICONE and Eatable Adventures uncover three key opportunities for growth in the country: enhancing the agri-food value chain, improving agri-food commercial and business exchanges, and introducing high-value crops.
  • Foodtech startups with innovative technology seeking to participate in a globally impactful project can apply now to the 3 Open Challenges to boost agri-food innovation and contribute to the country’s economic progress.

ICONE, a GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) project that promotes sustainable and innovative business practices in Cambodia, and Eatable Adventures, one of the world’s leading Foodtech accelerators, have joined forces to drive innovation in the agri-food sector in the northwest of the country.

The project aims to integrate sustainability and develop innovative solutions to boost local agri-food productivity, furthering the country’s economic progress. In the initial phase of the two-year program, a thorough analysis of the region’s agri-food industry was conducted to identify key opportunities for enhancing local businesses’ productivity and contributing to Cambodia’s economic growth.


Only 10% to 13% of local agricultural production undergoes processing.


According to the report jointly developed by GIZ and Eatable Adventures titled ‘Food Innovation and Agro-Processing Sector in North-Western Cambodia, agriculture stands as one of the foremost economic pillars of the country, contributing around 22% to its gross domestic product (GDP) and encompassing 30% of the nation’s total employment. Agricultural production dominates the primary sector, making up 60% of the sector’s GDP contribution, followed by fishing and livestock farming.

However, only 10% to 13% of agricultural production undergoes processing, leading to most exported products being in raw form. Additionally, a significant portion of these products undergo value-added products in Thailand and Vietnam before being exported back to Cambodia. Therefore, there is a pressing need for the country to focus on developing its processing and value-added capabilities in the agricultural sector to enhance its economic growth and global competitiveness.

Throughout the in-depth analysis conducted by ICONE and Eatable Adventures, three key growth areas have been identified to drive innovative technological solutions aimed at enhancing production processes in the agri-food sector and contributing to its growth and competitiveness.


Opportunity for startups: 3 Open Challenges for the global Foodtech ecosystem


Among the main challenges identified in the food tech sector, ICONE and Eatable Adventures have identified three key opportunities for global Foodtech startups to pioneer innovative solutions, foster increased local agri-food productivity, and drive economic growth in the region:

  • Transforming Tropical Fruit Production in Cambodia: The challenge aims to discover new solutions for enhancing the storage, delivery, and quality assurance of tropical fruits, particularly mangos, and bananas. The goal is to improve the current agricultural production practices and unlock new international market opportunities. The challenge looks for shelf-life extension technologies, innovative solutions in tropical fruits production and processing, as well as B2B Marketplaces for agricultural products.
  • Boosting agri-food global business relations in Cambodia: The challenge focuses on identifying new methodologies to promote trade exchanges and strengthening relations between producers, the industry, and the global market. The objective is to enhance Cambodia's competitiveness within the agri-food sector. Potential solutions encompass B2B global marketplaces, innovative traceability technologies, and digital innovations that facilitate connections between farmers, the industry, and buyers
  • Expanding Cambodia’s portfolio of premium products: This area of interest concentrates on the introduction of high-value-added products achieved through advanced food processing techniques and specialized cultivation of high-value crops, such as vanilla. The challenge seeks new cultivation and processing techniques and new high-value crop cultivation and processing methods.

Foodtech startups with innovative technology looking to participate in a globally impactful project can seize this opportunity by submitting their applications through the website.

Sigma operates in 18 countries throughout North and South America and Europe. With more than 65 plants and 184 distribution centers, the company produces, markets, and distributes quality foods including packaged meats, cheese, yogurt, and other refrigerated and frozen foods

Innovation Program: Tastech

Tastech is a program that aims to find the most innovative and disruptive startups and scaleups in the world to collaborate with Sigma. During the first edition of Tastech by Sigma, the finalist projects had access to financial support for the development of the pilots, the company’s infrastructure, and the knowledge of its specialists to develop their disruptive ideas, with the aim of improving process automation, developing new foods and ingredients, and identifying new business models in food production, distribution, and marketing. Sigma has launched the third edition of its Tastech by Sigma accelerator program. With its open innovation programs and its calls for projects, Sigma is committed to promoting the development of technological solutions, products, and services to generate impact and improve the customer experience



The results

More than 900 startups from 41 countries have participated in Tastech, which has given place to investments, a distribution contract, and other collaboration agreements in the process. Since 2019, Tastetch has continued collaborating with the entrepreneurial ecosystem and promoting high-potential projects in the food industry.


