Expanding its commitment to innovation in the food industry, Nestlé has teamed up with Rabobank and Rocketspace to support startups through the Terra Food + Agtech Accelerator Program. The food giant will collaborate with Terra to select and coach the most forward-thinking and disruptive startups in the food and agricultural industries.
Nestlé will provide support to 20 startups selected from more than 1,000 applications over the duration of the two six-month accelerator programs. The startups will work to uncover new and improved ways to produce, sell and distribute food, with the ultimate goal of developing healthier and more sustainable products that enhance the quality of people’s lives.
“We’re experiencing a seismic shift in the food industry and our partnership with Terra by Rabobank and RocketSpace is just one way in which Nestlé can play a leading role in meeting quickly evolving consumer expectations and explore new disruptive technologies and business models,” said Rui Barbas, Chief Strategy Officer at Nestlé USA. “When we combine the resources of Nestlé with the creativity and new thinking born from the startup culture, we can create real change in our industry and best deliver on consumer needs.”
This isn’t the first time Nestlé has tapped new thinking from outside the organization to keep at the forefront of technology in order deliver on its nutrition, health, wellness and sustainability promises. In 2013, the food and beverage giant launched the Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost (SVIO) in the San Francisco Bay Area — one of the most innovative hubs in the world. At SVIO, an experienced and cross-functional marketing and technical team works with promising early stage entrepreneurs to rapidly build, test and deploy new value-added services and solutions for Nestlé’s consumers around the world.
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“Our goals at the SVIO include providing entrepreneurs with access to the expertise and nutritional know-how that Nestlé has developed over its 150-year history,” said Mark Brodeur, VP of Digital Innovation at Nestlé. “In exchange, Nestlé will have the ability to learn from and co-create with entrepreneurs. That’s why partnerships like ours with Terra make so much sense for both Nestlé and those with whom we collaborate.”
“Our partnership with Nestlé builds on its 150-year history of continuously seeking ways to contribute to a healthier future, not only through its products, but in the way it conducts business globally,” said Duncan Logan, RocketSpace CEO. “Through its commitment to open innovation, Nestlé is adopting and driving new progressive strategies to address the profound changes shaping the food and beverage industry today.”
Terra enables innovation by connecting global brands such as Nestlé with startups to work on real-life product testing and go-to-market solutions. Terra immerses participants in the innovation process, helps guide their products’ evolution and provides real-time feedback throughout the pilot testing. Nestlé says it was drawn to the success and experience of Terra co-creators RocketSpace and Rabobank.
“The complementary capabilities of everyone involved are extremely exciting,” said Manuel Gonzalez, Global Head of F&A Innovation at Rabobank. “Combining Nestlé’s experience in nutrition, health and wellness with RocketSpace’s well known accelerator acumen within the startup community, we expect dynamic results from the collaboration.”
Registration for companies interested in taking part in the Food + Ag Tech Accelerator is now open. The first of two Nestlé-hosted Terra programs will be selected in fall 2017. The call for applications for the second cohort will open in early 2018.