Food system innovators are gaining global recognition thanks to Rabobank's FoodBytes! Pitch 2021 program.
Eight Australian start-ups are among the 45 businesses shortlisted and vying for selection for the top 15.
These finalists will go on to participate in a livestreamed public pitch competition from November 8 to 10 where winners will be selected in three categories - food tech, agtech and consumer food and beverage.
Recognised for outstanding innovation in the fields of sustainable supply chains, improved resource management and the next frontier of nutrition, the Australian cohort represent 18 per cent of this year's FoodBytes! Pitch top 45, and includes five female founded and/or led entrepreneurial businesses.
The shortlisted Australian innovators are:
- AgriDigital: Digitised platform streamlining the grain supply chain
- AgUnity: Technologists integrating remote farming communities with global supply chains
- ThinkBio: Biological products enabling growers to minimise synthetic fertilisers, and optimise yields
- Fable: Plant-based meat alternative
- Ulu Hye: Plant-based milks
- Your Food Collective: Locally grown, ethically sourced groceries
- Great Wrap: Plant-based, compostable stretch wraps
- TranspiratiONal-SBM: Biodegradable polymer membrane maximising yields and minimising negative environmental impacts
Australian start-ups are no stranger to success in the competition, with Perth-based business Swan Systems winning the agtech award in 2020.
Swan Systems pitched its precision irrigation and fertiliser platform, that helps growers schedule, monitor and optimise management of water, nutrients and crop health to improve economic and environmental outcomes.
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Rabobank head of innovation Chamidu Karunathilake said it's significant that 31 of this year's 45 shortlisted companies directly address areas of food and agriculture that have been affected by the impacts of COVID-19.
"Australian entrepreneurs have shown tremendous resilience and have continued to innovate during the global pandemic," Mr Karunathilake said.
"To have eight Australian companies featured in the global top 45 is a testament to the entrepreneurship in this country."
Mr Karunathilake said FoodBytes! is committed to leading innovation in food and agriculture, and to "future-proofing our member businesses in competitive and challenging market conditions".
"We have strengthened our rigorous process for vetting and selecting entrepreneurs who participate in the FoodBytes! program, focusing this year on those with validated business models, a track record of commercial viability, collaborative mindsets, and a robust and diverse team to drive meaningful change," he said.
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