The Fi Innovation Awards have rewarded companies that have responded to the trends and challenges of the ingredients industry with innovative and creative solutions
With the Fi Innovation Awards, Informa Markets once again honoured companies that have responded to the trends and challenges of the ingredients industry with exceptionally innovative and creative solutions. This year's Startup Innovation Challenge championed young companies in particular.
The award ceremony on the evening of 3 December was also a heads-up for the international trade audience as to the direction the industry will be taking in the coming years. Not surprisingly, environmental issues were key, as demonstrated by the large number of successful submissions in which sustainability played a vital role.
After a decisive pitch the day before Fi Europe & Ni, an eight-member jury consisting of food technologists, market analysts, management in the food and beverage industry and trade journalists, chose their favourites from the nominated companies. The 10 winners in 11 categories received their prizes from Fi Europe Brand Director Julien Bonvallet and jury chairman Prof. Dr Colin Dennis of the IFIS (International Food Information Service) Board of Trustees.
The winners of the Fi Innovation Awards are:
- Future of Nutrition Award: Vietnam Food Joint Stock Company (upcycling of shrimp by-products)
- Highly commended in this category was Nucaps Nanotechnology (bioavailable capsules made from natural proteins)
- Sustainability Champion Award: Palsgaard (CO2 neutral production)
- Clean Label & Natural Innovation Award: Chr. Hansen (HANSEN SWEET POTATO, a red colorant from sweet potato)
- Functional Innovation Award: Bunge Loders Croklaan (Betapol Plus, OPO fats for infant formulas)
- Reformulation Innovation Award: Chr. Hansen (SWEETY cultures for sugar reduction in fermented dairy products)
- Protein Innovation Award: ICL Food Specialties (ROVITARIS FBX 360, a texturised protein from the faba bean)
- F&B Categories Innovation Award: Griffith Foods ('Never Fry', a plant-based coating system for meat and meat alternative products)
- Highly commended in this category was DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences (CHOOZIT BC, enabling pizza makers to control the browning of pizza cheese)
- Food Tech Innovation Award: Corbion (Verdad Opti Powder N350, an antibacterial system for Clean Label formulations). In addition, BRACE received a commendation (instant microspheres used in beverage production)
- Diversity and Inclusion Award: CP Kelco (Initiative "I belong")
- Plant-Based Innovation Award: Fiberstar (Citri-Fi, natural fibres from citrus fruits, as texturiser and fat replacement in plant-based meat alternatives)
- Organic Champion Award: In this category, the jury decided that three entrants were equally impressive, and could not choose between them
In addition to the Innovation Awards, Fi Global hosted the Startup Innovation Challenge, an event launched in 2016 to showcase young and still unknown companies with forward-looking innovations. The winners of this year's Startup Innovation Challenge are:
- Most Innovative Food or Beverage Ingredient: Amai Proteins (designer protein that tastes like sugar with zero calories, zero glycemic index)
- Most Innovative Plant or Cereal-based Ingredient: Better Nature (special process for enhancing the nutritional and sensory qualities of tempeh)
- Most Innovative Alternative Food or Beverage Ingredient: FUMI Ingredients (scalable technology to produce novel proteins that can be used as egg white replacers)
- Most Innovative Process, Service or Technology supporting the Food or Beverage sector: Qwarzo (recyclable, biodegradable and compostable solution to replace, both fully and cost-effectively, single-use plastic)
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Prof Dr Colin Dennis commented: “The Panel was very impressed by the breadth and diversity of the innovations. In addition, the inclusion of the Diversity and Inclusivity Award this year highlighted the essential role the entire workforce can play in innovation across cultures and nations. The ingredients industry is to be congratulated on the speed at which it is responding to customer and consumer demands.”