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Facilitating Sustainable Innovation: Coop and Kern Tec Success Story


Kickstart is not just a program, it's a myriad of individual stories. Stories of people collaborating to innovate, people bringing their ideas to life and of partners framing work as a learning opportunity. Today, let's focus on one of these stories, a story of a successful collaboration born within the program.


In 2021, Kickstart Innovation played a crucial role in fostering a collaboration between Coop and Kern Tec, a startup specializing in utilizing seeds from fruits typically discarded in food production. This partnership introduced Apricot Kernel Milk to the Swiss market, now available at Coop stores.


Sustainability Meets Innovation

Coop's new vegan milk alternative is not just another plant-based option. By utilizing upcycled apricot kernels, a byproduct often overlooked, this initiative supports zero waste, the circular economy, and promotes the use of every part of the fruit. This product offers consumers a sustainable, eco-friendly choice while reducing food waste.


Globally, apricot production reaches approximately 40 million tons annually, with Turkey and Iran being the leading producers. The processing of apricots generates substantial waste, particularly seeds and kernels. These byproducts, rich in bioactive compounds like polyphenols and tocopherols, traditionally go unused but hold significant potential for innovative applications​ (MDPI)​.


The Power of Partnership

With Kickstart Innovation, this connection has blossomed into a successful collaboration, delivering a new product and setting a benchmark for sustainability-led innovation in the food industry. The partnership between Coop, Kern Tec, and Emmi, a Swiss dairy company, has allowed for the development and distribution of this unique milk alternative.


This collaboration is just the beginning. We look forward to seeing how this partnership will continue to bring innovative products to the forefront of the sustainable food sector. We are proud to support initiatives that make a significant impact on sustainability and innovation in the industry.


By fostering such partnerships, Kickstart Innovation continues to pave the way for groundbreaking solutions that not only enhance product offerings but also contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy. The Apricot Kernel Milk is a testament to the power of innovative thinking and collaboration in driving forward the sustainability agenda. 


Learn more about this collaboration here.


If you are a startup active in food and retail and circular economy or interested in collaboration with corporates such as Coop, you can learn more about our program and pre-register.

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6 June 2024

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