APAC Agri-Food Innovation Summit announces two start-up Innovation Challenges with CPF and Cargill

The Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit (to be held from 16 to 18 November) has partnered with global food companies CPF and Cargill, creating a start-up Innovation Challenge with each partner to uncover fresh talent and technologies to benefit the Asia-Pacific (APAC) agri-food value chain.

The CPF Innovation Challenge: Enhancing texture, juiciness and aroma to create healthy plant-based meat alternatives

Consumer requirements today have become more complex. They do not just want to consume “plant-based” foods, they require products that resemble meat in all aspects such as texture, taste and nutritional value. CPF is looking for companies with technologies to solve these pain-points, so that consumers can say: “I can’t believe this is not meat!”

Commenting on the challenge, Lalana Thiranusornkij, senior vice-president of Head of Innovation & New Product Development at CPF Thailand, said: “While CPF is a leading global company in animal proteins, we see the consumer shift to Flexitarian. With CPF’s vision to be the ‘Kitchen of the World’, we want to keep up with changing consumer requirements, and provide meat alternatives such as plant-based proteins and cell based into their diets when they want it! We also look at other protein sources with improved functionality and nutritional benefits in order to match the experience of eating actual meat. We must use technology both in-house and work with the open innovation ecosystem to recreate the taste, texture and nutritional profile of meat.”

The Cargill Innovation Challenge: digital solutions to connect and enhance the sustainable food production chain in APAC

As part of its purpose to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way, Cargill will invite start-ups to present digital solutions that support sustainable food production and processing throughout the value chain.

Solutions could range from on-farm digitalisation for farmers of all sizes, to online marketplaces, supply-chain connectivity, innovative by-products or manufacturing process that minimise wastage and support processes to cut carbon and contribute to the circular economy. These innovative digital technologies should support environmental, social and economic sustainability in food production and/or processing.

Colin D’Silva, vice-president of Government Relations at Cargill, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to bring together people, ideas and technologies for a more sustainable agri-food value chain. The APAC region presents a rich and diverse supply chain, including smallholder farmers, agri retail and marketplaces, industrial processing, and logistics. Digital solutions offer vital tools to support sustainable practices, efficiencies and transparency throughout the value chain, supporting the producers, reducing food waste, achieving cost benefits and creating USPs for the conscious consumer.”

The final pitches will take place during the 4th Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit, as three innovators for each Challenge pitch on screen to judges from CPF and Cargill, livestreamed to a global audience of agri-food corporates, growers and food brands, investors, retailers and technology providers.

The winners, to be revealed live by CPF and Cargill at the summit, will enjoy tailored mentoring and access to senior innovation teams with their respective Challenge Partner, with scope to develop, pilot and trial their technologies together. It is a significant opportunity to accelerate their technology development and go-to-market activities.

Webinar insights

An interactive webinar on 1 September dove deeper into each Challenge, as business innovation leaders from both Cargill and CPF discussed the reasons for their challenge focus, what they were looking for (and could offer) in a start-up partnership, and what is happening in the exciting agri-food innovation ecosystem across Asia-Pacific.

Theresa Flach, conference producer at Rethink Events, organiser of the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit, said: “Asia-Pacific is renowned for its focus on agri-food innovation and appetite to scale new technologies. We’re excited to see what breakthroughs will be spotlighted on our global summit stage! The value to a start-up of this opportunity to work directly with globally influential brands like Cargill and CPF can’t be overstated – it’s a powerful opportunity to raise their profile and connect with the corporate and investment partners they need to scale their solutions and start achieving their full potential in the supply chain.”

The three-day APAC Agri-Food Innovation Summit programme and speaker faculty are available now, with delegate registration at Agri-Food Innovation’s website.