A Tour of Innovative Foodtech Companies in France and the Netherlands

On November 24 through 30, as part of a corporate tour for the management team of the VkusVill chain of healthy food supermarkets, we visited 15 innovative foodtech companies in France and the Netherlands.

On November 24 through 30, as part of a corporate tour for the management team of the VkusVill chain of healthy food supermarkets, we visited 15 innovative foodtech companies in France and the Netherlands.

Day 1
Vegan meat, water-soluble carrier bags and fish made out of stem cells may seem like something out of a sci-fi movie, but these kinds of innovations are being implemented in the leading European retail companies right now

Visit to DigitalFoodLab

DigitalFoodLab helps entrepreneurs, investors and food corporations develop their food technology by offering such services as negotiation, business analytics and innovative strategy implementation. 

Moreover, the company holds DigitalFoodClub events to bring together and develop the French FoodTech ecosystem.

Visit to Les Miraculeux

The company produces vitamins and nutritional supplements in the form of tasty and healthy candy also known as gummy sweets. 

Meeting at Lactips

Lactips designs, develops and produces environmentally friendly plastic using milk protein.

This innovative green product is water soluble and biodegradable, because it is made of two surprising ingredients, casein protein and white clay.

You might not have heard of it, but the idea is not new. In the beginning of the 20th century and up to 1945 (when polymers haven’t yet become ubiquitous), milk was used to make various plastic ornaments and accessories.

Visit to Siga

Siga works with retail and catering brands, offering a unique method of evaluating products and ingredients in food quality analysis. This helps anticipate customer expectations and switch to the production and sale healthy food. 

Visit to Siga
Day 2
How is food waste disposed of in France? Can fruit be grown in containers without pesticides? How to make people feel responsible for the environment and teach them to use food waste properly? We learned the answers to these questions on the second day of our Tour of Innovative Foodtech Companies in France and the Netherlands

Meeting Phenix

Phenix is the leading startup combating food waste in Europe. Its eponymous web platform allows a network of professionals and environment protection enthusiasts to save enough food for 100,000 meals every day. 

Phenix helps its clients reduce waste and transition to a circular economy. The startup promotes the recycling of food and non-food products in different sectors, including charity. 

Phenix offers four methods of waste recovery: 

  • Phenix App where users can purchase unsold products at a discount; 
  • Donations to food aid associations to upcycle unsold products; 
  • Donations of animal feed to farms and zoos;
  • Composting and anaerobic waste treatment.

Visiting Agricool

Agricool produces and sells fruit and vegetables grown in containers called Cooltainers in an urban environment. 

The main idea is to make organic fruit and vegetables available all year round. To this end, the company repurposes old freight containers to grow GMO-free produce without using any pesticides.

Inside, the containers have perfect lighting, temperature, irrigation and air. This way, 35 square meters of soil can be used to grow the same amount of produce grown on 4,000 square meters of conventional farmland. Fruit and vegetables are grown without pesticides or transportation and using 100% renewable energy.

Inside, the containers have perfect lighting, temperature, irrigation and air. This way, 35 square meters of soil can be used to grow the same amount of produce grown on 4,000 square meters of conventional farmland. Fruit and vegetables are grown without pesticides or transportation and using 100% renewable energy.

The startup employs aeroponic vertical farming.

The startup employs aeroponic vertical farming
Day 3
French foodtech is just as awesome as a freshly baked croissant for breakfast. What about innovative retail in the Netherlands? On the third day of our tour, we set out to study the innovative foodtech companies in Amsterdam

Meeting TOP

TOP is a provider of innovative food services in the Netherlands. The team develops and implements new food preservation methods such as HPP (pascalization), PEF (PurePulse), AMP, RF (Radio Frequent) and PATS. 

The company also works with bio cascades, new extraction methods, natural ingredients and plant-based proteins.

Some of the company’s best products are: 

  • integrated cold pasteurization technology;
  • industrial and autonomous drying plant;
  • Phytonext, a new technology that is particularly well suited for the selective extraction of phytochemicals from natural materials;
  • BOX, an incubator investing in food entrepreneurs and startups;
  • Smartness From Nature, which helps chefs cook new, delicious and impressive meals;
  • Coffee cups for Nespresso systems that use ground coffee beans; it is the first line of alternative coffee cups suitable for Nespresso, where the coffee tastes just as good as the original;
  • Beeter is a meat substitute based on only two ingredients, soy and water.  

