Fi Europe Innovation Awards: Recognising innovative ingredient solutions at Fi Europe 2021

6 Dec 2021

The Fi Europe Innovation Awards recognise ground-breaking work in food and beverage ingredients at the annual Fi Europe, co-located with Hi Europe, event. This year has featured some outstanding ingredients and concepts in the fields of health, sustainability, plant-based, sensory and technology innovation.

For jury chair Prof Colin Dennis, who is also Chair of the Board of Trustees of both IFIS and the British Nutrition Foundation, and his jury of industry professionals from consultancy, management, product development and journalism, choosing the winners was particularly challenging this year given the excellence of the entries.

Fi Europe Innovation Awards: Recognising innovative ingredient solutions at Fi Europe 2021

"We have seen many evidence-based, top-quality submissions“, he says. “This means the benefits of an ingredient or concept have been either scientifically proven, or convincing from a technological standpoint, or from a solid analysis of production costs and economic viability."

Bunge Loders Croklaan received the Clean Label & Natural Innovation Award for their product, Karibon, their first cocoa butter equivalent (CBE) that is 100% shea-based. Dr Ing Renee Boerefijn, Director Innovation EMEA, says that in addition to being clean label, their ingredient also contributes to environmental and social sustainability.

Chr. Hansen A/S received the Food Tech Innovation Award for its FreshQ® food cultures. By enabling fermentation-based biological protection against yeast and moulds without any undesirable sensory effects and acidity development, it assists producers to prolong shelf-life and quality, naturally.

NutriLeads received the Health Innovation Award for BeniCaros™, a proprietary ingredient developed for immune health. According to CEO, Erik Dam, their ingredient addresses several consumer trends all at once, with its circular economy of using carrot juice by-products as well as it’s scientifically backed evidence of accelerating the immune response.

DSM received the Plant-based Innovation Award for Maxavor® Fish YE. This natural fish flavour is derived from algal oil, and assists in the production of authentic fish alternatives, including vegetarian fish nuggets and vegan fish sauce.

AAK received the Sensory Innovation Award for AkoBisc® GO! The innovative strengths of this biscuit fat lie not only with its ability to provide sensory enhancements of baked goods while also significantly simplifying the various production steps, as well as in its sustainability scores, as according to Alberto Rosado, Global Innovations Manager Bakery.

Fonterra Cooperative Group/NZMP received the Sustainability Innovation Award for tackling climate change with the recent launch of its first carbonzero™ certified ingredient – Organic Butter.

Dr Ing Renee Boerefijn, Director Innovation EMEA at Bunge Loders Croklaan, says the award is vital confirmation that the company‘s innovation really is of great value to the food industry. “Until now, only blends of shea and palm oil were available as an alternative to cacao butter,“ he says. “With Karibon, we can offer a pure shea ingredient for chocolate bars, coatings and other applications. Our suppliers are women's cooperatives from West Africa who collect shea to provide additional income for their families. Our ingredient is clean label while contributing to environmental and social sustainability.“

For Erik Dam, CEO at NutriLeads, the award honours the intensive development work undertaken by his firm in recent years. “We are a small team and have only been on the market since 2012,“ he explains. “The fact that we now hold an Fi Innovation Award in our hands with our very first product is wonderful recognition of our efforts. BeniCaros™ is derived from by-products of carrot juice production and scientifically proven to accelerate the immune response, therefore addressing several consumer trends at once."

Alberto Rosado, Global Innovations Manager Bakery at AAK, says it’s marvellous to receive such positive endorsement for their ingredient from the panel of industry professionals. “This award recognizes the innovative strength of AkoBisc® GO! which not only scores in terms of sustainability, but also provides sensory enhancement of baked goods while significantly simplifying the various production steps," he says.

The Fi Innovation Awards Ceremony was held live at the Innovation Hub at Fi Europe 2021, co-located with Hi Europe, on 30 November 2021, and was also streamed to Fi Europe Online.

In case you’ve missed it, you can watch the Awards Ceremony here

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