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Aussie food start-ups shortlisted for international competition

Eight Australian start-ups have made it into the final of 45 global businesses shortlisted to take part in the global food systems program FoodBytes! Pitch 2021.

The finalists were chosen for their outstanding innovation in the fields of sustainable supply chains, improved resource management and nutrition. The Australian contingent to the pitch program represents 18 per cent of this year’s FoodBytes! Pitch top 45, and includes five female-founded and/or led entrepreneurial businesses.

The top 45 start-ups will now compete to make the final 15, who will get to participate in FoodBytes!’ live-streamed public pitch competition to be held from 8 to 10 November, which will decide the ultimate winner in each of three sectors: FoodTech, AgTech and CPG.

The shortlisted Australian innovative start-ups are:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Transpirational-SBM: Biodegradable polymer membrane maximising yields and minimising negative environmental impacts.

The finalists are hoping to follow the achievements of Perth-based Swan Systems, which won last year’s global Agtech Award, in FoodBytes! Pitch 2020, for 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.

Chamidu Karunathilake, Head of Innovation at Rabobank, highlighted the significance of the fact 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,” Karunathilake said. “To have eight Australian companies featured in the global top 45 is a testament to the entrepreneurship in this country.”

Karunathilake stressed that FoodBytes! is committed to supporting innovation in food and agriculture, and future-proofing the 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,” Karunathilake said.

This story originally appeared in our sister publication, Inside Small Business.

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