Leading food & ag startups Farmer’s Fridge, I Heart Foods, and BioFiltro win at FoodBytes! San Francisco

FoodBytes San Francisco

Are you an entrepreneur with a cutting-edge idea for food and agricultural innovation? Apply now to pitch at FoodBytes! Montreal on May 16. Application deadline is this Sunday, March 11.

Last week, from the FoodBytes! by Rabobank stage, courageous entrepreneurs delivered a glimpse into the future of food and farming. Each startup faced a packed house and pitched their bold idea for improving social impact and sustainability. Rabobank announced the FoodBytes! San Francisco 2018 winners, selected from 20 pitch companies from the U.K., Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, France and the United States. I Heart Foods earned the Judges’ Choice Award for its Bolivian-heirloom quinoa healthy snacks, Farmer’s Fridge won the People’s Choice Award for its revolutionary automated fresh food fridges, and BioFiltro earned the Highly Commended Award for its patented water filtration system.

Judges’ Choice Award: I Heart Foods of Chicago

The judges selected the pitch company that best demonstrated scalability, innovation, traction and social impact. Under its I Heart Keenwah brand, the company produces a number of quinoa products, from snacks to hot cereal. The judges were impressed with the young company’s sourcing commitment to Bolivian heirloom quinoa, considered the most sustainably farmed quinoa in the world.

“This win validates our business model and gives us more confidence in what we’re trying to achieve,” said Sarah Chalos, co-founder of President of I Heart Foods. “Feels great. It’s invigorating.”

FoodBytes! People’s Choice Award: Farmer’s Fridge of Chicago

Farmer’s Fridge won the People’s Choice Award, voted by the audience members and live stream viewers. Disruptive to fast food restaurants in a revolutionary way, Farmer’s Fridge makes “micro-restaurants” in 12-sq.- ft. automated fridges stocked with sustainably sourced and made from scratch nutritious meals and snacks. The fridges leverage proprietary IoT technology to communicate with customers, and to provide real-time demand visibility based on data collected daily. Farmer’s Fridge brings good food to places consumers might not expect to find it.

“This will help us grow even faster and bring fresh, healthy food to more people, more swiftly. We’re honored to win this award voted on by the people of FoodBytes!” said Luke Saunders, founder and CEO.

FoodBytes! Highly Commended Award: BioFiltro, of Davis, Calif

Judges selected the Highly Commended Award winner, Biofiltro, from the ten 1.5-minute pitch companies. BioFiltro is an international wastewater treatment company with a patented filtration system that harnesses the digestive power of worms and microbes to remove up to 99 percent of contaminants in a chemical-free 4-hour process. Its mission is to provide wastewater solutions that repurpose waste streams into valuable revenue streams, recover natural resources and revitalize the environment.

“In terms of pitch competitions, FoodBytes! brings real value,” said Matt Tolbirt, CEO for BioFiltro. “Winning this award is validation that sustainable waste water treatment is an issue relevant to many of the largest food companies. And, it was good for business. We landed four new international food companies with hundreds of plants across North America.”

The winners are awarded prizes to support their business growth, including innovation experiences and expert counsel from the FoodBytes! family of sponsors, as well as the opportunity to pitch leading food and agriculture C-suite executives at Rabobank’s Annual Food & Agriculture Summit in New York City.

The FoodBytes! SF pitch companies included:

3.5-minute pitch companies: Boost Biomes, Biome Makers, Remedy Organics, Augean Robotics, EIO Diagnostics, Farmer’s Fridge, Lecker Labs, I Heart Foods, Miraculex and Chef Koochooloo.

1.5-minute pitch companies: Yumami Food Company, NewLavie, Hip Chick Farms, Novolyze, Kray Technologies, BioFiltro, Smallhold, Binkabi, Simris Alg and Nell Natural Elements.

FoodBytes! by Rabobank is supported by Presenting Sponsor ADM, a specialty ingredients provider to food and beverage companies looking to get to market quickly with products consumers love. Official sponsors, Polsinelli, an AM Law 100 firm focusing on food and beverage, food- and ag-tech, and health care, The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. and its Cultivate Ventures platform, which focuses on investing in and refreshing healthy lifestyle brands and Agropur, Canada’s leading dairy cooperative with its open innovation platform, Inno Challenge.

Pitch applications are open for FoodBytes! Montreal (closing March 11) and FoodBytes! New York. For more information visit the website and follow FoodBytes! on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or view curated content via the hashtag #FoodBytes.

Photo Credit:
Kassie Borreson