Spanish startups at forefront of new food revolution 

Neboda
Neboda laboratory.

According to data from the Eatable Adventures study “The State of Foodtech,” the investment in Spain in this sector reached €268 million in 2022, a growth of 9.3% compared to the previous year. 

This sustained growth has been driven by initiatives such as the Spain Foodtech Startups’ Program, a “Country” program led by Eatable Adventures in collaboration with ICEX Spain Export and Investments and CNTA (National Center for Food Technology and Safety). Its mission is to support the construction and development of robust Spanish startups in the foodtech field, capable of competing globally and becoming a reference in the industry, positioning Spain as a technological leader. The program stands out for its commitment to a 10-million-euro investment over the next three years. 

Spain Foodtech is supported by companies in the food industry, such as Alianza Team, Mahou San Miguel, Pascual Innoventures, and Sigma. These companies have joined this initiative to contribute their experience in open innovation, with the purpose of accelerating the implementation of disruptive innovation models and providing knowledge about key aspects related to the industrial processes of the agri-food sector, industry challenges, and market needs. This approach aims to boost the scaling and expansion of startups, establishing synergies to generate high-impact solutions in the agri-food value chain. 

During the program call, more than 120 applications were received from all over Spain, and after an evaluation process, four startups were selected: 

  • Bio2coat: Food waste is one of the major challenges in the food industry, along with reducing single-use plastic packaging. Bio2coat promotes an innovative solution that addresses both challenges through its 100% natural coatings that extend the shelf life of foods like fruits and vegetables, allowing for their consumption in a fresh state for longer periods. 
  • Néboda: The agriculture of the future will be more efficient and sustainable, ensuring the quality of crops for future generations. This startup has developed a revolutionary automation technology applied to vertical farming, enabling a high-density, low-cost cultivation system. This system includes the use of an automated robot whose technology optimizes production times, maintains high-quality standards, and avoids possible contaminations. 
  • Mmmico: In the traditional food industry, most food colorings are of synthetic origin, posing a potential health risk to people and the planet. This startup has adopted a highly scientific approach that combines techniques such as fermentation, directed evolution, and artificial intelligence to develop new natural ingredients that substitute their synthetic analogs in record time and cost. 
  • Poseidona: The oceans are severely affected by the depletion of marine resources, pollution, and the impact of climate change. This startup, led by a team of women, has succeeded in transforming algae production waste into innovative ingredients and proteins, revolutionizing the current production system and generating a positive impact on the marine ecosystem. 

The selected companies stood out for their ability to efficiently address critical challenges for the sector, offering innovative and sustainable solutions throughout the entire food value chain. After completing the acceleration program, startups will have the opportunity to present their projects to national and international investors during the Demo Day. 

“Spain Foodtech has proven to be a springboard for participating startups. An example of this is the international success achieved by our Alumni like Cocuus or Moa Foodtech,” said Mila Valcárcel, managing partner of Eatable Adventures.

“Our deep experience in the agri-food value chain, supported by a unique methodology, access to the global ecosystem, and the support of prestigious corporate partners, allows us to position Spanish Agrifoodtech startups on the global stage. Spain Foodtech has become a global reference program, and its success has allowed us to export this model to other international markets. An example of this is our national acceleration programs for Colombia and Italy, where we collaborate hand in hand with national and local institutions to boost the development of their entrepreneurial ecosystems in this field.” 

“The Spain Foodtech program, created by Eatable Adventures, has a multiplier effect throughout the food chain and is fully aligned with the international positioning objectives of our industry promoted by ICEX. Its transformative capacity and the rigorous selection and support process that this project offers to startups are undoubtedly the best guarantees to consolidate them and turn our foodtech ecosystem into an engine of growth and innovation,” said María Naranjo, director of the food industry at this organization. 

“At CNTA, we are proud to be the technological partner of this program, collaborating closely with startups to enhance the development of high-level technological solutions. Our commitment is to provide these companies with the tools and knowledge necessary to achieve their innovation and quality goals in the agri-food industry, thus driving the success of their projects,” concluded Estefanía Erro, director of marketing and innovation at CNTA. 

Jim Cornall is editor of Future Food Today and publisher at Ayr Coastal Media. He is an award-winning writer, editor, photographer, broadcaster, designer and author. Contact Jim here.