Tag Archive for: spain foodtech

Webinar ICEX

Webinar: New ingredients- shaping the future of food from Spain

WEBINAR

25/10/2022. Online 

Free entry, registration required. 

9:00AM CET

18:00PM  CET

 

ICEX Spain Trade & Investment is hosting a webinar on “New ingredients: shaping the future of food from Spain” featuring five Spanish startups, and one of the leading technological centers, that are disrupting the food industry by using the most innovative technologies to create the foods of the future, in the most sustainable way.

WHY PARTICIPATE

Today, technology in the food industry is an essential part of food production processes. As food is becoming more wellness-oriented, consumers are increasingly opting for foods and beverages that, in addition to providing satisfaction and pleasure in eating, also offer health functions or benefits. To meet this demand, entrepreneurs and large industries are in the need of innovating and producing certain functional foods, and in some cases introducing new ingredients to the market which have specific health attributes through new technologies such as cellular agriculture, fermentation and artificial intelligence.

This initiative aims to strengthen the network of the Spanish foodtech industry, to showcase it to the world, and highlight success stories and interesting projects from other countries to enhance collaboration.

AGENDA

Where Via online
When To ensure that you do not miss this chance to learn more about the Spanish food tech ecosystem, we are offering you two time slots at 9AM and 6PM CET.

9.00AM CET Webinar #1: Shaping the future of food from Spain

18.00PM CET Webinar #2: Shaping the future of food from Spain

Registration Registration is completely free. Please register at the following link:

9.00 AM CET: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6LQmKDQjQiSOS-abCzoKog

18.00PM CET: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-PexbwSjTiGcQN6paT8l_A

SPEAKERS

Bread Free

Daniel Gomez Bravo, CEO – Bread Free  

Bread Free:  Bread free is a startup formed by young entrepreneurs who, through an innovative process, have managed to process cereals with gluten to separate this component from the rest of the food so that it can be consumed by people with celiac disease. 

Bio:  Daniel Gómez-Bravo is the CEO and technology developer of BREAD FREE S.L. He is a graduate in Biotechnology, Master in Health Information Engineering, and has experience in Research Centers such as the Center for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics. Daniel is fully involved in the use of Biotechnology to solve a real problem in the market, and a primary need of the gluten-free population. He has an economic, business and legal background backed by his training at the European Business and Innovation Center of Navarra (CEIN). With international prospection, he seeks to direct the company’s technology towards foreign markets, and thus be able to help as many people as possible.

 

The Good Cubes

Manuel Diez de Oñate De Toro, CEO – The Good Cubes (Origin Algae

Origin Algae: With the help of technology, Origin Algae provide the means and resources necessary to start producing spirulina, or to optimize your crops in an intelligent way.

Bio: Manuel graduated in industrial engineering at the University of Seville, where he began his career in the algae sector working in a spin-off of the university where he studied processes to make the production of algae more efficient in a sustainable way. After working for this company and for the Air Force as an intern in the Quality Department, he decided to take the leap to Sweden to study a master’s degree in business and entrepreneurship. At the end of this process, Manuel had already begun to undertake projects in real estate and music, but it was from the end of 2021 when he decided to undertake his current project focused on food based on algae for human consumption, Origin Algae (The Good Cubes).

Ingredalia

Miguel Ángel Cubero Márquez, CEO – Ingredalia 

Ingredalia develops and produce natural functional ingredients from plant by-products of agri-food companies for use in the food, cosmetic, nutraceutical and pet industries. With sustainability and circular economy as the cornerstones of our activity, Ingredalia obtain, natural functional ingredients, extracts, and healthy additives. 

Bio: He has developed his professional career as a technician, advancing from the position of laboratory manager to R&D Director at Indulleida for more than 10 years. He has been part of the Technical Management and held other management positions in other companies, such as aroma companies and other food industries; he has also been working as an associate professor at the University of Lleida, as well as visiting professor from 2008 to the present. He has developed and led various R&D projects, directing the creation of new lines and following the industrial development of the companies in which he has worked. Therefore, he has extensive experience in moving from an R&D project to an industrial reality. He has been the full-time General Director of the company since February 2020, assuming full responsibility for the fulfillment of the business plan. 

