Fi Europe Innovation Awards and the Startup Innovation Challenge announced their winners at a special ceremony during Fi Europe 2022 at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles on December 6. The winners were chosen by an expert judging panel for their outstanding contributions to the food and beverage ingredients industry.
The awards have proven to be real success accelerators for previous winners, and the caliber of entries this year was outstanding. Julien Bonvallet, Informa Markets group brand director, said: “Over the years Fi Europe has provided the industry with a platform to discover new alternatives and find solutions to overcome challenges. Once again, the quality of entries to the Fi Europe Innovation Awards and the Startup Innovation Challenge was exceptionally high. This clearly shows that even—or especially—in challenging times, the ingredients industry continues to be both resilient and innovative, always findings ways to adapt to current market needs and driving initiatives that will shape a more sustainable food industry in the longer term.”
Bonvallet presented the Fi Europe Innovation Awards, alongside chair of the judging panel Professor Colin Dennis (chair of the board of trustees of IFIS and the British Nutrition Foundation), and other members of the Informa Markets management team to this year’s winners:
- Food Training & Education Award (new for 2022): Mane (France) for its Food Development Training with flavorist students at ISIPCA, Paris, and future chefs at the Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland.
- Sustainability Innovation Award: ofi for Cocoa Compass; its ambition is to make the future of cocoa more sustainable, a future in which farmers can earn a living income, children come first, and the natural world is protected.
- Diversity & Inclusion Innovation Award: Ingredion (USA) for its Women in Ingredion Business Resource Group. Established in December 2020 to empower women for an equal future, the group now has an inclusive network of members across EMEA, Asia-Pacific, North America, and South America.
- Plant-based Innovation Award: Bunge (USA) for its PurePro pea and faba proteins. Delivering 2g protein per serving, PurePro can be used to create vegan cheeses with improved sensory and nutritional profiles.
- Sensory Innovation Award: Cargill (USA) for Gerkens Sweety Cocoa Powders, two natural cocoa powders that enable 30% sugar reduction in chocolate drinks, without the need for sweeteners or artificial ingredients.
- Health Innovation Award: Limagrain (France) for LifyWheat wheat flour, a multipurpose functional ingredient for bread, pasta, and biscuits. High in fiber and resistant starch, LifyWheat helps reduce blood sugar levels after a meal and has a prebiotic effect on gut microbiota.
- Food Tech Innovation: Sweegen (USA) for its novel bioconversion process for the production of Bestevia Reb M, the first new stevia ingredient produced via a new production technology to be approved for use in the European market by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Mark Stavro, senior director product marketing at Bunge, said the company was proud that the work of its dedicated teams had been recognised with the Plant-Based Innovation award. “Our R&D applications team used proprietary technologies and faba beans to extract the right plant proteins,” he said. “These proteins mimic casein, delivering a typical cheese-like melt and eating experience to plant-based cheese.”
Sweegen’s global team was also thrilled with its Food Innovation Technology Award. Luca Giannone, senior vice president of sales, said: “We’ve focused on Europe as a promise to pioneer the new hero of sugar reduction—Bestevia Reb M—and we will continue to innovate and open doors to bring our wellness ingredient technologies to Europe for better-for-you foods and beverages.”
Paying thanks to ISIPCA and the Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland for their forward-thinking partnerships, Solenn Coic, savory R&D manager at Mane, said: “We are so happy to have received this award, which recognizes the long-term commitment that Mane has towards the training of young generations for a better future.”
Virginia Clifford, technical service manager (Savoury), Ingredion, also spoke of a positive, more inclusive future, when she said: “I am thrilled and privileged to have been able to accept the Diversity & Inclusion Innovation award, and to be representing the EMEA chapter of our Women of Ingredion Business Resource Group. This will mean so much to our members and allies as they all work hard to progress our objectives of levelling up for women in business.”
Dick Brinkman, Cargill R&D leader cocoa EMEA, added: “As a food ingredient supplier, it is important that we are completely in touch with what today’s and tomorrow’s consumers want. This award proves that the remarkable efforts of our Cargill R&D and commercial teams have resulted in an exceptional product: Gerkens Sweety cocoa powders. We thank FiE for this Sensory Innovation award and the opportunity to highlight this innovation to an industry audience.”
The winners of the Startup Innovation Challenge are as follows:
- Most Innovative Food or Beverage Ingredient: Kern-Tec
- Most Innovative Plant-Based or Alternative Ingredient: Brevel
- Most Innovative Processing Technology: Vanilla Vida
- Most Innovative Service, Technology or Digital Solution Supporting the F&B Industry: Bio2Coat
- Most Innovative Sustainable Solution: Bio2Coat
Fi Europe 2022 exhibition continues at Porte de Versailles in Paris until December 8, and online until December 23.
For more information, visit figlobal.com/fieurope/en/home.html.