Food+City Challenge Prize Selects 24 Finalists

Fruit photo licensed from iStockphoto.com

Fruit photo licensed from iStockphoto.com

Food+City has selected 24 finalists for its second annual Food Challenge Prize with cash awards totalling $50,000.

The Austin-based organization reported 115 entrepreneurs applied for the contest, which is aimed at improving or solving a wide range of food system issues. Of the 24 finalists, six are from Texas including four from Austin and two from Texas A&M at College Station.

The local finalists include:

BENTO + PICNIC, a healthy local lunch from Austin’s chef-owned bento chop offering healthy, ready to eat lunches made from local, seasonal ingredients.

Crickers, crackers made from cricket flour. This Austin-based startup wants to normalize the consumption of insects in the U.S. as a sustainable protein alternative.

Eat at Home, a startup led by a team of students at the University of Texas at Austin, is a marketplace, website and mobile app, which connects people looking for homemade foods with people passionate for cooking.

Tastegraphy, an Austin-based startup created an app, Tasty, that aggregates data on a person’s food likes, dislikes and dietary restrictions to recommend restaurant dishes at eateries they would most enjoy.

Go Fresh!, a startup founded by Texas A&M student McCalley Cunningham. It is focused on helping businesses and households decrease food waste.

Regrub, a Texas A&M student led team that is tackling the $161.6 billion problem of food waste in the U.S. The company has developed a waste management kit that uses solider flies to turn food waste into fertilizer.

Other finalists include:

Garbage to Garden of Portland, Maine aims to combat chronic soil erosion by collecting organic compost, via a garbage and recycling collection service, from households, businesses and schools.

47farms which seeks to connect large food sellers and distributors with local growers and suppliers in order reduce the distance that food travels between farms and consumers.

The Food+City Challenge Prize is focused on identifying and encouraging startup businesses, products and processes to provide new solutions addressing food problems globally.

“This is a great lineup, and we’re excited to see this year’s participation expand well beyond the United States to include the United Kingdom, Israel, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Colombia,” Robyn Metcalfe, director of Food+City, said in a news release. “A wide range of startups include urban vertical farming, commercial kitchen sharing, and curbside composting. We also saw an increase in food delivery services and waste reduction business models.”

The next step is the finalists work with industry mentors on their business plans and prototypes for the next three months. Then the winning teams will be announced on Feb. 6th at a public showcase and pitch contest at the University of Texas at Austin.

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