Sanygran

Roselyne Chane, Director – Sanygran 

Sanygran produce extruded food based on legumes and cereals, highlighting their nutritional and environmental benefits. Their vegetable protein has now become the basis of all our products due to its protein content, source of fiber, low level of saturated fats, as well as being gluten and lactose-free and manufactured in Spain. All this, without forgetting the positive impact it has on our health and that of the environment, by using less water resources than animal protein and reducing greenhouse gases from livestock farming, while promoting biodiversity and animal subsistence.

Bio: With +18 years of managing experience In Sales, Marketing, Innovation and Business development in the Food industry, Roselyne is now the Managing Director of Alimentos Sanygran, a Spanish Vegtech company specialized in plant-based foods and ingredients.

She believes in spending her time, energy and money in projects that impact positively on the planet and its people and this is why she also invests in foodtech, biotech and renewable energy companies.

Tebrio

Adriana Casillas, CEO – TEBRIO 

Tebrio: Spanish biotechnology company that is building an 80.000 square meter insect farm – the largest of its kind in the world, which, in line with our pilot operations, will breed and transform mealworms into 3 main co-products: (i) amino rich, sustainable premium protein for petfood, fishmeal and animal feed, (ii) tech powered biofertilizer for plant nutrition and (iii) chitosan for biodegradable plastic manufacturing. 

Bio: Adriana Casillas is CEO and Co-Funder of Tebrio. During her professional life, she has developed successfully different technological projects both in USA and Spain, related to industries such as art or food. She is also actively involved in interactions with the European Commission, EFSA and other European stakeholders for the development of the insect industry in Europe through her position as President of IPIFF, the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed, based in Brussels. Adriana  holds a Bachelor’s degree in classical and contemporary music, MBA and Executive Master in Agri-Food Business Management from ESMUC, Johns Hopkins University and the IME Business School of the University of Salamanca, respectively.

AZTI

Carolina Najar, Food Market Director – AZTI

Azti conducts strategic and applied research in an international context, providing comprehensive and innovative solutions to its clients. AZTI’s mission is to transform science into sustainable and healthy development for present and future societies.

Bio Entrepreneur and business woman specialized in food industry and gastronomy of the national, European, and latinoamerican markets. She has experience in the GMCP (Gross Market Consumption Products) sector, where she has held different positions within the management team in the commercial and marketing areas. Foodtech investor. Teacher at Cámarabilbao University Business School. Founder of Baiba, a consultancy specialized in food, mentor al EIT Food and other incubation and acceleration programs. Since 2021 she is the director of food market at the technological center AZTI. 

 

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FONDO EUROPEO DE DESARROLLO REGIONAL (FEDER).                                      A way of making Europe
This service/activity is eligible for co-financing from Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER)

 

Meet the Alumni: Le Room Service

 

The impact of room service on hotels is a management problem since it affects the flow of food and beverage services in hotels that offer room service as well as the burden it places on staff and hotels that do not have kitchen facilities.

Le Room Service aims to improve the hotel offer and increase sales by making room service itself more attractive, adding value to the hotel sector. You’ll discover their secrets and learn about their experience in the Eatable Adventures Acceleration Program as you read on.

 

  1. How do you manage to add value to the hotel sector from Le Room Service? What are the services you offer?

 

Le Room Service is a company specialized in outsourcing the F&B service of hotel rooms, apart-hotels and tourist apartments.

We were born in 2017 with the aim of revolutionizing the hospitality sector by offering the cost-effective alternative to room service through operational innovation and specialization in gastronomic trends. As of today, we operate with more than 300 Hotel establishments among which stand out groups such as Meliá, NH, Vincci, Iberoestar, Turim or Barceló in Seville, Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon.

We focus on bringing value to the hotel sector in 5 aspects: improved profitability, new customer experience, disruptive concept, standardization of processes and increased valuation, allowing hotels to focus on their core business.

 

  1. Why did you decide to join EA’s Acceleration Program?

 

At that time we were in a very early stage of the project, but we already had the first positive results that validated the viability of the business model.

We saw Eatable Adventures as a great opportunity to introduce my company to the startup ecosystem and exponentially accelerate its growth. Additionally, being able to rely on corporate mentors from Grupo Meliá and Banco Sabadell increased the chances of success.

 

  1. How has Eatable Adventures helped you achieve your goals?

 

Eatable Adventures helped us in different ways to professionalize our project.