“Through Tastech, Sigma opens its doors to entrepreneurs from around the world to share their knowledge, make pilot tests jointly, and implement new technologies and solutions that boost the future of the food industry. We are excited to find new ideas and support the talent of the most innovative and disruptive food startups” Daniel Alanis, Chief Growth Officer at Sigma



Seize the opportunity to elevate your company through open innovation. Contact us today.

Founded in 1969, Pascual, a leader in the food sector, has a range of more than 200 products, 6 factories, 27 local offices, and more than 2,000 employees in the 63 countries in which it operates. Pascual advocated from the beginning for the creation of a branch of the company dedicated to Corporate Venturing: Pascual Innoventures.

Startup Program: Mylkcubator

In 2020, Pascual and Eatable Adventures launched a collaborative challenge dedicated to international startups active in the production of solutions for the plant-based dairy sector. In May 2021, Mylkcubator was launched, the first incubator in the world to specialize in the development of innovation projects for the dairy sector.

In 2022 the second edition was launched, and 2023 welcomed Mylkcubator’s third edition “More than Mylk” which accelerates cutting-edge startups focused on revolutionizing the food industry, spanning Alternative Dairy, Alt. Egg, Coffee, Lipids, Cocoa, Sodium & Sweetener Replacements, and Functional Ingredients. 4 early-stage startups from different continents are chosen for these programs, and the main Venture Capital of the sector gets together to gain access to the Mylkcubator deal flow.


Mylkcubator more than milk

The results

The Mylkcubator startup ecosystem (first and second cohorts) has generated a total value of over $107M. Mylkcubator startups have raised a total of $14.4M in investment since inception, reflecting the success of this incubation programme. The editions of Mylkcubator have been incredibly successful, positioning Pascual worldwide as an innovative and cutting-edge company.


“The quality of the startups selected in the first edition has been amazing and shows us that this is clearly the way to go. The visibility of these projects, as well as the investment rounds they are receiving, is a sign that the industry is prepared for this technological transition.”Gabriel Pascual, director of Pascual Innoventures



Seize the opportunity to elevate your company through open innovation. Contact us today.

Startups Spain Foodtech

The future of food is already here: 4 Spanish startups are at the forefront of the new food revolution.

According to the data from the Eatable Adventures study “The State of Foodtech,” the investment in Spain in this sector reached 268 million euros in 2022, marking a growth of 9.3% compared to the previous year.

This sustained growth has been driven by key initiatives such as the Spain Foodtech Startups’ Program, a “Country” program led by Eatable Adventures in collaboration with ICEX Spain Export and Investments and CNTA (National Center for Food Technology and Safety). Its mission is to support the construction and development of robust Spanish startups in the foodtech field, capable of competing globally and becoming a reference in the industry, positioning Spain as a technological leader. The program stands out for its commitment to a 10-million-euro investment over the next 3 years.

Spain Foodtech is supported by leading companies in the food industry, such as Alianza Team, Mahou San Miguel, Pascual Innoventures, and Sigma. These companies have joined this initiative to contribute their experience in open innovation, with the purpose of accelerating the implementation of disruptive innovation models and providing knowledge about key aspects related to the industrial processes of the agri-food sector, industry challenges, and market needs. This approach aims to boost the scaling and expansion of startups, establishing synergies to generate high-impact solutions in the agri-food value chain.


