– By Bianca Campos, Deputy CEO and Program Manager | Innovation & Startup
In 2021, the Swiss FoodTech startup Planted, founded in 2019, was recognized as the Top 1 in the national ranking “Top 100 Swiss Startups”, showing the strength of this vertical in the Swiss innovation ecosystem. The startup Planted developed natural bio-structured meat made from alternative proteins and closed 2022 its Series B financing round of 70 million Swiss francs. One of the goals for this funding round is international expansion, which reinforces how these solutions can contribute to global demands in food.
Brazil is also relevant when it comes to global food production and chain. The country is responsible for 10% of the planet’s food production today and has many innovation/sustainability challenges to maintain or improve this level. The different actors, from agriculture to the livestock and food production sector, are engaged and open to knowing and implementing innovative solutions to evolve on this path.
Some Swiss FoodTech Startups have already started to visualize and validate the opportunities in Brazil. At the beginning of the second semester of 2022, the startup Agrinorm participated in the Market Validation Camp from Innosuisse, held in Brazil by Swissnex. Aligning the most technological artificial intelligence algorithms and techniques with the grower’s and food industry’s needs, Agrinorm offers a quality management platform to help fresh produce suppliers improve quality management and reduce food waste through digitalization.
On the first day of the Market Validation Camp, Agrinorm attended an important conference for its sector, the Brazil Conference from the International Fresh Produce Association. In this event, Agrinorm could meet with growers, food retailers, and importers/exporters of fresh food from all the Brazilian regions, accomplishing more than eight initial meetings. Evgenij could learn and get insights about the Brazilian demands in quality management of fresh products, the players, and potential partners or competitors, and start business conversations that evolved through the following days.
Besides many prospected opportunities, Agrinorm considered understanding the local business infrastructure and competitive landscape as one of the most critical learning and camp achievements. These strategic insights collected on the ground are essential to building a strong and relevant market entry strategy.
The Agrinorm solution shows how digitalization is crucial to evolving the food system and achieving demands related to waste management and higher productivity demands. But two other Swiss FoodTech startups will explore opportunities in the Brazilian market in 2022, those associated with food production in the line of sustainable proteins.
The AIT goal is to connect promising researchers-entrepreneurs with the innovation and startup ecosystem to develop their high-level research’s market application and identify business opportunities in Brazil for their early-stage startups.
A pioneer of the upcycling concept, UpGrain offers an alternative and nutrient-rich protein from barley obtained in the upstream brewing process. A base product for plant-based foods that protect resources, nature, and the environment. The technology can be installed in the brewer factories and generate value for by-products not explored today by the beverage industry.
Japanese food is trendy in Brazil, and the analogs of meat and chicken are the most common when it comes to alternative proteins. But have you ever wondered about a fish or seafood analog? That is what the Swiss startup ‘Authentic Seafood Analogues’ is developing.
Based on microalgae-based formulations, the researchers are working to achieve a tasty and nutritious shrimp analog. One of their most relevant challenges is to achieve the synergy between taste, appearance, shape, and texture, and their highlight is a novel and innovative texturization platform. The startup will also join the AIT 9th cycle in Brazil, and for sure many opportunities should arise in the country for them, not only for them but for many Swiss startups working to revolutionize and foster the global sustainable food system.