It was very inspiring to see Switzerland live up to its true potential as one of the frontrunners in #foodinnovation (and efficiency!) earlier this month, with several big events hosted during the same week.
To kick off, our Food & Retail vertical co-lead Suzanne van der Maarel had the privilege of presenting Kickstart’s open innovation approach to a delegation of Chilean startups in the food & agri space, hosted by the Trade Commission of Chile in the buildings of S-GE. As we continue to expand internationally, it is always encouraging to meet like minded individuals equally determined to promote sustainability and innovation in the food sphere.
Next up was an exclusive event hosted by Kickstart program partner Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley, who welcomed us at the brand new Impact Hub location Beaulieu Circulaire in Lausanne. The event focused on the journey of transforming our food system to a sustainable one through startup support and acceleration, as well as highlighting Switzerland as a Food Innovation Nation. We were spoilt by various presentations and discussions with some of the biggest players in the Swiss Food Ecosystem, with both Suzanne and our CEO & Co-Founder Katka Letzing taking the stage to talk about our mission towards sustainable innovation and collaboration in this sector.
Thoroughly warmed up, we arrived at the sold-out FoodHack Summit, a 2-day event filled with inspiring speakers discussing the pressures on our current food system and more importantly how we can tackle them, top-notch networking with key players in the food industry, and meeting some of the most innovative startups breaking ground in the food space.
To wrap up an eventful week, Suzanne summarized a few takeaways for us:
Health and nutrition continues to be a massive theme in this space, with a lot of startups working on clean label products, natural vitamin supplements, improving gut health etc.
Although more funding and support is needed, there are some very cool developments taking place in terms of sustainable packaging & reduction / removal of plastics.
Alternative protein continues to boom and it seems we are fast approaching regulatory advancement in terms of cultured meat, which would allow for startups in this space to finally start commercializing their products and receive consumer feedback.
All in all, an amazing week for food and the FoodTech ecosystem in Switzerland.
Congratulations to all involved in organizing the amazing events of last week and looking forward to what the rest of the year will bring!
Learn more about Kickstart's Food & Retail Vertical here.