The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a nonprofit scientific organization committed to advancing the science of food and its application across the global food system, is partnering with the Seeding The Future Foundation to offer prizes totaling $15,000 at The Pitch during this year’s IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo, which is being held July 16–19, at McCormick Place in Chicago.

In the Startup Pavilion, food or food-related startups will have the opportunity to participate in a multi-stage rapid-pitch competition spanning three days. Judges will include leaders from innovation, venture-capital investment groups, product development, academia, and the startup community. Space is limited as the competition is restricted to the first 100 startups to have a kiosk in the Pavilion. 

Last year, Israeli-based Equinom LTD was selected as the 2022 Startup Pavilion winner as innovators from around the world came together to participate in one of the most exciting global showcases of food innovation. A heavy international presence is expected once again this year. 

“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 IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean. “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 of The Pitch will receive $10,000, with the two runner-up companies receiving $2,500 each. The prize packages are courtesy of the Seeding The Future Foundation, an organization committed to supporting impactful innovations that can transform the food system to make it more sustainable while enabling equitable access to safe, nutritious, affordable food that is trusted by the consumer and improves the health of people and the planet. 

Finalists from The Pitch will also have an opportunity to attend an invitation-only networking event. The 45-minute event, which will immediately follow The Pitch, will connect startups and social enterprises with potential investors and supporting partners. 

In partnership with IFT, the Seeding The Future Foundation launched the annual Global Food System Challenge, which invites scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs to share their food-system-transforming solutions. Each year, $1 million in grants and prizes are awarded. Since 2021, more than 1,500 submissions from 75 countries have been received from multidisciplinary teams from academic and research institutions, non-profits, and for-profits. Challenge winners are also invited to join The Pitch finalists at the networking event at IFT FIRST. The Pitch finalists will also be strongly encouraged to participate in the Global Food System Challenge for a chance at winning part of the $1 million in innovation awards.

“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. 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,” added Bernhard van Lengerich, founder of Seeding The Future Foundation.

To secure a spot in the Startup Pavilion, click here. Exhibitor registration is open, while attendee registration opens March 1. To start planning for IFT FIRST, go to