2021: A taste of the future

2021: A taste of the future

Dear Reader,

As we enter a new period and welcome 2021, we’re taking a few minutes to reflect back on an unprecedented first year. As for many others, the Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley expected 2020 to go quite differently. 

Not so long ago, our schedules were filled with in-person events and meetings with many of you across the country and around the globe. These plans quickly changed due to the current pandemic. But innovation never sleeps and instead, we’ve had to pleasure to connect with many of you through video calls, webinars, as well as our first General Assembly which was a first step towards gathering the Swiss food ecosystem under one – albeit virtual – roof.

The pandemic has also been revealing. On the one hand, we’ve accelerated the need to transition to a more resilient food system, locally and across the globe. On the other hand, it’s highlighted consumers’ willingness to change their habits towards healthier and more sustainable practices. These developments further underline the relevance and necessity of initiatives such as the SFNV.

We’d like to thank you for your part in keeping Switzerland’s food innovation ecosystem growing; and to all of our new members who have joined us in our mission to establish Switzerland as a global food and nutrition innovation hub.

Wishing you a very happy new year and look forward to continuing the discussion with many of you in 2021,

Christian Schwab, EPFL
President of the Executive Committee
Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley

Our goals for 2021 :

Key Objectives

To contribute to solving some of the most pressing food-related global issues.

To attract further talent, start-ups and investments, as well as connecting existing actors.

To establish Switzerland as a world reference in sustainable food and nutrition innovation. 

Levels of Action

We Foster Ecosystems

We strengthen and promote the Swiss food innovation ecosystem by uniting key stakeholders, enabling collaboration and attracting talent, startups and investment to Switzerland.

To Advance Innovation

We create content and establish project plans to address major challenges in food, nutrition and agriculture, from a sustainability perspective, using cutting-edge science and technology.

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Aquantis: Developing sensors for inline quality control and process monitoring

Aquantis: Developing sensors for inline quality control and process monitoring

Aquantis is a Swiss company specialized in innovative sensors based on electromagnetic wave technologies. 

 

Variations in raw materials or external factors may result in unwanted effects on a food product quality. Regular or continuous process monitoring is critical to ensure the quality standards are met and maintained. Based at the EPFL Innovation Park, in Lausanne (Canton of Vaud), Aquantis investigates and develops new inline sensor solutions using micro and millimeter wave technologies.

The company provides innovative inline sensor solutions for various applications including freezing, moisture and particle size determination. Their product portfolio includes both atline and inline monitoring solutions for solid and liquid products. 

Widely applicable to various materials and processes, Aquantis’s technology allows to evaluate both the surface and the inside of the products, including the determination of:

 

Find out more:

As a service, the startup also provide project-based feasibility studies and more extensive evaluations to further optimise production processes. 

Aquantis SA
EPFL Innovation Park
Bâtiment C, 1015 Lausanne.

Info@aquantis.org

Prof. Jacques-E. Moser
je.moser@epfl.ch

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In Molondin, the Agropôle is building an international innovation campus for 2025.

In Molondin, the Agropôle is building an international innovation campus for 2025.

In Molondin (State of Vaud), the Agropôle has been developing its new campus to further innovation in food and agriculture. This week, they unveiled their goals and targets for 2025.

Build an internationally renowned innovation campus by 2025

Their objectives are clear: start-ups, SMEs and industries must be able to find in the Agropôle an accelerator, enabling them to create, implement and disseminate their innovations with agility and at a lower cost. All this for the benefit of the environment, the economy and consumers. 

Currently under development with completion date set for 2025, the new concept is positioning itself as a Swiss campus of excellence in the industrialisation and marketing of innovative agri-food products. A role it plays in pursuing the United Nations’ objectives for sustainable development :

SDG Target 9: Society Democratize Solutions 
The role of the Agropôle is to democratize the sustainable solutions of tomorrow, all for the benefit of the actors in the agri-food value chain and consumers.

SDG Target 13: Climate Carbon Footprint
The agri-food sector has a major impact in terms of CO2 reduction. The Agropôle site is designed to meet greenhouse gas reduction standards.

