Startups from Brazil, Ghana, and Australia selected as leading examples of circular economy of food solutions that help to eliminate waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems
Basel, Switzerland, 11 March 2020 – Thought For Food (TFF) and Food Lab Accelerator at Google (FLAG) today announce that the Brazilan startup Feitosa Foodtech has been selected as the winner of the TFF x FLAG Circular Economy of Food Prize.
Feitosa Foodtech develops and produces nutritious and delicious banana-based consumer products such as ketchup, barbeque sauce, jam, and other condiments made from surplus bananas and peels, and delivered in reusable glass packaging. Their products utilize organic banana waste, including over-ripe fruits and peels, meaning these by-products are given value and remain in use, rather than becoming waste. The banana by-products are sourced from local producers in Southern Brazil, who they have also trained to incorporate agroforestry-based growing practices that help regenerate farm land.
The company is led by a diverse, multi-skilled team that includes a chef, designer, farmer, and a nutritionist. They all came together with an aim to design out banana waste, support agroecological growing practices, improve farmer livelihoods, and deliver consumers innovative, tasty and healthy products.
Emma Chow, Food Initiative Lead at Ellen MacArthur Foundation, states, “Feitosa is a great example of how to keep agricultural by-products such as banana peels at high-value by transforming them into edible, value-added products. They ensure that these by-products are suitable and safe to consume because they are grown without the use of agrochemicals. We loved how this company is motivating growers to shift to regenerative practices such as agroforestry, and their initial efforts to move in this direction are very promising.”
As their prize, Feitosa will now receive fully-funded participation in the 2020 TFF Academy and TFF Summit events in Kuala Lumpur; 3-month incubation by MISTA, the San Francisco-based innovation platform for the food industry; one-on-one mentorship from experts from Danone, Mars, and Givaudan; as well as participation at the Google Food Lab, an event hosted in April by Google in California.
In addition, the FLAG members have selected two additional teams to be recognized as as “Special Mentions” in this year’s Circular Economy of Food Challenge:
- Tiger House, a startup in Ghana creates multiple products including a milk drink, biscuits, and a laundry starch spray from tigernuts and their waste by-products. The tigernut is a staple crop with many health and environmental benefits.
- Kua Coffee, a social enterprise in Australia that aims to make “world positive” impacts by sourcing coffee beans directly from growers in Uganda, empowering them to replant trees, and repurposing their coffee grounds as fertilizer and mushroom-growing substrate in local community gardens.
Although the TFF x FLAG Circular Economy of Food Challenge has concluded, the journey for these teams is just beginning. Thought For Food and the FLAG partners will continue to work with Feitosa Foodtech, Tiger House, Kua Coffee, and other high-potential startups from around the world to further develop the projects and to foster even more sharing, mentoring and learning on how to effectively adopt and incorporate Circular Economy of Food principles at all stages of the food journey – from agricultural production, to processing, to packaging and post-use.
From November 2019 – January 2020, Thought For Food partnered with FLAG to run the topical innovation challenge on the “Circular Economy of Food.” Participants in the Circular Economy of Food Challenge were able to access the TFF Digital Labs and learn from and interact with food and agriculture innovators globally. These included experts from the Applegate, Danone, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Google, HowGood, Lexicon of Food, Mars, MISTA and World Economic Forum. Teams were guided and mentored on how to integrate circular economy principles into their food and agriculture projects, and were judged according to clearly-defined criteria.
Fifteen companies were shortlisted out of more than 3000 participants, based on their consideration for adopting circular economy principles across every aspect of their businesses. In the end, Feitosa Foodtech convinced TFF and the FLAG partners that their impactful innovation should take home the Prize.
Christine Gould, Founder and CEO of the Thought For Food Foundation, states, “The next generation of innovators represent a profound opportunity to move us towards a circular economy of food that has a net positive impact on the world. As the largest, most diverse, well-educated, globally-connected and environmentally-and socially-conscious generations the world has ever seen, Millennial and GenZ entrepreneurs have circular economy at the top of their minds in all that they do as entrepreneurs and as consumers. We are thrilled to tap into their creative power to create a rich pipeline of innovation and investment opportunities that shape regenerative and inclusive food systems.”
Interested in meeting Feitosa and other teams selected as Finalists and Boost Teams within the 2019/20 TFF Challenge? Be sure to join us at the TFF Summit this year! More details will be released shortly on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. TFF will be running more topical challenges with partner organisations in the coming year. To learn more and get involved with your company, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.