29 Mar 2021 — Future Food-Tech is putting start-ups to the test in two innovation challenges in partnership with Quorn Foods and Roquette.
The two competitions will focus on “mimicking whole cuts,” similar to poultry (Quorn Foods Challenge) and on “delivering unique gastronomic experiences” (Roquette Challenge).
“After pork, chicken is the second most-consumed meat globally, and so products that can effectively replace chicken have huge potential to reduce the world’s reliance on animal protein,” Adam Kemsley, head of new product development at Quorn Foods tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
The competitions aim to unlock new talent within the industry and enable opportunities for collaboration.
“What we do already know is that mycoprotein has a cellular structure very similar to that of chicken, meaning it is great at replicating its texture,” adds Kemsley.
“We’re looking forward to seeing innovative ideas that leverage this aspect of our protein,” he adds.
Using mycoprotein or other sustainable, natural ingredients, Quorn Foods is looking for companies leveraging technology to create realistic poultry whole muscle shapes, textures and flavors.
Quorn will provide mycoprotein as it’s requested, and both its culinary team and food technology team will be on hand to offer advice and support as needed.
“We recognize the importance of creating delicious, nutritious food that supports the adoption of more sustainable diets,” says Tim Ingmire, senior vice president of R&D at Quorn Foods.
“Building on our position in chicken analogs, we’re looking for breakthroughs to allow us to mimic the experience of cooking with whole chicken cuts,” he says.
Companies applying could be delivering a full product or addressing one of the key challenges associated with creating a whole cut, plant-based experience.
The products could be cooked in a range of ways, such as in casseroles, grilled or roasted, or could be eaten as a chilled, deli-style product.
Beyond replacing meat
The Roquette challenge, on the other hand, is looking to collaborate and innovate with companies developing products that will contribute to a “new plant-based gastronomy.”
These cuisines will offer new tastes, textures and whole new gastronomic experiences, using plant-based ingredients that are better for people and for the planet.
“As a key supplier of alternative proteins, we see a tremendous opportunity for a food revolution with plant-based food. To enable this revolution requires a new generation of creative food entrepreneurs in a new food ecosystem,” says Sergio Neves, head of open innovation at Roquette.
Roquette looks forward to seeing a “dazzling array” of new cuisines, and to collaborating with food innovators to help them get to market faster.
“We aim to highlight companies that will create novel and differentiated plant-based food and nutrition products and shape this future food ecosystem,” he supports.
Categories encompass plant-based meat, dairy, drinks, nutrition and bakery.
The search for solutions
After an in-depth shortlisting process, selected finalists will pitch their solutions to the challenge partners and global audience during the live-streamed virtual Future Food-Tech Summit on June 22-23, 2021.
“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 start-ups the opportunity to partner with corporate leaders to scale their innovations,” says Oliver Katz, conference producer for the Future Food-Tech series hosted by Rethink Events.
Future Food-Tech takes place three times a year in San Francisco, New York and London, as well as Singapore as part of the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Week.
Researchers at the Wageningen University & Research have also launched a challenge to inspire protein innovation, which asks students around the world to submit plans to accelerate the world’s protein transition.
By Missy Green
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