China food giant COFCO collaborates with incubator to drive food tech innovation

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

The research arm of China state-owned food giant COFCO is linking up with start-up investor Bits x Bites to speed up its food tech innovation. ©Pexels
The research arm of China state-owned food giant COFCO is linking up with start-up investor Bits x Bites to speed up its food tech innovation. ©Pexels

Related tags: COFCO NHRI, China, Innovation, R&D

The research arm of China state-owned food giant COFCO is linking up with start-up investor Bits x Bites to speed up its food tech innovation.

The initiative will be led by COFCO NHRI (Nutrition and Health Research Institute), which will provide access to its resources to qualifying companies.

These companies will enjoy access to 50,000 square meters of COFCO NHRI lab space and scientific equipment across 12 R&D centres in China.

They can also earn potential pilot opportunities across COFCO’s extensive supply chain covering 140 countries.

This is the first time COFCO - a major food processor, manufacturer, and trader for rice, oil, corn, sugar, and other staples – has worked with a start-up investor.

“Our entrepreneurs impress us all the time with their vision, execution, and persistence,” said Matilda Ho, founder and managing director, Bits x Bites.

“But their journeys are littered with challenges, from the point of proof of concept, there are tremendous learnings to be had as they test their hypotheses, refine their technology to get to product-market fit and commercialization. With COFCO NHRI agreeing to lend R&D resources and pilot opportunities, we hope we can make their road to success a bit smoother and faster, whether it’s from 0 to 1 or 1 to 100.”

Through the project, Bits x Bites will also aim to bring more creative start-ups and technologies into the COFCO organization.

Other partnerships

This is the second time that the food tech venture capitalist has announced a new partnership with a major food firm in the past one month.

It previously announced that they launched the China Food Tech Hub, to connect a consortium of industry big names, including General Mills, Coca-Cola, and Danone with start-ups.

In this case, the technologies that are sought after could be anything from the upstream services, such as precision agriculture, midstream services such as novel ingredients to downstream services such as smart retail.

To date, Bits x Bites has funded Chinese and international companies advancing technology from gene editing to cellular agriculture to clean-protein pet food to smart packaging and low-GI rice.

On the other hand, COFCO NHRI previously signed an agreement with iCarbonX to further research on blood glucose management and other big data collection to build an accurate blood glucose management model for specific groups of consumers.

Related topics: China

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