Firstly, we had an initial mentoring phase where we drew up a medium-term plan, set goals and followed up on them. As part of this plan, Le Room Service aimed to obtain an investment round for national expansion, which later culminated in the opening of its second location (after Seville), Madrid.

Secondly, Eatable Adventures opened doors for us through its network of contacts. With partners like Meliá as well as with investment funds and angel investors. Thanks to all this, we got our first round of investment at the end of the program.

 

  1. What is the most valuable advice José Luis has given you during our Acceleration Program?

 

First of all, we would like to thank José Luis for his involvement and trust in the Le Room Service project. He has always followed our evolution very closely, offering, from his experience, the impulse and stimulus that the startup required in each phase.

More than a specific advice, we keep his mentality to think big, eliminating the barriers that we could have and transmitting the limitless scalability that our project has.

 

  1. How do you see Le Room Service in the medium/long term?

 

At the moment we are immersed and focused on our international expansion, we have just opened in Lisbon and we are working on future openings in Berlin and Paris. We have outlined an ambitious expansion plan and, in the next 3 years we want to be offering our services in the main European capitals.

In addition, we are also growing horizontally in services; we no longer only offer Room Service, but we are now a more comprehensive solution for Food & Beverage departments. We have the possibility to complete the hotel’s offer with breakfast, events or lobby services.

We are also rebranding to adapt to the new positioning that the business requires at this stage. Using our new exclusive packaging, we can operate without barriers in 5-star hotels and raise the brand’s perception.

There are many changes happening right now, and we are determined to successfully navigate them. Among other things, we owe our success to the experience and know-how acquired over the years and to the invaluable support provided by Eatable Adventures.

Get to know more of our Alumni here.

Meet the Alumni: Moon Water

Moon DrinksNacho Alonso, CEO and Founder of Moon Drinks, was hooked on traditional soft drinks for years and, fed up with not finding a healthy alternative on the market, decided to become an entrepreneur and make healthy soft drinks a reality. “The best way to predict the future is… to invent it,” he says. That’s how he founded Moon Drinks SL., the organic and vegan soft drinks company he is running today.

Find out how Eatable Adventures Accelerator Program helped him scale his business, what advice he has retained, and where he sees Moon Water going in the future.

 

  1. When and for what purpose was Moonwater born?

The project was born at the end of 2017 and has evolved a lot over the years. Our purpose is to contribute to improving the quality of life of people and the planet by creating healthy and sustainable alternatives to traditional beverages.

 

Traditional soft drinks have not changed their formulas for decades nor adapting or incorporating industry advances and consumer demands. Traditional drinks still rule the market, but they have become obsolete. Consumers are unaware of the alternatives that may exist, and therefore need to be informed about them.

 

  1. How did you come up with the formula for your soft drinks, and how does it differ from other soft drinks?

It has been a very long and laborious process. The current formula wasn’t found until May 2021 (almost 4 of work). We have launched four versions of our product on the market, and it was consumers and customers who validated it. Because of this, you could say the product was not created by us, but by the consumer only two red lines: we do not compromise health nor sustainability, which are core values for us.

 

As opposed to traditional soft drinks, we use 100% natural and organic ingredients, with very little sugar and low-calories. Our bubbles are soft, pleasant to the taste, and our flavors are not the traditional ones, we offer innovative flavor combinations that are truly delicious. Our business is to provide new experiences for consumers. In addition, our products are packaged exclusively with aluminum, the most sustainable material for packaging now a days .

 

  1. How did the Eatable Adventures Accelerator Program help you scale your project?

The experience was truly BRUTAL, completely changing the way we viewed the industry, better understanding the global market, and providing us with the tools we needed to reach our goals. And I can’t forget the most important thing, an amazing team on a professional and personal level.

 

  1. How do you see the future of Moonwater?

Our company is called Moon Water, we started this “revolution” with the soft drink category by launching Moonwater, but we are developing new products. We have already created an organic energy drink that is a healthy alternative to energy drinks that we plan to launch this year.

 

While we continue to work on new products and trends, we will also strive to improve existing products, incorporating all the new technologies, both at the production level and in packaging, and improving the entire value chain.

