Ahead of this year’s Start-up Innovation Challenge we interviewed Marc Arts, Founder and Managing Director GreenFood50 to gain some insight into the progress they have made since winning the Best Natural Ingredients Award last year.
The Start-up Innovation Challenge held at Hi Europe 2016 gathered a group of exciting and promising young companies. The panel of judges composed of industry experts decided that it was GreenFood50 that were worthy to take home the Best Natural Ingredients Award. A year later they are joining us at Fi Europe to share their start-up success story with the start-ups competing at this year's challenge.
How has GreenFood50 grown and progressed since winning the Natural Ingredients award at the Hi Europe last year?
"Winning the Natural Ingredients award has given us great international exposure. We have welcomed many new customers and rapidly extended our quinoa ingredients portfolio. As price for winning the award Naturex supported us to develop exciting quinoa based prototypes at their advanced application lab in Avignon. For example clean label quinoa energy balls and quinoa protein shakes. We use these advanced prototypes to inspire customers to develop quinoa based products themselves."
Sustainability and health is at the heart of your business, these are also leading trends in the food industry as a whole. How do you manage to differentiate yourself from your competitors?
"We combine sustainability and health in all aspects of our business. We for example do not use additives and preservatives. We also apply mild processing conditions to ensure that native nutrients remain while we use a minimum amount of water and energy. Our facilities in Wageningen are based in a building which meets the highest sustainability standard."
GreenFood50 has taken quinoa and developed it for many different applications. What’s so special about this ingredient? What were some of the challenges you faced when developing your products?
"Our quinoa ingredients have a unique combination of marketing, nutritional, functional and processing benefits. The main challenge was to develop ingredients which are able to address customer needs in all four areas. We have also developed advanced tools which help our customers to use our quinoa ingredients in a wide application range."
As a company you partner with established food companies and networks, such as Wageningen University & Research Centre. How important is it for a start-up to have a wide range of partnerships?
"For a start-up it is crucial to establish partnerships. For example our partnerships with Wageningen University & Research and other leading international research organizations, ensure that we are able to apply the latest technologies and know-how in our quinoa ingredients. Our partnership with the Dutch Olympic Training Center ensures that we are able to fulfill consumer needs at the highest level."
In your mission it states that, GreenFood50 develops its produce for the growing world population. Why is that so important to you?
"This century the world population will grow in average with 50 million people every year. That’s where the 50 comes from in our company name. We want to contribute to sufficient tasty, sustainable and healthy food for everyone."
What advice can you give for start-ups that are trying to make it in the natural ingredient industry?
"My main advice is to focus all development efforts on a specific natural ingredient, so that the start-up will be recognized by customers as an innovative frontrunner."