During the program call, more than 120 applications were received from all over Spain, and after a rigorous evaluation process, four pioneering startups were selected:

  • Bio2coat: Food waste is one of the major challenges in the food industry, along with reducing single-use plastic packaging. Bio2coat promotes an innovative solution that addresses both challenges through its 100% natural coatings that extend the shelf life of foods like fruits and vegetables, allowing for their consumption in a fresh state for longer periods.
  • Néboda: The agriculture of the future will be more efficient and sustainable, ensuring the quality of crops for future generations. This startup has developed a revolutionary automation technology applied to vertical farming, enabling a high-density, low-cost cultivation system. This system includes the use of an automated robot whose technology optimizes production times, maintains high-quality standards, and avoids possible contaminations.
  • Mmmico: In the traditional food industry, most food colorings are of synthetic origin, posing a potential health risk to people and the planet. This startup has adopted a highly scientific approach that combines techniques such as fermentation, directed evolution, and artificial intelligence to develop new natural ingredients that substitute their synthetic analogs in record time and cost.
  • Poseidona: The oceans are severely affected by the depletion of marine resources, pollution, and the impact of climate change. This startup, led by a team of women, has succeeded in transforming algae production waste into innovative ingredients and proteins, revolutionizing the current production system and generating a positive impact on the marine ecosystem.


The selected companies have stood out for their ability to efficiently address critical challenges for the sector, offering innovative and sustainable solutions throughout the entire food value chain. After completing the acceleration program, startups will have the opportunity to present their projects to national and international investors during the Demo Day.

“Spain Foodtech has proven to be a springboard for participating startups. An example of this is the international success achieved by our Alumni like Cocuus or Moa Foodtech,” noted Mila Valcárcel, Managing Partner of Eatable Adventures. “Our deep experience in the agri-food value chain, supported by a unique methodology, access to the global ecosystem, and the support of prestigious corporate partners, allows us to position Spanish Agrifoodtech startups on the global stage. Spain Foodtech has become a global reference program, and its success has allowed us to export this model to other international markets. An example of this is our national acceleration programs for Colombia and Italy, where we collaborate hand in hand with national and local institutions to boost the development of their entrepreneurial ecosystems in this field.”

“The Spain Foodtech program, created by Eatable Adventures, has a multiplier effect throughout the food chain and is fully aligned with the international positioning objectives of our industry promoted by ICEX. Its transformative capacity and the rigorous selection and support process that this project offers to startups are undoubtedly the best guarantees to consolidate them and turn our foodtech ecosystem into an engine of growth and innovation,” said María Naranjo, Director of the Food Industry at this organization.

“At CNTA, we are proud to be the technological partner of this program, collaborating closely with startups to enhance the development of high-level technological solutions. Our commitment is to provide these companies with the tools and knowledge necessary to achieve their innovation and quality goals in the agri-food industry, thus driving the success of their projects,” commented Estefanía Erro, Director of Marketing and Innovation at CNTA.


  • Mylkcubator’s third edition accelerates cutting-edge startups focused on revolutionizing the food industry, spanning Alternative Dairy, Alt. Egg, Coffee, Lipids, Cocoa, Sodium & Sweetener Replacements, and Functional Ingredients.
  • The Mylkcubator ecosystem has generated a total value of over $107M. The selected startups have raised a total of $14.4M in investment since inception, reflecting the success of the program.
  • Pascual Innoventures currently invested $1.6M in four international startups: Novo Dairy, Zero Cow Factory, Ergo BioScience, and Maolac.


Madrid, 19 September 2023 – In a constantly changing world with pressing environmental concerns, the food industry is facing numerous challenges. The need to adopt more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices is undeniable. In this context, Pascual Innoventures, the Corporate Venture unit of the leading Spanish manufacturer of dairy products and beverages, Pascual, is proud to announce, in collaboration with the leading Foodtech accelerator Eatable Adventures, the launch of Mylkcubator: More Than Mylk. Mylkcubator is the first global program dedicated to advancing cellular agriculture technologies and fermentation techniques in the alternative food industry

After two successful editions of the program, which accelerated the most disruptive startups in the global dairy sector, the company has decided to pursue an ambitious approach for this third edition. This involves expanding the scope of the program to explore new technologies related to Pascual’s strategic business areas and creating a more significant impact within the alternative food industry sector

Mylkcubator: More than Mylk not only focuses on disruptive technologies for the generation of biosynthetic dairy products but also explores new technologies with an impact on tangential areas for Pascual such as Alt. Egg, Alt. Coffee, Alt. Lipids, Alt. Cocoa, Sodium & Sweetener Replacements, and Functional Ingredients.