 

We are very happy with the evolution, we can’t believe it. The company is growing fast in Spain but also abroad, with a strong presence in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Qatar, etc. Our goal is to bring Moonwater to every corner of the world.

 

  1. What is the most valuable advice José Luis has given you during our Acceleration Program?

That the product had to be at the peak of our project, which is why we will never be completely satisfied with our products, because we are firm believers that everything can be improved, no matter how good it is.

Cocuus

Spanish startup Cocuus raises €2,5M in Funding to scale its 3D bioprinting technology for the production of alternative proteins

This round was led by Big Idea Ventures, Cargill Ventures, Eatable Adventures and Tech Transfer Agrifood.

The Spanish startup Cocuus has raised 2,5 million euros in its Pre Series A funding round for its innovative process for producing plant or cell- based animal protein food analogs. The company achieved this round after completing Eatable Adventures acceleration program, one of the top three globalaccelerators for foodtech startups.

The round was led by Big Idea Ventures, the global alternative protein fund, the U.S. multinational Cargill Ventures, the Spanish accelerator Eatable Adventures and Tech Transfer Agrifood. With a capital injection of this size, the startup can scale its business model and expand into other international markets, enabling them to utilize their disruptive 3D bioprinting and robotics technologies to create more sustainable and nutritious food products.

Patxi Larumbe, CEO and founder of Cocuus states “We are very proud to have attracted the interest of international investors with this round of financing. Thanks to this capital injection we will be able to bring our technology within reach of corporations that want to print proteins on an industrial scale”. In addition, the Founder and Managing General Partner of Big Idea Ventures, Andrew D Ive, also highlights “At Big Idea Ventures, we invest in technology which impacts the alternative protein industry’s entire value chain. Cocuus’ technology addresses a major pain point of structured plant- and cell-based meat production methods scalability. We are thrilled to support this innovative team and we look forward to
seeing their scalable food technology making an impact across the world.”

On the other hand, José Luis Cabañero, CEO and founder of Eatable Adventures notes, “The Spanish foodtech startups’ ecosystem is consolidating very quickly, attracting major investors and international corporations. Through Eatable Adventures, we offer our services to startups and corporations around the globe to accelerate the process of transformation and innovation in the food value chain”.

As Cabañero points out, this current environmental and world population scenario calls for a rethinking of production methods to achieve a much more sustainable and efficient food system. According to FAO data, in 2050, in order to feed a population of 9.1 billion, food production will have to increase by 70% and meat production by more than 200 million tons.

Cocuus, along with MOA Foodtech, Proppos, H2hydroponics, and Innomy have been selected as finalists for the first edition of Spain Foodtech, the acceleration program of Eatable Adventures supported by the National Center for Technology and Food Safety (CNTA) and ICEX Spain Export and Investment.

Cocuus has been awarded by the international Quality Innovation Award (QIA) in the category of Innovation in Microenterprises and Startups, after winning the 2021 national award.

Food 4 Future – Foodtech World Summit in Bilbao

Food 4 Future

Food 4 Future– Expo FoodTech (#F4F2022) the international reference forum where food and beverage industry professionals learn about the latest trends, solutions, and technologies to optimize and innovate throughout the value chain, will take place from May 17 to 19 in Bilbao. 

This year, Food 4 Future celebrates its second edition which is expected to attract more than 7,000 congress participants and 253 exhibiting brands. A meeting point for innovation managers, IT managers, marketing managers, and CEOS of the food industry, emphasizes the major challenges of the industry: sustainability, food safety, and the digitization and automation of industrial production processes. 

Food 4 Future encourages the transfer of knowledge and experience among international professionals and experts, including renowned scientists and researchers, startups that are redesigning the food industry, top chefs, and representatives of the public administration. Food 4 Future, organized by NEBEXT and AZTI, has the support of the Basque Government, the City Council of Bilbao, the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, the BASQUE TRADE, ICEX, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Government of Spain; and the associations and collaborators that are leaders in this industry as HAZI, NEIKER, ELIKA, EIT Food, ILSI Europe, Food for Life, SPRI, Eatable Adventures, SanTelmo Business School or IASP (international association of science parks and innovation areas). 

Agenda

The congress will feature more than 70 sessions and vertical forums for each sector of the agri-food industry, which will focus the debate on the major challenges facing the industry, with special emphasis on the application of automation and robotics, the transition to the new Industry 4.0, and content related to sustainable and healthy food.

