Dr Christine Pitt, CEO of the Food Futures Company, at the launch of the Mars Seeds of Change Accelerator. Source: supplied
Global food giant Mars is launching a food accelerator in Australia and the US and is now on the hunt for early-stage food-focused companies with an emphasis on healthier and more sustainable products.
The Seeds of Change Accelerator, run in partnership with Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL), will select six Australian companies, offering them a grant of up to AU$40,000 as part of a four-month program to tackle their key challenges.
The program includes workshops alongside access to a panel of expert mentors and advisers.
Mars Food Australia GM Hamish Thomson, Dr Angeline Achariya, CEO of the Monash Food Innovation Centre; and Dr Martin Cole, Deputy Director of Food and Agriculture at CSIRO are among those offering their expertise.
Mars Food Australia has eight themes it’s looking at: sharing world flavours, easy-meal solutions, responsible food, creating with care, better for you, plant-based eating, accessing Asia and food manufacturing and value chain transformation.
Peter Crane, Mars Food Australia’s R&D Director and the accelerator’s program mentor said the company wants to nurture the next generation of food innovators and create healthier, easier and tastier food.
“This accelerator is a first for Mars, but we hope we can share some of the lessons we have learnt along the way and, in turn, would be delighted to learn ourselves from the start-ups we are lucky enough to work with,” he said.
Mars is best known for pet food, and brands such as Masterfoods, Uncle Ben’s and Dolmio. Seeds of Change has been around as a Mars organic seed and food brand in the US for three decades; it launched in Australia earlier this year. The company will also offer its accelerator program to six startups in the US.
FIAL, the not-for-profit partnering with Mars, is a government-backed venture charged with driving innovation in the food and agribusiness sectors.
Chairman Peter Schutz said any agri-food businesses wanting to contribute to a more healthy and sustainable future for Australia should apply for the program.
Applications for the Seeds of Change Accelerator are now open online here. They close on Friday, 19 July.