SDG Target 8: Economic Growth
The Agropôle platform is an accelerator for the development of cleantech solutions useful to the agri-food industry, to promote sustainable business models.

SDG Target 17: Community Development
The Agropôle works in collaboration with existing actors, whether public, private, research-related or entrepreneurial, in Switzerland and abroad.

Innovation in the agri-food sector is our concrete objective to ensure the sustainability of the sector, preserve the environment and ensure food sovereignty.

The Agropôle

Learn more on www.agropole.ch

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ADM Switzerland wins Fi Europe Innovation Awards for its new alt-protein ingredient made out of peas.

ADM Switzerland wins Fi Europe Innovation Awards for its new alt-protein ingredient made out of peas.

Winning in best Ingredient Innovation this year, ADM’s ProFam Pea provides a cleaner, less bitter taste experience than other pea proteins and reduces the need for masking or top notes.

The plant-based boom is one of the top 2021 global industry trends identified by ADM, and it is reaching new heights in Europe where more than 50 percent of consumers identify as flexitarians. 

FI Europe Innovation Awards recognizes an organization or company that has submitted the best ingredient or process in terms of sensory and physical properties or application costs. Winning in best Ingredient Innovation this year, ADM’s ProFam Pea provides a cleaner, less bitter taste experience than other pea proteins and reduces the need for masking or top notes.

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EPFL Spin-off Plastogaz awarded CHF 85K to further its research in sustainable disposal of plastic waste

EPFL Spin-off Plastogaz awarded CHF 85K to further its research in sustainable disposal of plastic waste

Plastogaz, a spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), has developed a technology that uses powerful catalysts to selectively convert mixed plastics that cannot be recycled into methane.

Plastogaz is a technology company founded in 2020 that focuses on the development of new processes for the circular economy. Awarded CHF 85’000 by Tech4impact to further its research, the swiss startup is developing a technology that has the potential to considerably reduce the greenhouse gases resulting from the disposal of plastic waste (e.g. through incineration). 

Almost 100 project teams responded to the first call for proposals launched by Switzerland Innovation together with Tech4Impact and partners from the Swiss economy. Six projects were selected based on their degree of innovation, sustainability and technology. The topics addressed by the award-winning projects range from reducing water consumption to renewable heat generation and the improved usability of electronic waste. 

The Plastogaz™ process

The original Plastogaz technology transforms plastic waste into grid-compatible methane. The technology can be declined into other products for other markets. For instance, the startup claims is can also transform mixed plastics into naphtha, which is used in turn to produce new plastics. In the long term and thanks to it’s innovative process, the company aims at converting heterogeneous feedstocks into a single, ready-to-use molecule.

Tech4Impact: A Boost for Innovation Projects

The Switzerland Innovation Tech4Impact initiative aims to help pioneering innovation projects addressing one of six selected UN Sustainable Development Goals achieve a breakthrough. In order to qualify for a subsidy, the proposed project must be based on an advanced technology that will reach maturity and application within the next three years.

The award-winning project teams are to receive a CHF 85,000 grant. The funds are designed to give the innovation projects a considerable boost, make them ready for market launch or allow them to embark on further development. The subsidies are financed by the following innovation partners: ABB, Credit Suisse, Die Mobiliar, economiesuisse, Interpharma, Schindler, Swiss Re Foundation, Swisscom, UBS and Zurich Insurance.

More information is available at: www.sitech4impact.ch

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REM Analytics: Uncovering new applications in microbiome, certification and food safety

REM Analytics: Uncovering new applications in microbiome, certification and food safety

A science is only as good as its measurement tools. Based in Monthey (Canton of Valais), REM Analytics offers solutions for measuring genetic composition in mixed DNA samples. 

DNA analysis, particularly when applied in microbiome, has the potential to provide breakthrough solutions in countless industries. Swiss startup REM Analytics is looking at microorganisms through the lens of DNA to uncover new opportunities in personalised nutrition, precision medicine, food authenticity, agriculture and more.

We sat down with founder and CEO, Dr. Paulo Refinetti, to ask three questions about what they’re working on.

