Food Entrepreneur CHICAGO — Food startups will have an opportunity to win $15,000 in prizes during a pitch competition at IFT FIRST, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual event, held July 16-19 in Chicago.

The pitch, presented in partnership with Seeding the Future Foundation, is open to the first 100 startups to secure a spot in the Startup Pavilion. Exhibitor registration is open at Judges include leaders in innovation, venture capital, academia, product development and the startup community.

“More than 17,000 ingredient providers, business leaders, product developers, food scientists and science of food professionals will be attending IFT FIRST this year to experience the future of food innovation, and one of the many platforms at IFT FIRST where that innovation will be on full display is the Startup Pavilion,” said Christie Tarantino-Dean, chief executive officer of IFT. “The Pitch exemplifies the innovative spirit of IFT FIRST, providing potentially lesser-known entrepreneurs with a platform to showcase their innovations to their colleagues, peers, media and potential investors, with exciting prize packages for the best pitches.”

The grand prize winner will receive $10,000, and two runner-up startups will be awarded $2,500 each. Finalists also may attend an exclusive networking event following the competition. Dozens of entrepreneurs participated in the pitch competition last year, showcasing innovations ranging from sugar reduction to sustainable agriculture. The winner was Equinom, an Israeli seed developer with US headquarters in Indianapolis.

Seeding The Future Foundation also partnered with IFT to launch the annual Global Food System Challenge, inviting scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs to submit transformation solutions. Each year, $1 million in grants and prizes are awarded. Startup Pavilion pitch finalists are encouraged to participate in the Global Food System Challenge.

“Providing a growing global population with equitable access to affordable, safe and nutritious food from a sustainable supply chain will require creative new approaches and collaborations,” said Bernhard van Lengerich, founder of Seeding The Future Foundation, an organization committed to advancing access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. “The Global Food System Challenge and now The Pitch at IFT FIRST is a celebration of those innovators around the world who are committed to transforming the global food system with game-changing innovations.” 

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