15 September 2021

Food Innovators: 4 Startups Creating Solutions for the Future

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), hunger has been on the rise since 2015 and, by 2020, 768 million people are chronically suffering from the problem. In the same year, 155 million people in 55 countries experienced acute hunger requiring urgent food, nutrition and livelihoods assistance. 

If these numbers were not alarming enough, the WFP affirms that 1 billion people do not have sufficient food consumption in low and lower-middle income countries today. No wonder why Zero Hunger figures as a priority among the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Food innovation for a sustainable future

One of the ways to address this challenge is through pushing for sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices. Innovation is key to developing solutions. Across our network – and the globe – stories of impact in action are alive! Learn more about the food innovators that are paving the way for a better future. 

FUMI: egg ingredients, without the chicken

FUMI Ingredients believes that micro-organisms, including baker’s and brewer’s yeast and micro-algae, are an untapped source of high-value ingredients. Their animal-free food ingredients come from the upcycling of those micro-organisms into foaming agents, heat-set gels, and emulsifiers, and are a perfect fit for a broad range of healthy food products. FUMI’s products are peanut-, soy-, egg-, chemicals-, and GMO-free and can be used, for example, in meat replacers, as well as foams and emulsions useful for bakery products or sauces. 

By providing companies with an alternative to substitute animal-based ingredients (e.g. egg whites) and non-clean components (such as methylcellulose) in their products, FUMI has already conquered major partnerships in the food industry and won the Rabobank’s 2019 Sustainable Innovation Award. 

PeelPioneers: producing local, innovative, and circular orange ingredients

PeelPioneers has developed a unique process to turn citrus peel waste into valuable resources. Its facility in the Netherlands processes more than 40,000 kilos of peels – daily -, turning processed waste into various raw materials, such as essential oils, pectin, and fibre-rich grain, that gain a new life. For example, extracted oils are sold and used in dairy, biscuits, chocolate, soap, and cleaning products; and the pulp serves as a quality supplementary feed for livestock. Additionally, the company is also developing a technology to use the peels for improving the texture of plant-based meats.

food innovators

Peel Pioneers Lab

Green Spot Technologies: challenging the food waste paradigm to feed the future

This venture is also in the upcycling business. Green Spot Technologies, however, is dedicated to giving a new life to fruit and vegetable by-products from processing industries, “leftovers” which would have been discarded as composting waste or downcycled as animal feed. The company turns acidic and high-sugar peels, seeds, and pulps into high-value, fermented functional ingredients. The resulting flours of this process are high in fibre and protein, low in fat and sugar, free from lactose, gluten and GMO. In addition, they are rich in vitamins, essential minerals, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids and beta-glucan prebiotics – which boost the immune system, decrease and regulate glucose and lipid absorption, and  modulate the intestinal microbiome as well. 

“We value both environmental sustainability and social well-being while using natural resources to provide consumers with nutritionally balanced fermented food products.” Guided by this vision and by innovatively integrating resources that would otherwise go to waste into the food chain, Green Spot has already secured some relevant awards in recognition of their impactful work for a more sustainable future, such as Grand Prix Inn’Ovations, Occitanie Innovations and Deep Tech Pioneer.

food innovators

Mimica Touch

MIMICA: radically reducing unnecessary waste

Mimica‘s first product is Mimica Touch – a patented label and low-cost cap that tells users exactly when food is spoiled. The sustainably-made label is activated as soon as it is attached to meat, dairy, or juice packaging and calibrated to spoil at the same rate as the targeted food. Thanks to a bioresponsive gel, the label adjusts to conditions along the way and is accurate to a few hours. 

Mimica Touch was conceived to drastically reduce food waste, and improve profitability for producers and retailers. The venture is also collecting some important awards: it won the 2020’s Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label, the 2019’s Emerging Technology Winner and the 2017 MIT Technology Review’s  Inventor of the Year.


All these ventures were amongst the applicants in the IKEA Food Innovation Program. Currently we’re looking for innovators in the packaging industry. Want a chance to pitch to IKEA? Learn more about their most recent innovation initiative here.