As strategic partners in this event, we would like to highlight that Eatable Adventures’ Ecosystem Manager & Innovation Consultant Paula Álvarez Ameijeiras will moderate a round table where leaders in the industry such as Anthony Finbow, CEO of Eagle Genomics, Charis Galanakis, R&I Director of Galanakis Laboratories & Mathew Gorton from New Castle Unversity will be discussing “R&I for sustainable and healthy food systems” on May 17th at 12.00h. 

Furthermore, Eatable Adventures’ ​​Managing Partner & Co-Founder Mila Valcárcel will be speaking in a session about “Building a strong global foodtech ecosystem from Spain” on May 18th at 12.45h. 

For more details about the Agenda of Food 4 Future Summit visit their webpage.

 

Meet the EAA Alumni: Innomy

With the growing demand from the population to eat more and more sustainably, fungi-based meat is one of the new alternatives being pursued by many companies, with the aim of mimicking the taste and texture of real meat. 

Innomy, an Argentinan-based startup located in Spain, is using fungal tissue cultures combined with precision fermentation technology to create complex structures that replicate the fibrous and tender consistency of meat. Created in laboratories, fungi-based meat relies on the mycelium, which is a network of fine filaments that are similar to the muscles of animals. The company modifies the shape, color, and flavor of the filamentous structures in mycelial matrices to make products that taste like meat.

During our interview with Francisco Kuhar, CSO & Technology Partner of Innomy, whose company participated in our Accelerator Program in 2020, he explained how the program helped the company grow, the reasons they chose the fungi-based meat to create their product, and the best advice they received from our CEO, Jose Luis Cabañero. Read on to learn more about Innomy’s experience during the Eatable Adventures Accelerator Program.

 

What stage was Innomy at when you joined the Eatable Adventures Acceleration program? Can you tell us about the growth Innomy has had since participating in our acceleration program?

When Innomy joined the Eatable Adventures Acceleration program: ‘Spain Food Tech’, the development stage was at an advanced stage, but the team’s configuration as a startup was incipient and a lot of organizational work was needed to be able to expose itself to investors and the public. Working with CNTA in the framework of this program was a huge help, as this institution became a valuable partner along the way. The experience we gained from Eatable Adventures enabled us to develop a credible business proposal, as well as to organize the team, understand the language of communication, and present ourselves to investors. In addition, the contacts provided by the Program and the appearances at various events allowed us to increase our reach and access to financing and production proposals.

 

What has the Spanish foodtech ecosystem offered you to establish your company in Spain?

In particular, we felt very supported by the Basque ecosystem. Institutions such as Beaz, Talent, and the BIC of this community welcomed us and helped us in a very active way. On the other hand, Basque research institutions and industry have been very supportive and are allowing us to grow.

 

What are the advantages and benefits of using mycelium compared to other protein alternative raw materials on the market today?

The mycelium contains high-quality protein in terms of its amino acid composition, but also in the supply of vitamins, Beta-glucans, ergosterol, and other compounds whose health benefits include the maintenance of a competent immune system, lower cholesterol levels, and the availability of nutrients without the need for artificial additives.

What is the most valuable piece of advice José Luis has given you in our Acceleration Program?

José Luis taught us that talking with a product on the table is much more effective than communicating ideas or a project. Even if it needs to be improved, the product shows an anchor with the reality that is often valued in the European entrepreneurial environment. Our speech was crystallized into a solid demonstrable development, which changed the way investors or other partners listened to us.

Spain as a global benchmark in FoodTech during the I InnoDays Madrid

Singapore, Israel, and Madrid? FoodTech is gaining momentum in the city trying to become a global reference. Public administrations and private agents have aligned their interests to position the region in one of the sectors of the future. These intentions were evident during the first thematic session of the Innodays, a series of sectoral meetings to promote entrepreneurship in the field of innovation organized by the Madrid City Council, the Community of Madrid, and the Madrid Innovation Driven Ecosystem (MIDE).

Spain as a FoodTech Nation

Among all the guests at the first InnoDays, Eatable Adventures’ Managing Partner, Mila Valcárcel, brought up a relevant topic: the geopolitical changes (and the consequent scarcity of food or raw materials) that will act as accelerators of changes in the agri-food value chain with the incorporation of new technologies.

