ICL launches new hub to support growth of innovative food and beverage startups

ISRAEL –  ICL Group, An Israeli global specialty minerals and chemicals company, has launched a new startup hub is designed to propel innovative food tech and agri-tech start-ups to the market.

Dubbed ICL Planet, the new startup hub also aims to provide enterprises with a broad network of support, including investment and mentorship.

According to a statement from the company, ICL Planet is designed to benefit both early-stage, pilot-ready start-ups and more mature, market-ready start-ups.

The new start-up hub will center activities on two core areas of competency. The first will focus on crop nutrition, such as organic fertilizers, nutrient use efficiency, biostimulants, micronutrients and nitrogen fixation.

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The second will focus on food tech start-ups active in alternative proteins, natural ingredients, plant-based functional ingredients, and white biotechnology that can demonstrate a measurable positive environmental impact.

“The start-up hub is not a classic accelerator. It is a new structure in our corporation that has value both to our innovation and to building our business,” explained Hadar Sutovsky, VP of external innovation and general manager of ICL Planet.

“We seek start-ups aligned with our organization on sustainability values and product direction.”

According to ICL, the goal is to “synergize efforts and know-how to meet the fundamental needs of our customers and to work together to solve key challenges in the food and Agri industries.”

“Start-ups that join us benefit from our corporation’s accrued wisdom and advanced infrastructure and to attain a fast-track route to commercialization,” Sutovsky added.

By conducting a pilot with a start-up, large organizations in F&B industry can mitigate risk through a small, controlled test of existing technology applied to their customers, and start to show the exciting opportunities that are possible.

Sutovsky believes these collaborations are critical in driving innovation in the food and beverage sector.

“Start-ups and F&B company collaborations can infuse the industry with the methods, tools and mindsets to increase the responsiveness, risk-taking and agility that can drive F&B disruption from within,” she explains.

ICL joins a growing list of food companies that are adopting the startup collaboration model to drive innovation in the food industry.

Earlier in May, American retail company, Kroger set aside US$2.5 million to fund startups with innovative solutions to tackle the food waste problem.

Other companies such as General Millks, Kellogg, Hershey, and Tyson Foods also have fully fledged venture capital arms that collaborate with startups in their respective market segments.

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