NEW YORK — Rabobank is introducing a new structure for FoodBytes!, expanding the innovation platform beyond its annual pitch competition.

Launched in 2015, FoodBytes! is a global network that helps startups validate and grow their businesses through global industry exposure, tailored mentorship sessions and individualized connections with investors. The platform now is moving to a continuous scouting model, with 15 startups selected to participate in programming each quarter.

FoodBytes! previously focused on three platform sectors: consumer packaged goods, food technology and agriculture technology. The new structure will place a greater emphasis on food and agriculture technology, but CPG startups that demonstrate a novel supply chain innovation still will be encouraged to apply. For the first quarter of 2022, the program will focus on scouting startups in five categories, including diversified ingredients, traceability and sustainability metrics, nutrition and immunity within functional foods, novel packaging and consumer wearables as nutritional guides.

Other new initiatives include a digital hub aimed at connecting vetted startups with investors and corporate members, and Industry Look First, a quarterly series exploring consumer demand for sustainable food and agriculture.

“FoodBytes! has become a formidable force within a rapidly evolving food system,” said Anne Greven, global head of FoodBytes! at Rabobank. “As we continue to face new challenges from increased demand for food, changing consumer preference and the need for sustainable food production, it only makes sense to refocus the way we operate in an effort to be even more effective in connecting food industry leaders and investors with deployable, impactful solutions for triple-bottom-line business growth.”

The innovation platform will continue hosting its webinar series featuring discussions with various industry experts. This year’s first panel will take place on Feb. 16 and will explore why sustainable packaging is a high priority for corporates and what different players in the space are doing to address it.