Innovators present bright ideas to world-leading firms at pitching event

Eighteen innovators presented their ideas when the Open Innovation Forum held its second pitching event.

The event, hosted at Colworth Park in Bedfordshire on October 14, saw participants from start-ups, spin-outs, SMEs and universities present their ideas to an audience of senior leaders and decision-makers from all 17 Forum members, including Bacardi, GSK, Mars, PepsiCo, Tate&Lyle and Unilever, all with an interest in the food and FMCG sectors.



Upcoming: Open Innovation Forum Food & FMCG Pitching Event 2014

Request a Pitch Deadline: 19 October (Pitching Event 19 November)



Dominic Oughton said the areas the companies were particularly interested in included enhanced consumer experience; improved health and nutrition; more sustainable packaging processing; and extended shelf life and freshness.


Ideas were presented as a five-minute pitch followed by a Q&A session. These included methods of determining the freshness of food products, anti-counterfeiting technology, products to reduce glucose peaks after meals and instrumentation to provide for rapid feedback of process information to help companies reduce waste.


Using a points system, pitchers were judged on their degree of innovation, if their idea addressed the companies’ innovation needs, and how much scope it had for commercialisation.


The event’s winner was Bactest, a Cambridge-based company that has developed a portable precision respirometer, the Speedy Breedy, to test for microbial contamination of food and liquid. It can be used in-situ and there is no delay in transporting samples to and from the lab with the associated risk of mislabelling and incorrect reporting of results.


The four highly commended runners-up were:

  • Phynova – an Oxfordshire life sciences company with research labs in China that has developed a natural, plant-derived ingredient that significantly decreases blood glucose peaks after carbohydrate-rich rich meals.
  • Insignia Technologies – a firm based in Scotland involved in producing intelligent inks and pigments for colour-changing labels on food packaging to allow the consumer to see if the product is past its best.
  • Food Forensics – a Norwich-based company that uses stable isotope ratio analysis to give food and drink an “environmental fingerprint” to verify details about the products such as geographical origin and method of production.
  • ilumink – a University of Cambridge spin-out firm that is building on world-leading breakthroughs in printable laser materials to develop unique anti-counterfeiting and brand authentication approaches on surfaces including paper, plastic and metal.

All participants had the chance to meet the Forum companies during the day, and start conversations which may help them develop or commercialise their product. The pitching event was the second held by the Forum – the inaugural one was held in March at the Hauser Forum.


This latest pitching event was preceded in the morning by Insights and Innovation in FMCG, an event hosted by Colworth Park featuring a number of speakers from the food and FMCG sectors.


Find out more here about the Forum.




Date published

28 October 2013

Share This