Food innovation to benefit from new EU initiative

Food and and drink innovation could benefit from a new EU initiative

Leading food companies, including PepsiCo and French foodservice firm Sodexo, have joined a pan-European partnership to boost innovation, growth and job creation.

The initiative from the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), called EIT Food, will be operated by a consortium of 50 partners from 13 countries, called FoodConnects, which includes PepsiCo, Fraunhofer in Germany, the University of Cambridge, University of Reading, the Polish Academy of Science, Robert Bosch, the Autonomous University of Madrid and Sodexo.

The vision of the initiative is to put Europe at the centre of a global revolution in food innovation and production.

The partnership aims to boost the skills and entrepreneurial spirit in the sector, unlock the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises, while accelerating innovation and boosting job creation.

Boosting job creation

EIT Food has said it will support the creation of 350 start-ups within seven years and has pledged to train over 10,000 graduates.

It also plans to develop 290 new or improved products, services and processes by 2024 and decrease greenhouse-gas emissions in the European food system by 40% by 2030.

To facilitate the initiative’s launch, the EIT will provide a start-up grant of up to 4M. Provided that the organisation achieves the expected results, EIT Food could receive funding of about 400M from the EIT over the coming years.

It is also expected to attract significant funding from other sources of private and public sector investment.

‘Keeping Europe competitive’

Tibor Navracsics, EU commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, responsible for the EIT, welcomed the announcement: “Innovation and education have a crucial role in helping us tackle the big societal challenges of today and tomorrow and keeping Europe competitive in the global race.

“Ensuring that Europe’s citizens have access to safe, high-quality, sustainably produced food is one of these big challenges.

“I am therefore very pleased to see the EIT getting this strategic partnership underway. With the support and funding of the EIT, EIT Food has a great opportunity to attract the best researchers, students and entrepreneurs.”

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