The Kraft Heinz Company has partnered with agrifoodtech accelerator StartLife to help it connect with startups and drive innovation to meet consumer expectations for taste, nutrition and the planet. The partners announced their collaboration at the Future Food Tech event in London this week.

Although it already works with start-ups through various platforms, the partnership marks the first time Kraft Heinz has collaborated with an accelerator programme. Miriam Ueberall, VP R&D International at Kraft Heinz, said the company was impressed with StartLife’s ambition, the strength of its network, and its track record in developing successful partnerships in the agrifoodtech sector.

“We maintain and grow skills in our core capabilities, but with our portfolio expanding and as consumer needs become more demanding, start-ups play a very important role,” she said. “As we continue to transform Kraft Heinz into an agile, insight-led company with scale, we see start-ups as key partners in helping us learn, innovate and adopt new technologies or channels even faster, so we can give our consumers and partners the products, flavours and brand experiences they want the most.”

Miriam Ueberall, VP R&D International at Kraft Heinz, and Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife.

Seeking innovation for taste, health and sustainability

The company is looking for novel technologies to produce healthier, tastier and more sustainable products in areas like clean label ingredients, sugar and salt reduction, waste reduction, as well as new delivery channels and acquisition opportunities. The company also aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.Among other key challenges, Kraft Heinz is targeting ways to ensure security of supply, and to tackle cost pressures as raw material prices have increased across the global food industry.

“We are looking for solutions across our entire  value chain  to make sure the global population is able to buy healthy, affordable food at an appropriate price point,” Ueberall said. “We need to re-stitch the value chain in new ways, and that’s where we can benefit from the unique approaches and diverse  thinking most start-ups have.”

Bringing global markets and R&D facilities within reach

Start-ups also have much to gain from collaboration with Kraft Heinz, including access to its global network, expertise and market intelligence, as well as R&D facilities to test concepts on a pilot scale.

“StartLife’s partnership with Kraft Heinz will give start-ups the tools they need to scale their business, which can be a knowledge-intensive and capital-intensive process,” said StartLife’s Managing Director Jan Meiling. “Many start-ups in foodtech are first-time entrepreneurs trying to navigate a complicated value chain. At some stage in their development, they need an existing player, either for access to raw materials, to the market and their brands, or to certain facilities. Our partnership with Kraft Heinz brings together the world of startups with the corporate world – and we have already shown that we know how to make this formula work.”

StartLife provides significant coaching to around 40 start-ups a year, but also works with around 400 more each year from all over the world.

Start-ups interested in partnering with Kraft Heinz should contact StartLife to arrange an introduction.

About The Kraft Heinz Company

We are driving transformation at The Kraft Heinz Company (Nasdaq: KHC), inspired by our Purpose, Let’s Make Life Delicious. Consumers are at the centre of everything we do. With 2021 net sales of approximately $26 billion, we are committed to growing our iconic and emerging food and beverage brands on a global scale. We leverage our scale and agility to unleash the full power of Kraft Heinz across a portfolio of six consumer-driven product platforms. As global citizens, we’re dedicated to making a sustainable, ethical impact while helping feed the world in healthy, responsible ways.

Learn more about our journey by visiting www.kraftheinzcompany.com or following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About StartLife

StartLife is Europe’s top agrifoodtech start-up accelerator, co-founded by Wageningen University & Research. Its mission is to empower founders to build and grow start-ups with breakthrough technologies that shape a sustainable food system. To this end, it provides a wide range of services, including business development support, top industry business mentors, non-equity funding and access to a global community of start-ups, investors, corporates and experts. Since its foundation in 2010, StartLife has supported 400+ start-ups that have raised €320+ million follow-on capital thus far.

Learn more about our journey by visiting  www.start-life.nl or following us on LinkedIn.