Tesco and WWF – an environmental charity – have announced the five start-ups that will have the chance to test and scale their green-thinking food supply chain ideas in conjunction with the supermarket chain.
Innovation Connections is a new accelerator programme created by Tesco and WWF which pairs start-ups with Tesco suppliers to fast-track innovation in the supply chain. Finalists pitched their ideas in front of a panel of experts from Tesco and WWF on 6 May, with five projects each awarded funding of up to £150,000.
Subject to a detailed project proposal and funding agreement being finalised, the winning ideas – all centred on making the food supply chain more sustainable – will now see their innovations trialled in the Tesco supply chain.
Tesco and WWF said they hope these pilots will help to scale up new ideas and technology and help them to become more widely adopted in food supply chains.
The winning five start-ups, which had to pitch their ideas alongside existing Tesco suppliers, are below:
- AgriSound & AM Fresh (Tesco fruit supplier) – technology that uses bioacoustics to monitor pollinators and pest levels on farm to help farmers protect biodiversity and increase produce yields.
- Chirrup.ai & Hilton (Tesco meat and fish supplier) – a monitoring system that uses birdsong as a science-based biodiversity indicator in grassland farming.
- CCm, Andermatt, Farm Carbon Toolkit & Branston (Tesco potato supplier) – a demonstration of low carbon fertilisers to reduce the carbon footprint of potato production.
- Farm Carbon Toolkit & Produce World (Tesco produce supplier) – advanced carbon footprint software for horticultural growers to analyse and reduce their emissions and increase carbon sequestration on farm, whilst also identifying cost savings and efficiencies.
- Future by Insects & Hilton (Tesco meat and fish supplier) – creation of circular fish feed using food waste to grow microalgae to feed fish.
Giles Bolton, responsible sourcing director at Tesco, and judging panel member, said: “To create a food system that provides healthy, sustainable and affordable food for all, the whole sector needs to find ways to innovate fast.
“The quality of the joint pitches at our Innovation Connections event was extremely high and showed the breadth of innovation that is already going on in our food system. We’re delighted to be announcing five worthy winners and seeing the impact they can make by supporting them to scale up in our supply chain.”
David Edwards, Director of Food Strategy at WWF, and another judge for the accelerator scheme, added: “In a climate and nature crisis, we urgently need to find more sustainable ways to grow enough affordable food for everyone.
“The winning projects represent huge potential to help create a food system that restores nature and protects our climate.”
[Image credit: Tesco]