Winners of the Fi Innovation Awards and Startup Innovation Challenge revealed

Informa Markets, organiser of the Fi events portfolio, announced the winners of this year’s Fi Innovation Awards on Tuesday at a glittering ceremony held at the Panorama Hall, Messe Frankfurt.

Finalists waited with bated breath for the judging panel’s verdict on which nominations were worthy of the top accolades. Earlier in the day, the Startup Innovation Challenge winners were revealed after a gripping round of live pitches at the Innovation Hub.

The Fi Innovation Awards celebrate the people, businesses and organisations breaking new ground and driving positive change in the F&B industry, giving them the credit they deserve for their achievements. They are judged by a panel of esteemed industry professionals presided over by Prof. Colin Dennis, chair of the board of trustees at IFIS and the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF).

This year, 20 finalists were shortlisted across six categories. On judging day, 27 November, each finalist was invited to present to the panel and the judges assessed each nomination behind closed doors to reach a decision.

Commenting on his experience of this year’s judging process, Prof. Colin Dennis, said, “Judging the Fi Innovation Awards is always a tough task, because the standard of entries is so high and all of the finalists are worthy contenders. What was particularly apparent this year was how much work the industry is putting into innovation that supports healthier, more sustainable eating. At a time when there is so much talk of problems and crises in the world, it is heartening to see companies pushing scientific boundaries to find solutions.”

The 2023 winners and ‘highly commended’ entrants were as follows:

  • Sustainability Innovation Award: Ofi (winner) for its efforts to advance climate action through its Carbon Scenario Planner (CSP); KOA (highly commended) for its efforts to introduce a new ingredient to the value chain by upcycling cocoa pulp.
  • Plant-based Innovation Award: Hi-Food & Alianza Team (winner) for Mirror Tissue, a range of oil-based emulsions that are designed to mimic the functional, structural, and sensory attributes of animal fats; ChickP Protein (winner) for its functional pure 90 per cent isolate chickpea protein.
  • Sensory Innovation Award: Corbion (winner) for PURAC® Powder MAX, an ingredient range that allows manufacturers to make acid panned and tablet confections with a superior sour taste; AAK (highly commended) for CEBESTM Choco 15, an ingredient that improves the cocoa flavour in cocoa butter substitutes.
  • Health Innovation Award: MycoTech (winner) for FermentIQ PTP, a shiitake fermented pea and rice protein powder that helps unlock the nutritional potential of plant proteins.
  • Food Tech Innovation Award: FrieslandCampina Professional (winner): for its Kievit Vana Cappa X01 Foam Booster, which produces nitrogen bubbles at high pressure in powdered form and allows consumers to create a frothy cappuccino coffee instantly; NIZO (highly commended) for its biopurification process, a novel approach to removing unwanted molecules such as off-flavours from plant-based proteins using lactic acid bacteria or yeasts.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Innovation Award: Solidaridad (winner) for its efforts to promote women in farming through its Feminisation of Agriculture Supply Chains; Cargill (highly commended) for its Program Awalé 2.0, which empowers women and young entrepreneurs in Côte d’Ivoire.


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