These changeovers are led by technologies such as robotics, fermentation, bioprinting, artificial intelligence, IoT, new ingredients, cellular technology, or innovations in packaging. “We like to talk about Spain as a FoodTech Nation, a country that is much more than gastronomy and a world power in the agri-food field,” Valcárcel detailed. In fact, 10% of the national GDP depends on these sectors.

 

Startups, the main drivers of the industry

More than 30,000 companies are engaged in agri-food in Spain. “The great challenge for the industry is digitization, technology must reach the whole system. We also need more innovative and sustainable value chains, as is the case in other sectors”. Despite everything, the Spanish FoodTech and AgroTech environments have gained dynamism at full speed, as evidenced by the 700 million in investment attracted by agri-food last year, almost triple compared to 2020.

In this ecosystem, startups are clearly in focus, they are companies that are developing and generating interesting movements at different levels. As for Madrid, there are 407 startups operating in the region, representing 25.29 % of the national total. “They are companies that touch the entire value chain, from production to logistics. Madrid can be the Silicon Valley of food, the key is to work together to achieve it,” assured Mila Valcárcel.

 

Madrid, the Silicon Valley of food

Madrid should have a global ambition regarding its positioning on the FoodTech board. “We should take advantage to change what doesn’t work. For example, technology transfer is fundamental but very complex in Spain. We must mix technology and science to generate ambitious startups capable of solving global challenges.”

At a time when supply chains are breaking down and food autarky is on the rise, Spain has scientific teams, first-rate facilities, and a testing ground, such as Madrid Food Innovation Hub, where everything can be tested. “Let’s develop technology, intellectual property, and a solid business model around food,” said Valcárcel.

 

Educating the consumer

Meanwhile, we need to educate consumers so that they are aware of and able to exploit the disruption.  “For starters, FoodTech will allow us to make food accessible to everyone. This doesn’t mean we’re going to stop having traditional livestock or crops. It means there will be many other ways of doing things in the face of a world population that is growing and demanding functional foods, proteins…”

“It is important to work with the citizen on issues of perception and valuation. Countries like Singapore do a great job of dissemination. In this way, the consumer understands that there is nothing wrong with consuming laboratory meat or lettuce harvested in a vertical garden”.

During its first day, InnoDays aimed to highlight the needs of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and generate synergies between it. Watch the recorded session here.

Meet the EAA Alumni: MOA Foodtech

MOA Foodtech is a Spanish startup that combines biotechnology and artificial intelligence to transform waste and by-products from the agri-food industry into a 100% sustainable ‘‘new generation protein” of high nutritional value.  Their goal is to implement new technologies that promote a fairer, more compassionate, and more sustainable food system while still being appealing to consumers.

We had the opportunity to interview Bosco Emparanza García, CEO and founder of MOA Foodtech, one year after going through our Accelerator Program. Discover what this meant to them, the advice he still retains, and how he sees MOA Foodtech in the future.

 

How did the idea of founding a company as MOA Foodtech arise? What is the main goal of the company?

The world is currently in a critical environmental situation. By 2050, agriculture will need to feed 40% more people, produce 70% more food, using only 10% more land.
The whole MOA team was concerned about the situation and the huge impact the agri-food industry has. For this reason, the three founding partners, Susana, José María, and I, made this decision to leave our jobs as scientific directors in a biopharmaceutical, M&A, and commercial company, respectively. As a step towards developing a sustainable agriculture-food model, we set out to investigate the following: Can we use waste and by-products from the agri-food industry to produce high-value food using biotechnology?

 

What were the benefits of working with Eatable Adventures in your first steps until the business was consolidated?

The beginning of our journey was a time of uncertainty. That same year was the confinement, and we found ourselves leaving our jobs. At that point, the Eatable Adventures team came on board; they believed in the project and shared our ambition. The solution we wanted had to be global, and thanks to Eatable’s way of working and networking, we were able to start a global project. As time passed, the most rewarding and intense hours of the week were our meetings with Mila and José Luis, when we wrote down our plans to overcome the next hurdle, and we did.

 

What is the most valuable piece of advice José Luis has given you in our Acceleration Program?

Having spent so many hours working together, it is impossible to choose just one. But without a doubt, there have been two in particular that made us change our approach and begin to see things more clearly.

