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UK: Hydroponic growers among Food Innovation Network Award winners

From bringing pickled eggs to the people to growing greenery under Glasgow Central Station, the 10 SMEs given the first-ever Food Innovation Network Awards in Manchester represented a diverse range of nutritional solutions.

The awards took place during the Food Industry Innovation 2018 event; which focused on enhanced food quality, with a showcase of Innovate UK-funded projects in the post-farm gate food supply chain, and a discussion of the challenges and opportunities involved in a safe and efficient supply chain; the optimisation of food composition; innovation in food processing and manufacturing and waste valorisation.

The awards were announced after 15 finalists had presented their pitches to a panel of leading food and drink industry experts for the chance to win a share of £50,000 funding.

Food and farming minister George Eustice said: “I want to congratulate the winners of the first Food Innovation Network fund, which will support small businesses, become more competitive, profitable and resilient – delivering innovations from the laboratory to the consumer.”



The award-winners were:
  • Afrique FoodPro – powdered mix for bean fritters, with an estimated market value of £200,000 per year.
  • Booch & Brine, Scale up Kombucha! – a project that aims to scale up production and benefit other UK SMEs via knowledge transfer to academia.
  • The Cheshire Saffron Company – using hydroponic techniques to grow saffron more efficiently.
  • Crafty Tech Ltd – aiming to transform the effectiveness of conveyor belts to enhance the production line.
  • Central Stems – based underground beneath Glasgow Central Station, Central Stems will trial food production using hydroponics and natural composting to address food waste and agricultural emissions.
  • Drink Baotic – validating the digestive benefits of Baotic.
  • LA Brewery – producing non-alcoholic kombucha drinks with a long shelf life.
  • PyroGenesys Ltd – converting energy from waste by-products to animal feed ingredients.
  • Purely Pickled Eggs Ltd – finding novel ways of packaging pickled eggs.
  • Scratch Meals Ltd – healthy pies with sustainable packaging.
Source: Innovate UK

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