Visit to Wageningen University (Food & Bio Based Research)

Wageningen University is a large university in the Netherlands that focuses its research on scientific, social and commercial issues in the field of life sciences and natural resources. During out meeting at the university, a startup coordinator told us about two of the most interesting projects that students had created.

Meeting with Foodvalley

Foodvalley is like a separate ecosystem in the Netherlands

Foodvalley is a separate ecosystem in the Netherlands that offers many innovative solutions for agriculture and the global food industry and facilitates collaboration between companies, knowledge institutes, educators and governments.

More than 15,000 professionals are involved in food research and technology development at Foodvalley.

Day 4
On this day, we discovered the largest accelerator in Europe, an innovative startup that helps the elderly escape loneliness and a laboratory that actually seeks to improve retail

Visit to RockStart

RockStart is one of the first multi-vertical accelerators in Europe to become an expert in creating entire ecosystems around certain areas like Digital Health, Smart Energy and Artificial Intelligence. As a result, more than 150 startups received investments of more than 69 million euros, and over 700 people were hired.

Visit to Miils

Miils is an app that helps users to choose healthy foods when shopping. Miils can also make recipes smarter, create personalized food plans, introduce additional shopping functions and improve purchasing and paying experience.

Visit to Oma’s Suep

Oma’s Suep is an innovative startup and social enterprise that engages in community service. Its employees cook fresh and delicious soups together with the elderly, so that the latter wouldn’t feel lonely. They also cooperate with retailers using a digital platform that helps reduce food waste. 

Visiting Store of the Future 

Store of the Future is an innovative Dutch laboratory aimed at improving retail. This initiative offers retailers, partners and consumers an opportunity to see what stores may look like in the future.

The company’s services help its clients understand customers, improve relationships with customers, test the latest retail technology, find innovations and develop stores. 

Additionally, the store has holograms that visualize products and other digital innovations for retail. 

Meeting Albert Heijin

Founded in 1887, Albert Heijin is the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands that now has 30% of the retail market. At some of its supermarkets, customers may use a special service called Albert Heijin Assistant that is accessible via Google Assistant and Google Home. The Assistant helps users cook and prepare the products they bought at the store, offers recipes to choose from and monitors couriers. 

Day 5
Day 5 was our last day of business meetings as part of the Tour of Innovative Foodtech Companies of the Netherlands and France

Meeting Kitchen Republic

Kitchen Republic is an incubator for food industry enterprises that offers a fully equipped commercial kitchen for local manufacturers, startups and quality catering companies. Kitchen Republic’s mission is to support and help local companies develop in a perfect foodtech environment for small businesses. 

Kitchen Republic is an incubator for food industry

Kitchen Republic offers more than 450 square meters (5,000 square feet) of kitchen space, works on distribution opportunities and helps businesses with the knowledge and network facilities they require. 

The company also gives access to fully equipped start-up kitchens, scalable devices of the plug-and-play variety, as well as excellent kitchens on lease, offices and event spaces.

Visiting MosaMeat 

MosaMeat is developing methods to produce organic meat. They were the first company to create a clean meat hamburger, a project that was financed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Since then, their product has improved and the recipe has become even more organic thanks to continuous research.

Currently, the company is searching for new, innovative ways to produce clean meat with minimal harm to the environment and maximum benefit to humans.

 

The tour participants were inspired by the best foodtech companies in France and the Netherlands, and they are ready to implement their new ideas as soon as they come back home. 

 

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Participants’ impressions of previous management tours:
Having already taken part in educational tours, these people are happy to share their knowledge and impressions.
Anton Nesiforov
Anton NesiforovProcess Manager for fruit and vegetable preservation, beverages, and alcohol

On our tour of Germany, we visited the most famous food exhibition, the Green Week, as well as numerous retail chains and enterprises operating in various interesting industries. We have a lot to learn. We must take the best and use it. Thank you, FastForward, for your careful approach to creating this tour.

Alena Nesiforova
Alena NesiforovaUnified Concept Manager for Izbenka and VkusVill

We visited several retail stores in Germany, as well as manufacturing facilities. What we liked the most about the stores we visited was the high quality standards of German retail. Retailers know how to sell high-quality goods at affordable prices, and this is probably the main secret of Germany's retail success. As for production, we were inspired by some of the small family businesses we saw.

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