The first, and undoubtedly essential, was that we had to seek international investment. This was the best way to position ourselves as a credible project and thus begin to grow.
And the second was to consider what we really were. Instead of thinking, we were just a protein manufacturer, we had to think of ourselves as a platform.

 

What is in the near future for MOA Foodtech and where do you aspire to go in the long term?

Our goal is to be a global project, so we are scaling the technology to an industrial level and developing solutions focusing on the Asian (where protein consumption will grow the most), European and American markets. In addition, we are working on applications not only in meat analogs but also in snacks and dairy analogs. We are also developing new processes utilizing by-products and residues, and perhaps most importantly, we’ve developed an artificial intelligence tool that helps us develop all of the above more efficiently and quickly.

Check out our other Alumni Interviews here.

Foodtech Opportunities in The Spanish Market

The foodtech sector is an emerging and dynamic sector dedicated to improving the entire food industry value chain sustainably. This intersection between nutrition and technology is changing the traditional food and beverage sector, prompting existing players to rethink many of their insights into manufacturing processes, consumers, and the market in general.

In recent years, Israel has positioned itself as one of the world’s FoodTech leaders, and it has succeeded. In just 70 years, it has managed to turn its threats into opportunities and become a world reference in innovation, responsible for some of the most disruptive and revolutionary technologies in multiple areas. 

 

Investing in Spain’s FoodTech Sector

In our country, investment in the foodtech sector has tripled in one year after national startups have raised 695 million euros in 2021, which is 220% more than the previous year, according to data from ICEX’s recent report. Thus, the Spanish ecosystem is the fifth foodtech ecosystem with the highest investment in Europe after Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands, offering numerous opportunities for innovation, some of which make this country a global benchmark.

Webinar Israel

Imagine how powerful these two ecosystems would be if they were connected? That’s exactly what happened during the webinar on February 22. The Foreign Trade Administration of the Ministry of Economy of the State of Israel engaged Eatable Adventures and leading Spanish corporations, such as Europastry and Pascual, to be part of the conversation and share best practices in open innovation.

Although we still have many challenges ahead of us, all levels of government, associations, clusters, and large food companies are working simultaneously to address them. We live in the era of collaboration, in which people, startups, investors, and administrations, are allied to build a better future; and of course corporations in the agri-food sector cannot miss this joint work.

 

Open Innovation Programs: Mylkcubator & Baking the Future

Startups in this sector are undoubtedly an engine of innovation that can bring a lot to the industry. In order to benefit from this, we need to create open innovation programs that identify the best startups to partner with, lay the groundwork for this collaboration, and channel joint efforts that benefit both parties.

Mylkcubator Companies of all sizes and nationalities are implementing programs along these lines every day. Important Spanish food companies have developed their open innovation programs, accelerators, and investment arms, such as Pascual’s Mylkcubator and Europastry’s Baking the Future. With these programs, companies can discover new business models, explore new channels with their consumers, reinforce the sustainability of their operations, diversify in categories or geographically and, above all, increase the efficiency of their business.

baking the futureThere are many ways in which companies in the sector work on open innovation, and it will depend a lot on the culture of the company, the position it is in, and the structure it has. In this regard, it is always helpful to have an ally who can advise the company on how to move forward, identify startups to work with, and lay the groundwork for collaboration with them, such as us, Eatable Adventures. 

If you want to know more about the Spanish foodtech sector, visit our recent article.

Investment received by foodtech startups in Spain triples in 2021

Spain has more than 400 Foodtech startups, being one of the major powers in the sector worldwide.

The agri-food sector is one of the engines of the Spanish economy, concentrating almost 10% of GDP, but we also have the opportunity to become a world power in innovation in the sector, thanks to “Foodtech”, a term with which any technology applied to the agri-food value chain is known. And this is demonstrated by the 2021 edition of the report on the State of Foodtech in Spain, a quantitative study that analyzes the sector that has been prepared for the second year by Eatable Adventures, one of the three leading foodtech accelerators globally.

2021 has been a great year for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in new technologies applied to food. Despite the difficulties suffered by the economy as a result of COVID-19, the net figure of 407 startups in the sector was consolidated, with 9% of them having been born this year. Spain is positioned as one of the main global powers in the sector, similar to France, ahead of the United Kingdom, but far behind the 900 startups in Israel or the 200 in Singapore, much smaller territories than our country. 

