Informa Markets announced the winners of this year’s Fi Innovation Awards at a ceremony held at the Panorama Hall, Messe Frankfurt. The Fi Innovation Awards celebrate the people, businesses and organizations breaking new ground and driving positive change in the F&B industry, giving them the credit they deserve for their achievements. They are judged by a panel of esteemed industry professionals presided over by Prof. Colin Dennis, chair of the board of trustees at IFIS and the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF).

This year, 20 finalists were shortlisted across six categories. On judging day, November 27, each finalist was invited to present to the panel and the judges assessed each nomination behind closed doors to reach a decision. 

The 2023 winners and “highly commended” entrants were as follows:

  • Sustainability Innovation Award: Ofi (winner) for its efforts to advance climate action through its Carbon Scenario Planner (CSP); KOA (highly commended) for its efforts to introduce a new ingredient to the value chain by upcycling cocoa pulp.
  • Plant-based Innovation Award: Hi-Food & Alianza Team (winner) for Mirror Tissue, a range of oil-based emulsions that are designed to mimic the functional, structural, and sensory attributes of animal fats; ChickP Protein (winner) for its functional pure 90% isolate chickpea protein.
  • Sensory Innovation Award: Corbion (winner) for PURAC Powder MAX, an ingredient range that allows manufacturers to make acid panned and tablet confections with a superior sour taste; AAK (highly commended) for CEBESTM Choco 15, an ingredient that improves the cocoa flavor in cocoa butter substitutes.
  • Health Innovation Award: MycoTech (winner) for FermentIQ PTP, a shiitake fermented pea and rice protein powder that helps unlock the nutritional potential of plant proteins.
  • Food Tech Innovation Award: FrieslandCampina Professional (winner): for its Kievit Vana Cappa X01 Foam Booster, which produces nitrogen bubbles at high pressure in powdered form and allows consumers to create a frothy cappuccino coffee instantly; NIZO (highly commended) for its biopurification process, a novel approach to removing unwanted molecules such as off-flavors from plant-based proteins using lactic acid bacteria or yeasts.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Innovation Award: Solidaridad (winner) for its efforts to promote women in farming through its Feminization of Agriculture Supply Chains; Cargill (highly commended) for its Program Awalé 2.0, which empowers women and young entrepreneurs in Côte d’Ivoire.

Startup Innovation Challenge: giving startups a step up

Now in its eighth edition, the Startup Innovation Challenge awards program champions innovation in F&B ingredients and technology, providing a unique platform for young companies to gain exposure to a global audience, attract investment and showcase their products and ideas to influential industry players. 

The final round of judging took place at the Movenpick Hotel on November 27 when 20 finalists presented their innovative ingredients and disruptive foodtech to a panel of expert judges. On the November 28, they were given the opportunity to pitch again—this time in front of the Fi Europe audience live on the show floor at the Innovation Hub. The winners were subsequently announced at a ceremony that took place within the hub. 

The 2023 winners were as follows:  

  • Most Innovative Food & Beverage Ingredient: EQUII 
  • Most Innovative Plant-Based or Alternative Ingredient: Arkeon
  • Most Innovative Processing Technology or Technology Platform: NIUM
  • Most Innovative Service or AI Solution Supporting the F&B Industry: Deep Detection
  • Most Innovative Sustainable Solution (Jury's Choice award): Planet A Foods and WNWN Food Labs (two winners in the same category for the first time in this competition)