Nestlé partners with startups for TERRA Food Accelerator

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

The program has produced 49 emerging growth companies and launched 31 pilots in two years. Pic: ©GettyImages/Jesper Mattias
The program has produced 49 emerging growth companies and launched 31 pilots in two years. Pic: ©GettyImages/Jesper Mattias

Related tags start-up Agriculture incubator vegan Non-Dairy

The third cohort of the TERRA Food & Agriculture Accelerator kicked off its corporate partnerships this week. Nestlé USA is working with three startups developing foods focused on plant-based nutrition, simple labels and fresh ingredients.

TERRA announced the lineup of its third cohort last week. The 17 global startups will spend the next five months learning from influential industry giants like Nestlé USA, AgroFresh, Beta San Miguel, GrainCorp, Griffith Foods, Grupo Azucarero and Tate & Lyle.

The future of food

According to TERRA, hundreds of companies applied for the 17 spots and represent eight countries. The program was founded by RocketSpace and Rabobank in 2016 to foster “connections that catapult major breakthroughs into scalable solutions by pairing emerging growth companies with established multinationals, in a pilot-driven engagement that leads to tangible results.”

Applicants spend several months working with their corporate partner before Demo Day in February, when they present their pilot in San Francisco. Equity is not required from the startups, but they are preferred to have seed to Series B funding and an active product or service already in the marketplace.

This year, Nestlé USA has partnered with Here Foods, Jackson’s Honest and Miyoko’s, sharing its expertise in the food and agriculture sectors.

Ashlee Adams, head of open innovation at Nestlé, said, "These companies represent the future of food. Our open innovation efforts are focused on meeting companies where they are in their stage of growth and designing win-win partnerships that accelerate that growth.”

“We look forward to working with these companies to share learnings, develop new capabilities and create something better together as we bring people more options in categories that are in high demand – healthy snacking and plant-based foods."

Gold standard vegan

Miyoko’s is a vegan creamery that uses cashew-based dairy alternative to make cheese and butter substitutes. The Sonoma-based company develops products that are free of hormones, pesticides, cholesterol, lactose and dairy, sold at Whole Foods nationwide.

Founder Miyoko Schinner said, “We’re setting the new gold standard for the future of the creamery. The evolution of dairy is phenomenally vegan and we’re leading the way.”

According to TERRA, Miyoko's is “revolutionizing the dairy industry by combining proprietary technology with age-old creamery methods to craft cheese and butter from plants … through an innovative approach to traditional cheesemaking methods like fermentation, culturing and aging of plant-based ingredients.”

Jackson's Honest is a snack company with 20 non-GMO Project Verified snacks in its portfolio, including potato chips, tortilla chips and grain free puffs all cooked in organic coconut oil. Here Foods turns fresh produce into products like cold pressed juices, spreads, dips and salad dressings.

To Demo Day and beyond

TERRA reports that alumni of the accelerators have formed lasting bonds with their corporate partners and continued collaboration beyond Demo Day. The program has produced 49 emerging growth companies, launched 31 pilots and been represented by 25 different countries.

“Over the past two cohorts, the TERRA program has pushed forward advancements in farm management, food traceability and transparency, waste reduction, precision agriculture, and food safety to name a few, with the intelligent application and pilot testing of emerging technologies,”​ TERRA said.

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