University of Cambridge

Courses and Events

Open Innovation Forum Food & FMCG Pitching Event
Taking place at Food Matters Live, London
Tuesday 17 November 2015
Calling all innovators and technology spin-outs, start-ups and SMEs. Pitch your idea or business to some of the world's largest food and FMCG companies. Deadline for pitch entries is 23 October.

Major food and FMCG companies such as Mars, Unilever, General Mills, Tesco, Moy Park and Crown Packaging are seeking innovative solutions to business challenges. Click here for a prioritised list of the 50 innovation areas identified by OI Forum members. Solutions are welcome from all sectors of the innovation community – from innovative companies, entrepreneurs, start-ups and university spin-offs - with new ideas that can meet their innovation needs.


Up to 15 researchers, innovators and technology developers from the UK and beyond will have the chance to pitch their ideas to the Open Innovation (OI) Forum at the Food & FMCG Innovation Pitching Event.

  • Request a pitch deadline 23 October 2015
  • Pitching event will be held on Tuesday 17 November at Food Matters Live, ExCel, London

The event is free to enter and all participating pitches will be circulated to OI Forum members, whether they are shortlisted or not. Winners will receive a certificate and trophy, as well as the opportunity to present their ideas and products in front of a panel of key decision-makers and ‘innovation scouts’ from important food and FMCG firms.


Previous events have been held at Colworth Park, IfM and at the 2014 Food Matters Live event.


You could be pitching to key decision-makers from these companies:

Global brand owners

Britvic, General Mills, Heineken, Mars, Moy Park, PepsiCo and Unilever





Packaging suppliers

Crown and RPC


Ingredients and materials suppliers

DSM, Cargill, and Treatt


Process equipment suppliers

Baker Perkins, Buhler and Domino


The panel members are all senior leaders and decision-makers in their companies, whose main job role is to scout for and acquire innovation and technology from outside their organisations either through licensing, acquisition, research funding or other mechanisms.


Who are searching for innovation partners in the following areas:

Life sciences

Including ingredients, health, food safety, preservatives and synthetic biology



Including packaging materials, waste reduction and sustainability


Including customisation, batch-of-one and novel food processing

IT / electronics

Including smart packaging, communications, tagging & ID and E-science

Marketing and business models

Including social media, digital marketing and new business models


The format
The shortlisted companies will pitch to a panel of OI Forum members. Each company will be given five minutes to pitch, followed by five minutes Q & A. The shortlisted companies will be invited to attend the whole OI Forum day (otherwise restricted to OI Forum members) which will provide valuable insights into how large companies approach innovation as well as opportunities to network. This will include a free morning’s seminar looking at what Open Innovation means from the perspective of large and small companies, investors and legal advisers.

Shortlisted companies will also receive a certificate as a Shortlisted Innovator.


The winners
After the pitches, the panel will choose winners and highly commended organisations and each will receive a certificate and trophy.

All entrants
All entries will be circulated to OI Forum members, whether they are shortlisted or not.


Who should enter?

This event is for academics, researchers, innovators and technology developers and providers. It is not open to intermediaries or consultants unless, of course, they have an innovation or technology to ‘pitch’.

Entrants should be spin-outs, start-ups, SMEs, university departments, academics and researchers with near-market innovation potential.



Shortlisted companies will be invited to give a five-minute pitch at the event, followed by five minutes of Q&A with the panel and a brief feedback from an appointed spokesperson. The panel will view and score all pitches, and select the category winners.

  • 12:00 Registration and buffet lunch
  • 12:45 Introductions / process for the day
  • 13:00 Round 1 pitches
  • 14:00 Break
  • 14:15 Round 2 pitches 
  • 15:15 Refreshment break
  • 15:30 Round 3 pitches
  • 16:30 Closing remarks
  • 16:45 Networking drinks reception – chance for “Pitchers” to meet the panel of OI Forum members (and each other)
  • 17:45 Awards presentation to winners
  • 18:00 Close


How to enter

Complete the online entry form to describe your company background, innovative solution, which of the identified needs you are addressing and your technology readiness.

Applications for the competition are free and must be submitted by 23 October 2015. Shortlisted companies will be notified by 30 October 2015.



About the OI Forum

The University of Cambridge Open Innovation Forum was set up in 2010 by IfM Education and Consultancy Services, (IfM ECS), the dissemination arm of the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing, to provide support and opportunities for companies involved in the Food and FMCG value chain. Find out more here.

Linked In Facebook Twitter You Tube IfM RSS Events Feed