The new edition of Food 4 Future was the setting for the Foodtech Innovation Awards 2024, the annual awards that recognize the leadership of those companies that are increasing their reputation with the most innovative initiatives in terms of technology, sustainability, circular packaging and smart logistics in the food industry. The awards ceremony brought together leading companies in the sector, associations, and public administrations to reward de most innovative solutions in the foodtech field. 

The first winner of the Foodtech Innovation Awards 2024, which had more than 150 nominations, was Agricolus, which received the Tecnalia Award for the Most Innovative Solution in Digitalization for the Food and Beverage Industry, for its digital platform that uses precision agriculture, with real-time data, to get the most out of crops. The finalists in this category were Hyperplan, for its solution that provides reliable and instantly available information on agricultural production; and Brainr, for its AI-based cloud platform for the food industry, which allows it to optimize its processes and manage factory operations in real-time.

The Maser Grup Award for the best healthy food project went to Genbioma, which has developed its first product that focuses on glucose control as a complementary approach to medication by balancing the intestinal microbiota. As finalists were Ninja Foods, for the edible and healthy ‘glue paste’ they have developed based on the Japanese food konnyaku, to bring together ingredients to create healthy snacks; and Nucaps, for the microencapsulated probiotic bacteria they have pioneered that improve digestive wellbeing and human health.

The AER Automation Award for the best automation and robotics solution for the food value chain went to Urtech Water, which has designed a unique technology based on photoelectrochemistry that saves up to 90% of water in the food industry. Beckhoff, with the decentralized MX-System that automates machines and installations, and Kisuitech, with the Adam autonomous work robot for orchard environments, were the finalists in this category.

The Basque Food Cluster Award for the innovation project for the packaging industry went to Pack2Earth and its first bio-based materials that are composted at room temperature to make packaging for dry to liquid products with a long shelf life, such as trays, bags, lids and cups. Vidrala, with its glass bottle that incorporates an ergonomic and aerodynamic design that allows better handling, and more efficient throughout the supply chain; and Bio2Coat, with its edible packaging with probiotics added in the formula, have become the runners-up of this award.

The CNTA Award for most innovative startup went to Alcheme Bio, pioneering ‘cellular flavoring’, which influences food to express its own flavors through a patented process using AI and machine learning that mimics the environments in which organisms grow in nature. The finalists were AOTECH, for applying the science of light (photonics) as a bridge to the digitalization of the food industry, leading to a more efficient and sustainable sector; and Urtech Water, for its technology that regenerates water in situ in industrial processes without the use of chemicals.

The ICEX Award for the Spanish startup with the greatest international projection went to Keepcool, which has innovated with technological solutions aimed at extending the shelf life of perishable products, avoiding more than 3.5 million kg of monthly waste, and potentially feeding 250,000 people a year. The finalists were Innomy, for fungal tissue cultures that have worked to create structures that replicate the fibrous and tender consistency of meat; and Pack2Earth, for food-grade compostable packaging designed for long-life dry and semi-liquid products.

Finally, the Agrobank Award for the best sustainability project highlighted the work of the Covap (Cooperativa Ganadera del Valle de los Pedroches), for the Environmental Policy it has promoted, based on decarbonization, energy efficiency and the circularity of resources. The finalists for this award were Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, for the strategic plan to reduce the use of water in production processes and to protect water sources; and CuonCrop, for the My-Eco-Ruler service, which enables ecological indicators of food products or initiatives led by companies and communities to be measured, analyzed and communicated.