A journey of success up to this point, creating a $107 million ecosystem

The program’s first cohort was successfully launched in 2021, followed by the second edition in 2022, which featured the selection of startups Miruku, Maolac, Ergo Bioscience, and PFx Biotech. These selected startups have since emerged as international leaders in their respective segments, attracting interest from investors worldwide and establishing successful collaborations with Pascual Innoventures. Pascual Innoventures has invested $1.6 million in four international startups to develop the milk of the future: Novo Dairy, Zero Cow Factory, Ergo BioScience, and Maolac. All four were participants in the first and second editions of Mylkcubator.

The Mylkcubator startup ecosystem (first and second cohorts) has generated a total value of over $107M. Mylkcubator startups have raised a total of $14.4M in investment since inception, reflecting the success of this incubation programme.

In the words of Gabriel Pascual, Director of Pascual Innoventures “The growth of investment in this sector has already surpassed five billion euros, according to Dealroom data. Additionally, Mylkcubator’s startup ecosystem from the first and second editions has generated a total value of over 100 million euros. The participating startups have raised over 12 million euros in investment since their inception, reflecting the success of this incubation program”

On the other hand, José Luis Cabañero, Founder and CEO of Eatable Adventures, remarked “In 2020, when we first conceived this project, the landscape was vastly different with only a handful of startups operating in this space. Despite limited investment traction, we sensed the growth potential in the alternative dairy ecosystem. This inspired Mylkcubator’s creation, and today, two years later, we’ve witnessed our predictions materialize in a more mature market, with some of the emerging players being startups from our program and a large interest from investors worldwide. We’re thrilled to partner once again with Pascual Innoventures for this new ambitious version, taking the technological revolution in alternative food to the next level.

The call officially opens today, and interested startups can submit their applications by applying on the program’s website at

Food safety is a critical aspect of the food industry, encompassing measures taken to ensure that food products are safe for consumption. It involves monitoring, handling, and storing food in a way that prevents contamination and minimizes the risk of foodborne illnesses. In today’s world, technology plays a crucial role in revolutionizing food safety practices. Several startups are at the forefront of this transformation, utilizing innovative technologies to enhance food safety across various domains.

This article explores startups in the realm of food safety. It delves into the core principles of food safety and how they apply to different facets of the food industry, from production and processing to packaging and distribution. These startups are not just shaping the future of food; they are safeguarding it, one technological breakthrough at a time. 


Agree Net
Agree Net

Agree NET 🇮🇹 is an Italian startup dedicated to advancing food safety in the realm of fruit and vegetable packing. Their focus lies in developing innovative, bio-based, and biodegradable materials for food packaging, revolutionizing the way of store and transport fresh produce. By utilizing by-products of agriculture, we craft sustainable materials that extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, reducing food waste and the reliance on disposable plastics. Their flagship products, Ally and ActivePack, are tailored solutions that significantly increase shelf life, promoting eco-friendliness and compliance with international sustainability standards.




AgNext 🇮🇳 harnesses technology to ensure food safety from the beginning: the farm. It is a fast-growing AgTech company that aims to solve quality and trust in food value chains by making them safer, transparent, and fairer. With the digitalization of food quality assessment as its core focus, it offers a uniquely integrated, AI-driven SaaS platform to agribusinesses for automated and instant food quality results. AgNext is bringing trust, speed & transparency to the agriculture value chain using AI-based food assessment technologies.


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Oscillum 🇪🇸 is a Spanish startup that plays a pivotal role in ensuring food safety with its cutting-edge smart labeling solutions. These labels not only provide real-time monitoring for quality control but also help optimize logistics and reduce wastage in the food supply chain. By allowing producers to recirculate products efficiently and maintain stringent quality standards, Oscillum significantly contributes to enhancing food safety. This technology is adaptable and extends its impact beyond the food industry, making it a powerful tool for ensuring the safety and quality of various consumer products.




