Two Irish finalists in European FoodNexus Startup Challenge

Picture: European FoodNexus Startup Challenge finalist Dave McGeady of Wyldsson addressing Bord Bia’s Small Business Open Day in Co Meath earlier this year, with Alan Kingston of Glenilen Farm, Grainne Walsh of Metalman Brewing, Johnny Lynch of Macroom Buffalo and Aoibheann O’Brien, Food Cloud. Picture: Jeff Harvey

Two Irish companies are among the 15 finalists selected for the European FoodNexus Startup Challenge, writes Stephen Cadogan.

They are Anú Dairy of Kinsale, Co Cork, and the online Wyldsson snack company.

The finalists were selected from more than 400 applications across Europe.

On December 13, at the grand European finals in the Dutch city of Wageningen, these food and agtech startups will pitch their ideas to a jury of corporates and investors.

Anú Dairy is a certified organic food company, and works with organic dairy farmers to produce Anu organic butter, rich in vitamin K2, and marketed as the world’s first vitamin K2 heart-healthy butter.

They achieve a high content of vitamin K2, through a mix of soil management techniques and working with the farmer. Better soil health and high-quality mixed pastures for grass-fed cows also increase nutrients for improved health such as omega 3 and conjugated linoleic acids, in dairy products.

In contrast, the Wyldsson online snack company doesn’t use any animal products for its premium vegan health foods and snacks, and uses only certified gluten-free oats.

The European FoodNexus Startup Challenge winner will be awarded a cash prize of €50,000. All the nominees have already gained the advantage of being able to work with Unilever, FrieslandCampina, and other leading corporate partners, in keeping with the Challenge’s aim of offering growth opportunities by fostering collaboration with leading food and agri corporates.

Harry Barraza from Arla Foods, who is part of the jury of the European FoodNexus Startup Challenge Finals, said: “This type of facilitated meeting between startups and corporates is a really powerful instrument for us at Arla Foods to engage with people with innovative ideas and solutions that have already been pre-qualified.

“It basically saves us valuable time for scouting the market.”

The Challenge is initiated by the FoodNexus consortium, and organised by StartLife.

Other finalists come from seven European countries. They are Aveine (France), Boreal Light (Germany),Cererscon (The Netherlands), Insylo (Spain), Kuantom (France), Le Champignon de Bruxelles (Belgium), Melixa (Italy), Natural Machines (Spain), Revoilution (Italy), Seamore (The Netherlands), Sensomind (Denmark), Urban Crop Solutions (Belgium), and YourLocal (Denmark).

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