However, the most remarkable fact is the significant growth in investment received by these startups throughout 2021, reaching 695 million Euros, a growth of +220%, more than triple that in 2020. This figure places foodtech as the second category of investment in startups in our country, behind only transportation. Most of this investment takes place in very early stages (23% preseed and 46% seed). The 23% is in series A and only 5% in later stages or 2% in acquisitions. Glovo leads the highest round, with 450 million euros, followed by Biotech Foods with 36 million euros, Heura with 16 million euros and Biome Makers and Crowdfaming with 15 million euros each. 

Startups and the agri-food value chain

The concern of our entire society for sustainability, combined with the growing demand of consumers for healthier products, has been understood by the sector as great opportunities, increasing the number of startups that focus on the primary sector of the chain, on agriculture and livestock, seeking more sustainable formulas in production. Thus, 24% of startups work in agrifoodtech (vs. 17% in 2020), 35% in production and transformation, 24% in distribution and retail, and 17% in restaurant tech. 

Of those startups working in the primary sector, this year there is a greater weight in projects focused on the modernization of crops, applying software and automation in the processes (36%), while the weight of new methods of cultivation (18%) or the application of biotechnology in the fields (16%) is slightly reduced.

Analyzing the food process, which continues to be the most important point in the agri-food value chain (35%), there is a change in the search for new ingredients with which to produce alternative foods (47%), as opposed to plant-based or insect-based foods, which was the main driver until now (24%).

In the logistics section, the weight of direct-to-consumer models (74%), which in 2020 had gained very significant weight due to COVID-19, is slightly reduced. However, we see how many of these startups, which started out focused on the distribution of cooked food in restaurants (delivery), are expanding their catalogs to shift towards e-grocery.

Finally, in restaurant tech, we can clearly see how projects related to improved management thanks to artificial intelligence and the use of data are growing (40%), whereas until now this category was led by reservation platforms.

An important point of the study is the technology used in these projects. In 2021 we see how the use of biotechnology (32.05%) grows, mainly in food processing and crop improvement, but also Artificial Intelligence (28.21%) and Machine Learning (24.36%), in this case in a much more transversal way as they have applications in practically all points of the value chain. Robotics (12.82%) and Blockchain (6.41%) have a lower use in the volume of projects analyzed, for having a lower versatility and being more specific technologies but we see how there is growth compared to the 2020 report, confirming their consolidation as base technologies of foodtech.

It is important to highlight that 30.2% of the projects have patents, which helps to build a solid ecosystem with its own intellectual property that places our country in an opportune position of leadership, allowing us to export not only materials and processes, but also knowledge.

The profile of the entrepreneur is similar to that of the previous year: 40 years old, male (80%), starting up alone (14%) or with 1 partner (26%), and with less than 5 employees (46%), but 92% of them declare that in 2022 they will increase their workforce, confirming the employment generation capacity of the ecosystem.

 

What still needs to be improved, according to entrepreneurs

The study also includes a qualitative dimension that seeks to reflect the sector’s unfinished business. According to this, entrepreneurs state the importance of research centers in the development of startups in the sector (89% in 2021 vs. 65% in 2020), although it is perceived that universities do not fulfill this role, although this has improved slightly (50% in 2021 vs. 61% in 2020).

Knowledge of the sector by international investors is attributed as a reason why they invest in the sector (88% in 2021 vs 85% in 2020), which contrasts with the sentiment that the domestic investor lacks this knowledge, although this has improved this year (41% in 2021 vs 63% in 2020). It is important to highlight how the data reflects the change that the food industry is undergoing and is perceived as supporting the development of startups (67% in 2021 vs 43% in 2020).

And the point of subsidies is still pending, although it has improved. Entrepreneurs continue to demand greater ease of access to specific public aid for the sector (53% in 2021 state that this is a problem vs 72% in 2020).

For José Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures: “The tripling of investment data in 2021 and the significant volume of startups operating in our country show how the foodtech sector is confirmed as a great opportunity for the economy of our country, which will grow even more with the involvement of the public sector, corporations, research centers and universities”.

Download here the report and get to know more about our thriving food technology scene.