FoodBytes! NYC Winning Food Tech Startups Tackle Food Waste and Milk Quality


Today, disruptive sustainable food and agriculture entrepreneurs showed the audience what the future of food could look like at FoodBytes! NYC. SomaDetect, Winnow and Wasteless came out ahead and took home the three top awards for their cutting-edge products and technologies – aiming to reduce food waste throughout the supply chain and produce better quality milk.

FoodBytes! by Rabobank is a global platform designed to build lasting connections between corporates, investors and the most promising food, food tech and agtech startups.

The winning startups will receive mentorship, industry connections and continuous support from the extended FoodBytes! community to help fuel their business growth. Additionally, some of the winners will also get the opportunity to present to leading C-suite executives at Rabobank’s Annual Food & Agriculture Summit in New York City on Thursday, November 29.

Judges’ Choice Award: SomaDetect

FoodBytes! NYC judges selected the winner based on product innovation, market traction, team experience and sustainability from the 3.5-minute pitch companies. SomaDetect, a deep learning AI dairy company, was chosen for their fiercely innovative technology that provides real-time, automated analysis of milk quality without any addition of chemicals or consumables. Applauded not only for its technology, but for its farmer-first approach and focus on quality.

Bethany Deshpande, CEO, commented: “So much of our passion comes from wanting to make an impact in the food industry by helping to build a more sustainable tomorrow, and the FoodBytes! community is trying to do just that. Winning this award is exciting for us and for every single dairy farmer who has been supporting us this whole way.”

Watch SomaDetect’s pitch here.

People’s Choice Award: Winnow

Voted on by the audience and Facebook Live viewers using the same judging criteria, Winnow won the People’s Choice Award. As the developer of technology that allows real-time data monitoring on discarded food in commercial kitchens, Winnow aims to help businesses increase profitability while dramatically reducing food waste.

David Jackson, Head of Marketing, commented: “The FoodBytes! experience has totally blown me away. The time to get to know mentors, network with other startups and find synergies to collaborate and learn is invaluable, especially for us as we grow our U.S. presence.”

Watch Winnow’s pitch here.

Highly Commended Award: Wasteless

From the 1.5-minute pitch companies, the judges awarded Wasteless, a dynamic pricing system that allows supermarkets to price and sell products based on expiration dates, the Highly Commended Award. Wasteless aims to prove that an innovative, intelligent and data-driven approach is needed to disrupt the food chain and reduce food waste.

David Kat, Global SVP, Business Development, commented: “Winning at FoodBytes! helps to bring our story to the U.S. and raise visibility for the issue of food waste. We want to drive other companies in the food chain to go beyond their comfort zones, become more sustainable and help their suppliers and customers to do the same.”

Watch Wasteless’s pitch here.

At the close of the competition, Nick Fereday, Executive Director, Senior Analyst – Food & Consumer Trends at Rabobank and FoodBytes! NYC judge commented on the success of this year’s FoodBytes! NYC platform, saying “Being surrounded by such ingenuity is truly wonderful. These companies are at the forefront of groundbreaking innovation and there’s a collective energy in the building that’s contagious. It gives me a lot of optimism about the future of food and the eco-system we are helping to create.”

The New York City pitch companies were:

3.5-minute: (Food Tech), Afresh Technologies (Food Tech), Dexai Robotics (Food Tech), Winnow (Food Tech), SomaDetect (Agtech), Pheronym (Agtech), Ocean Hugger Foods (CPG), BrainJuice (CPG) and Sweetie Pie Organics (CPG).

1.5-minute: Wasteless (Food Tech), Agragen (Food Tech), Spinn (Food Tech), (Food Tech), dropnostix, GmbH (Agtech), RIND Snacks (CPG), Rise Brewing Co. (CPG), Pulp Pantry (CPG), OneForNeptune (CPG), and Frecious (CPG).

FoodBytes! NYC is supported by presenting sponsor ADM, a world-leading nutrition company with the widest range of specialty ingredients, blends, systems and experience that supports food and beverage companies looking to get to market quickly with products consumers love. Official sponsors include Polsinelli, an AM Law 100 firm focusing on food and beverage, food–and ag–tech, and health care, The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. which focuses on investing in and refreshing healthy lifestyle brands, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN which provides growers with customized efficiency tools to increase yield and reduce nutrient loss while protecting natural resources and Printpack, which develops innovative packaging solutions that deliver a distinct advantage at the shelf, strengthen brand identity and help brand owners optimize speed-to-market strategies.

Watch all of the pitches from FoodBytes! NYC at

Next up: FoodBytes! is heading back to San Francisco on March 27, 2019! Applications are open here. Keep up with the FoodBytes! action, or to stay in the loop on upcoming application details, event updates and alumni news by signing up for the newsletter and following on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn or via #foodbytes.

About FoodBytes! By Rabobank

FoodBytes! is a next-generation pitch competition-meets-networking platform that brings together the startups, corporates and investors pioneering a more sustainable future of food & agriculture. Since launching in 2015, over 230 startups have pitched, 1,700+ have applied from 50 countries and more than 4,100 people have attended FoodBytes! events in North America, Europe and Australia.

FoodBytes! is an initiative of Rabobank, a leading global food and agriculture bank providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain. Rabobank believes that sustainability and innovation are critical in promoting a thriving food and agriculture industry that will feed the increasing global population, a key focus of its Banking for Food vision to grow a better world together by 2050.