Prevera 🇮🇱 is an Israeli startup on a mission to transform food safety into an asset. They’re combatting the challenges in the food industry, where harmful preservatives and ineffective methods compromise safety and shelf-life. Their innovative solution uses Food Protection Proteins, inspired by natural antimicrobial proteins, to enhance food safety. Prevera’s unique mixture of natural essential amino acids forms a powerful antimicrobial protein that protects food from relevant pathogens. When digested, the Prevera protein is broken back into original natural essential amino acids that provide essential nutrients while affecting our microbiome. By replacing harmful preservatives, their approach not only ensures safety but also significantly reduces food waste.


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TAG ONE 🇺🇸 is a groundbreaking Traceability Management System delivering comprehensive transparency to the food and natural products supply chain, from seed to sale. It specializes in blockchain-based traceability solutions, bolstering transparency throughout the food supply chain. By enhancing traceability, TAG ONE ensures that food safety incidents can be swiftly identified and addressed, reducing risks for all stakeholders.




Bio2coat, 🇪🇸 an alumnus of  Spain FoodTech, Eatable Adventures accelerator, focuses on enhancing food safety through innovative packaging solutions. They develop biopolymer coatings and films that act as barriers against contaminants, extending the shelf life of products and minimizing food waste. These sustainable packaging innovations contribute to safer food storage and transportation. Their products are 100% natural, reduce plastic consumption, and fight waste. 


To sum up, through innovation, technology, and collaboration, these companies are making strides toward a safer and more secure food ecosystem. Their contributions span pathogen detection, packaging solutions, crop management, freshness preservation, and transparent supply chains, ultimately safeguarding the well-being of consumers and the integrity of the global food industry.

The concept of the circular economy stands at the forefront of sustainability, with a mission to curb waste and optimize the use of existing resources. It’s about “closing the loop” on various elements, like products, services, waste, materials, water, and energy. Unlike the linear economy, the circular economy introduces a nonlinear model that champions reuse, recycling, and regeneration. This innovative approach aims to slash waste generation and alleviate the strain on our natural resources. The circular economy isn’t just about bolstering environmental sustainability; it’s a catalyst for economic efficiency by sparking business opportunities around product revaluation and responsible resource management.

In the food sector, the circular economy translates into cutting down food waste across the entire chain, from production to consumption. It encourages repurposing byproducts and transforming waste into valuable resources, such as creating compost or harnessing energy. Local production models and regenerative agriculture take the spotlight to shrink our environmental footprint. Additionally, the sale of imperfect or soon-to-expire foods is promoted, combating premature disposal. In this paradigm, consumers become key players, making informed choices to minimize waste within their homes.


The Shift to Circularity – Why is the linear economy undergoing this transformation toward circularity?

The answer lies in the pressing environmental and economic challenges that have arisen from the linear model’s disregard for sustainability. The circular economy offers a promising solution, advocating for efficiency, longevity, and the preservation of vital resources. It is an acknowledgment that a thriving society hinges upon a holistic equilibrium with our planet.


Key Principles of Circularity

At the heart of the circular economy lie four guiding principles: reduce, reuse, recycle, and regenerate. These principles converge to challenge the traditional linear production-consumption paradigm and pave the way for a circular shift, where the value of products and materials is extended through sustained use.

  • Reduce: A conscious effort to use resources more judiciously, curtailing the excesses of production and consumption.
  • Reuse: The revival of objects for their original function or other purposes, essential to the circular economy’s mission of multiple lifecycles for products.
  • Recycle: A transformative process that turns waste, raw materials, and byproducts into fresh products, reintegrating them into the cycle of utility.
  • Regenerate: A commitment to rejuvenate natural resources and ecosystems, restoring balance by replenishing what has been utilized.


