SAN FRANCISCO — Quorn Foods and Roquette are looking to unlock new talent in the plant-based protein industry. The companies partnered with the organizers of the Future Food-Tech Summit to launch two Innovation Challenges, which will culminate with a virtual pitch competition on June 22-23.
Quorn Foods, Stokesley, England, is seeking solutions for achieving a poultry whole muscle food experience. Using mycoprotein or other sustainable, natural ingredients, its Innovation Challenge will focus on companies leveraging technology to create realistic whole muscle poultry shapes, textures and flavors.
Companies applying could be delivering a full product or addressing one of the key challenges associated with creating a whole cut, plant-based experience, said Tim Ingmire, senior vice president of R&D at Quorn Foods. The products could be cooked in a range of ways, such as casseroles, grilled or roasted, or could be eaten as a chilled, deli-style product.
“As the original pioneer of alternative protein, and leading global meat-free brand, we recognize the importance of creating delicious, nutritious food that supports the adoption of more sustainable diets,” Mr. Ingmire said. “Building on our leading position in chicken analogues we're looking for breakthroughs to allow us to mimic the experience of cooking with whole chicken cuts.”
Roquette, La Madeleine, France, is seeking to collaborate and innovate with product companies developing foods that will contribute to a new plant-based gastronomy. These new cuisines will offer new tastes and textures using plant-based ingredients that are better for people and for the planet, said Sergio Neves, head of open innovation at Roquette. Categories encompass plant-based meat, dairy, beverages, nutrition and bakery products.
“As a key supplier of alternative proteins, we see a tremendous opportunity for a food revolution with plant-based food,” Mr. Neves said. “To enable this revolution requires a new generation of creative food entrepreneurs in a new food ecosystem. Thanks to this Future Food-Tech challenge, we aim to highlight companies that will create novel and differentiated plant-based food and nutrition products and shape this future food ecosystem.”
Food-tech innovators from around the globe may apply for the Innovation Challenge here. Applications are open through May 7.
After an in-depth shortlisting process, selected finalists will pitch their solution to the challenge partners and a global audience during the live-streamed virtual Future Food-Tech Summit in June, which will focus on alternative proteins.
“We’re delighted to be working with Quorn Foods and Roquette to launch these Innovation Challenges to stimulate new solutions to the most pressing issues facing today’s food producers and give startups the opportunity to partner with corporate leaders to scale their innovations,” said Oliver Katz, conference producer for the Future Food-Tech series. “I can’t wait to learn about new solutions from ambitious innovators and how they propose to tackle two major challenges facing the future of food.”
The virtual pitch competition comes on the heels of the Kellogg Co. and Unilever-sponsored Innovation Challenge at the Future Food-Tech summit on March 11. Brazil-based Fibervita won Kellogg’s challenge, which focused on new microbiome-based innovation for gut health wellness. Paris-based 77 Foods won Unilever’s challenge, which focused on ingredients and processing technologies for improving the taste, texture, sustainability and affordability of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.