Unveiling the 2023 Good Food Makers Winners: Pioneering Food Startups

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Awards in Innovation: WayBetter, BocoLoco, Nosh, and Dori Honored by Barilla and Plug and Play

In a harmonious confluence of innovation, Barilla and Plug and Play, renowned as the world’s largest Open Innovation platform, have unveiled the laureates of the prestigious Good Food Makers program. This global initiative, directed at Ag-tech and Food-tech startups dedicated to forging a sustainable food future, has given accolades upon four remarkable projects.

Waybetter, charting a course in the digital and wellness sector; Bocoloco, spearheading the circular packaging domain; Nosh, championing clean label solutions through fermentation; and Dori, harnessing AI solutions to elevate logistics quality, have claimed their well-deserved positions in the spotlight.

Good Food Makers is a global beacon of open innovation for Ag-tech and Food-tech startups. Leveraging Plug and Play’s expertise in startup scouting and selection, Barilla has fostered collaboration with companies poised to catalyze a more sustainable future in food.

This year marks the fifth iteration of Good Food Makers, a journey that has already witnessed the engagement of over 700 startups. Through the goodwill of Barilla, these startups have had the opportunity to engage with a global food leader, nestled in the heart of the Italian Food Valley, Parma, yet spanning its influence worldwide.

The synergy between Barilla and these startups has catalyzed the evolution of innovative concepts into more robust entrepreneurial ventures.

Good Food Makers perfectly interprets the Barilla Group’s mission: “the joy of food for a better world”. And that is to offer people the joy that good, well-made food can bring them, prepared with selected ingredients from responsible supply chains, to contribute to a better present and future. With Good Food Makers we want to remain at the forefront of food innovation.

And be open to discussions with innovative companies that, like us, are keen to understand how consumers are evolving and to identify their new needs.

The partnership with Plug And Play has allowed us to broaden our vision of the future, allowing us to discover and reward Bocoloco, Waybetter, Nosh and Dorii.

says Claudia Berti, Barilla Head of Global Open Innovation & IPR.

The focus for 2023 revolved around four key areas:

  1. Circular Packaging: The French entity Bocoloco excelled in presenting various solutions and business models to curb the utilization and waste of packaging materials. Their project, rooted in returnable glass packaging traceable through QR codes, was a standout.
  2. Quality of Logistics: Dori, a U.S. company, emerged as a torchbearer in the digital transformation of logistics quality. They harnessed the prowess of Artificial Intelligence for supplier tracking and monitoring, offering compelling solutions.
  3. Fermentation for Clean Label: Nosh, a German startup, honed in on the fermentation of biomass to amplify the nutritional, sensory, and environmental attributes of natural-origin functional ingredients. These could find application across a gamut of food products.
  4. You @ Best: Waybetter, an American startup, spotlighted digital platforms for promoting healthier lifestyles and dietary habits engagingly, replete with games and rewards.

During the application window, which extended from May 22 to July 7, Good Food Makers engaged with over 100 companies hailing from more than 25 countries. The selected startups will now embark on an eight-week journey, working closely with Barilla’s team to nurture and test their innovative concepts. This collaborative venture benefits from the wisdom of a company that has championed the creation of good, quality food for 145 years.

As a catalyst for their collective growth, each of the four startups will receive €10,000 in support for implementing their projects during the acceleration program. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to forge future collaborations with the Barilla Group, following past success stories like Connecting Food, a FoodTech firm that devised a blockchain-based traceability system for basil used in Pesto Barilla. This system, accessible to all Italian consumers via a QR code on the label, exemplifies the innovative spirit fostered by Good Food Makers.

For the second year running, Plug and Play is a partner of the Good Food Makers project, an important initiative for the Foodtech sector and a perfect example of success in Open Innovation. This year we took a more efficient and targeted approach to selection, involving strategic activities with start-ups prior to receiving their entries, including research, evaluation and meeting stages.

Guided by the experience and specific requirements identified by Barilla managers actively involved in the challenges, the platform is able to support the company throughout the start-up evaluation and selection phase, making it easier to understand and take advantage of new technologies to fulfill actual needs.

says Pietro Villani, Plug and Play Partner Success