5 Startups: Pioneering Circular Practices and Innovations



MOA, is a Spanish forward-thinking startup, that embodies circularity by up-cycling food by-products through innovative methods. Functioning as a B2B platform, they leverage food by-product valorization using optimized fermentation, aided by their in-house artificial intelligence tool.  They use food production waste and by-products as essential resources for their fermentation process, introducing a novel protein source abundant in nutritional value while significantly minimizing resource consumption. Leveraging biotechnology, they craft sustainable ingredients that optimize the efficiency of protein generation, showcasing a commitment to eco-friendly production methods. This process not only curtails waste but also champions sustainable ingredients that substitute animal and plant-based proteins. By reintroducing these ingredients into the food chain, MOA reduces both resource extraction and the environmental repercussions of food industry waste. Their approach underscores their commitment to circular principles by repurposing materials, using cutting-edge technology, and contributing to a healthier planet.




Agrain is a Danish startup that embodies circularity through its innovative approach. The company uses untapped resources, specifically brewer’s spent grain, to create everyday products. This spent grain, which is a by-product of beer and whisky production, is collected from Danish organic microbreweries, thus reducing waste. The production process involves transforming the raw brewer’s spent grain into flour through a gentle and sustainable method that emits 36% less CO2 compared to traditional organic wheat flour production. By repurposing this grain that would otherwise go to waste, Agrain not only provides consumers with delicious and sustainable options but also addresses food waste and environmental concerns. This innovative circular model showcases the potential of turning a once-discarded resource into a valuable contributor to a more sustainable future.


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Orange Fiber

Orange Fiber is an Italian startup championing circularity through its innovative approach to textiles. By using citrus fruit waste, known as “pastazzo,” which constitutes a significant portion of fresh fruit weight after juice extraction, the company transforms this waste into yarn and fabric. This circular process not only mitigates waste but also contributes to a more environmentally friendly future for the textile industry. The startup’s focus on a transparent supply chain, trademarked products, and a dedicated community of sustainable fashion enthusiasts further reinforces its commitment to circular principles. By creatively repurposing waste into valuable textile materials, this startup demonstrates how circularity and AI technology can harmonize to shape a more eco-conscious and sustainable textile industry.


SimpliRoute is a Chilean startup implementing circularity through the integration of AI technology to reshape logistics operations. By optimizing delivery routes and enhancing operational efficiency, the startup simplifies processes and enhances delivery outcomes for businesses globally. Their mission to democratize logistics intelligence aligns with circular principles by making sophisticated solutions accessible to companies worldwide, fostering a more streamlined and sustainable delivery ecosystem. With a strong commitment to innovation, SimpliRoute is not only transforming logistics but also contributing to the evolution of a smarter, more efficient, and globally connected industry




Aroundrs is an Italian startup driving circularity in the realm of food packaging by harnessing smart, reusable containers to combat the prevalent use-and-throw culture. Through its innovative app, Aroundrs offers a solution to the environmental impact caused by single-use food packaging. Their containers, which are suitable for various needs including take-out and delivery, are designed for up to 200 uses before recycling. This embodies the concept of circularity by extending the lifecycle of each container and drastically reducing waste. The startup envisions a future where waste is non-existent, and materials are endlessly reusable. By transitioning from the linear purchase-consume-pollute model, Aroundrs is pioneering a cultural shift towards a sustainable and circular food packaging approach. This transformation reduces the carbon footprint while ensuring convenience for both businesses and consumers, echoing the principles of a circular economy


In conclusion, the circular economy represents a paradigm shift that holds immense potential within the food industry. Departing from the linear approach, this transformative model emphasizes resource efficiency, waste reduction, and innovative reuse strategies. By redefining the trajectory of products and materials, the circular economy fosters a more sustainable and resilient food ecosystem.

Through the exploration of innovative startups, we’ve witnessed the tangible impact of this approach. From turning food waste into valuable resources to promoting local production and reimagining supply chains, these startups are redefining what’s possible within the circular food economy. By embracing the principles of the circular economy, they not only tackle pressing environmental challenges but also carve out new avenues for economic growth and societal progress.