The role of open innovation in boosting alternative protein

Open innovation is a model that serves to attract talent, technology and new business models to develop more innovative products than those of the competition. Open innovation across the food sector is important when it comes to product research and development. 

One area of the food industry that could definitely reap the benefits of open innovation is the development of alternative protein. In the last few months the alternative protein space has experienced a boom in consumer demand and now companies are looking for ways to offer these solutions to meet the new needs of the end consumer by working alongside startups to launch products.

Since 2019, the alt protein sector has been booming with new demand but ever since the COVID crisis hit the food industry companies which offer these solutions have spiked in growth.

 “The alternative protein industry was already a growing market before the coronavirus started. My prediction is that in the coming months there will be an even faster boost from the sector, ” said Veronica Fil, co-founder and CEO of Grounded Foods, which curates 100% plant-based cheeses. 

Thanks to larger companies increasingly embracing open innovation and collaborating with more agile-minded startups, there has been a growth in the commercialisation of alt protein products, which has been especially intense during these past few months of COVID. Working with startups offers a number of perks for larger teams, including:
✔️ Process agility
✔️ Time management optimization
✔️ Revitalization of energy and motivation
✔️ Breakthrough to new markets

In return startups gain:
✔️ Extensive corporate know-how
✔️ Access to market
✔️Opportunity to raise capital
✔️ Increase in production capacity

There are a many advantages of such collaborations, especially between international corporations and startups.

Givaudan and Bühler join forces to embrace innovation

Singapore is becoming an innovation hub with the rise of disruptive new startups entering the circuit and it seems like corporations want part of the action. Givaudan and Bühler are set to open an innovation center in Singapore later this year  with the aim of continuing to investigate the potential of alternative protein. This innovation center will be host to a range of important agents across food, including startups, research projects and small food processing companies, for the development of new products. Bühler’s expertise in the manufacturing process combined with the competitive advantage that Givaudans portfolio offers in flavors and textures will be no more than a breeding ground for innovative products.

“Startups, universities and corporations must come together to innovate and find more sustainable ways of producing food. This is the goal of the innovation center where we have found a partner with common ideas to make this vision a reality,” said Bühler’s CTO, Ian Roberts.

He also recognized the importance of working alongside startups. “Companies are increasingly aware of the urgent need to work with startups to have a positive impact on the climatic and nutritional challenges of this century,”.

Barilla’s commitment to open innovation

Another company that has pledged itself to the development of alternative protein, sustainability and open innovation all in one is the worlds largest food producer; Barilla. The Italian multinational food company is participating, along with 32 other companies, in the European “Smart Protein” project which is committed to powering sustainable, future food offering new innovative products through collaborations with other players in the industry, such as startups.

Giancarlo Riboldi, Open Innovation Senior Manager at Barilla stated that “The goal of the project is to develop future-oriented alternative protein sources that contribute to regeneration of the environment, are viable from the point of view of processing, and are trusted by the consumer.”

*CALLING ALL SPANISH SPEAKERS* Want to know more about open innovation and the perks it offers for your company? Join our partners at Eatable Adventures next webinar “Accelerating the growth of the Food Industry: The power of open innovation”, which will take place on Thursday, June 18th at 17:00 (MAD), 10:00 (BOG), 11:00 (SCL) where they will be joined by Sejal Ravji, Open Innovation Director at Pascual Quality; María Paola Ríos, Innovation & Strategy Director at Team Foods and José Luis Cabañero, CEO and founder of Eatable Adventures, to share their companies open innovation experiences and insights and how it is powering them to develop the future models of their organizations.

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