SFNV: What’s the founding story behind REM Analytics; and what made you pick this specific field of innovation?


Dr. Paulo Refinetti: REM Analytics started as a company at the end of my doctoral research project at EPFL with co- founders Prof. Stephan Morgenthaler, Dr. Anna Surowska and Dr. Per Ekstrom in 2017, but the underlying inspiration comes from the work done in the 1980’s by our friend and mentor Prof. William Thilly on Cycling Temperature Capillary Electrophoresis (CTCE).

 

I am a statistician, and during my PhD I was attempting to model cancer and tumour growth in humans. This was difficult, but the problem was not in the modelling or statistics the project involved; the challenge came from the lack of sufficiently accurate data. It was at this point that I realised that the measurement tools we use in life science do not provide us with the quality data we require, and this is the limiting factor on much of scientific progress. My PhD supervisor and co-founder, Prof. Morgenthaler, introduced me to the work of Prof. Thilly on CTCE, which is a method for detecting, characterizing and quantifying variations in genetic sequences using mutational spectroscopy. This realization that we can find genetic mutations struck me as something very powerful, and I was convinced that CTCE could become the measurement tool that was missing in biotech. At this point the idea and technology was raw, so I worked with Stephan and Per on enhancing CTCE with bioinformatics and robust mathematical models, and with Anna on putting all the pieces of the ‘business puzzle’ together to launch our technology as a company.

CTCE, following all our innovations and improvements, became what we like to call Advanced Testing for Genetic Composition (ATGC). ATGC is the DNA-analysis platform we’re based on, and it provides the most advanced method of genetic analysis available. The result is REM Analytics. 

 

Tell us more about the solution you’re developing: at what stage of product development are you?

P. R : DNA analysis, particularly when applied in microbiome, has the potential to provide breakthrough solutions in countless industries. If we start looking at organisms or microorganisms through the lens of DNA, there are opportunities to offer new solutions in personalised nutrition, precision medicine, skincare, food authenticity, bioprocess management or even agriculture. The exciting thing is that these fields of research are still largely unknown and undiscovered. This genetic information available to companies in pharmaceuticals, food, agriculture and cosmetics is a valuable strategic asset. By fully leveraging this information, leading companies can gain a competitive edge while maximising the success, efficiency and Net Present Value (NPV) of their R&D projects. REM Analytics’ provides an end-to-end research & development service to do just that. We translate raw biological samples into actionable data that is user-friendly for research teams.

Our research and development service is unique due to the capabilities of ATGC, our proprietary genetic measurement platform. ATGC does not use sequencing and thus can achieve a high-throughput, strain-level resolution and unrivalled quantitative accuracy. It is also highly versatile, allowing us to customize the analysis to your specific questions. Providing solutions always begins with us listening. We extensively discuss with our partners to understand their objectives and challenges and we tailor our analysis accordingly. Then we run the customized analysis from our fully operational labs in Monthey, Switzerland.  

 

What’s coming next for REM Analytics ? 

P.R : Our main focus over the coming months will be to successfully complete the series of projects we are currently running with various partners. These projects have been a great opportunity for us to really adapt our technology and experience to diverse fields of application, and fine-tune small features of our analytical platform, notably the IT back-end. We are also looking forward to meeting and discussing with leading, innovation-driven companies and institutions who are seeking to improve their R&D efficiency and integrate cutting-edge biotechnology to differentiate and prove the efficacy of their products.

Over the long-term, the vision is to scale our capabilities, by developing more core technologies that can be deployed to other domains of life sciences. These would be developed as our own solutions and would be spin-offs of our model and technology.

 

Find out more:

REM Analytics is located in the BioArk in the Swiss canton of Valais, a region with a long tradition in life sciences.

 

FOR TECHNOLOGY-RELATED INQUIRIES

contact Paulo Refinetti

FOR BUSINESS AND PARTNERSHIP INQUIRIES

contact Anna Surowska

 

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Join the Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley ecosystem and be partof the journey!

Join the Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley ecosystem and be partof the journey!