‘Gateway to Asia’: Future Food Asia 2023 seeks to attract international food firms to accelerate regional innovation

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

FFA 2023 has revealed a whole new awards track targeting start-ups based outside APAC. ©Future Food Asia
FFA 2023 has revealed a whole new awards track targeting start-ups based outside APAC. ©Future Food Asia

Related tags Asia Future Food Asia

Organisers of the Future Food Asia (FFA) Awards 2023 have revealed a whole new awards track targeting start-ups based outside APAC, hoping that this will bring more expertise and technologies into the region.

Entries are now open for FFA 2023, where start-ups will compete for a US$100,000 grand prize to further develop groundbreaking innovations and create a safer, more secure food system for the APAC region.

This will be the seventh edition of the Future Food Asia Awards, and previously entries were always only open to APAC-based food firms – but this year the organisers ID Capital have announced an additional new awards track for firms based outside of the region,.

“There is no doubt a lot of food and agri innovation that is happening in Asia as evidenced by the many entries we have received over the years, but this is still considerably slow, small and distributed,”​ ID Capital COO Vandana Dhaul told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“What Asia needs right now is to be able to have that expedited – and in various ways, there are some start-ups that are already successful doing many things outside of Asia, so if we can bring them in and apply their technologies here, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

“It is much faster and makes more prudent sense to bring them here than recreate the same things ourselves here – so there’s of course the caveat that not every technology doing well in Europe or the US will be applicable or have the same success here in Asia, so this is one way we can also identify the best solutions that are already successful and also practical to be transferred over here.

“At the crux of the matter is that the FFA lens will always be focused on the Asia Pacfic region, and the introduction of this new awards track is to help the sector here grow at an even faster rate than before.”

Non-APAC start-ups that apply for this award track – dubbed ‘Gateway to Asia’ – will be in line competing for a collaboration award with ID Capital and its partners, which will include support and assistance to help with strategising and identifying market opportunities, regulatory requirements, R&D, collaboration opportunities, production partners and potential clients in the region.

“As such, the requirements for non-APAC start-ups to apply are a bit stricter – these need to be later-stage firms that have at least already completed their Series A fundraising, and have some existing operations in APAC or concrete plans to start operations in APAC,”​ Dhaul added.

“What we offer is the opportunity to leverage on the networks and partner collaborations we have already built, which can help to ease entry and growth into APAC for a firm that is not from the region.”

All startups, both in and out of APAC, must have completed proof of concept to be considered eligible to apply, and applications for the awards can be submitted here​.

Big names and bigger discussions

This year’s event will feature United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) Chief Scientist Dr Ismahane Elouafi as the Guest of Honour​, and is supported by ID Capital partner organisations Cargill, Buhler and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

Another new format that will be implemented this year will be two roundtables for industry leader discussions – one Chief Technology Officer track, and one Chief Sustainability Officer and impact investors track - hoped to catalyse debates and ideas on practical industry collaborations.

“It is becoming more imperative that we explore collaborative solutions to Asia's most pressing food system challenges [to] harness access to shared resources and ideas outside of [any single] corporation's area of expertise,”​ Buhler CTO Dr Ian Roberts added.

“The roundtables will facilitate constructive engagement between key decision makers from leading food corporations [to] unlock solutions and innovate together in a broader, inclusive way.”

The roundtables will be exclusive, invite-only events taking place on the first half of the first day of the conference, which will then be followed by the conference proper which is opened to the public in the afternoon.

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