Introducing the 2024 EIT FAN Helsinki Hub cohort!

In the picture: the EIT FAN Helsinki Hub cohort 2023.

The fifth EIT FAN Helsinki acceleration programme has officially kicked off, and ten new agri-foodtech startups have embarked on their journey with us. This year, the EIT FAN Helsinki Hub’s theme is Food Bioprocessing. We are supporting startups that offer more plant-based and animal-free food alternatives, and those that innovate with efficient and sustainable production technologies to cultivate animal-based products at the cellular or molecular level, moving away from traditional farming practices.

This year, the ten selected startups represent seven European countries. Nine of them are focusing on bioprocessing, while one offers a digital optimization platform for companies operating in the sector. Additionally, in 2024, the Helsinki Hub has more corporate partners than ever before, totalling 13 international companies. As before, VTT continues in the Helsinki Hub leadership, with Mirva Lampinen as the Hub Leader, Aino Piirtola as the Programme Manager, and Freja Schalin as a summer trainee.

Let’s now take a closer look at the 2024 cohort and the programme’s corporate partners!

The EIT FAN Helsinki Hub 2024 cohort

Melt&Marble (Sweden) produces sustainable designer fats and oils to enhance the flavour and functionality of meat and dairy alternatives. This enables a shift away from animal agriculture and reduces dependence on coconut and palm oil, which are sourced from areas linked to deforestation. Melt&Marble’s products are also used in personal care applications.

ExSeed (Bulgaria) contributes to the future of alternative proteins by developing a novel extraction technology. The startup has created a three-layer solution to isolate extraction, enabling the commercialisation of sunflower protein isolate. This process uses a circular economy approach to by-products, generating more value-added and sustainably sourced materials.

PFx Biotech (Portugal) harnesses the power of synthetic biology and uses precision fermentation to produce highly bioactive human milk protein ingredients through a scalable and cost-effective process.

Senara (Germany) aims to preserve food heritage through innovations in cell-cultivated milk production. Senara is advancing a cell-cultivated dairy production system, aiming to offer an innovative solution for sustainably feeding the world. This approach ensures no compromise on nutrition and preserves our cherished food traditions.

New Wave Biotech (UK) unleashes biotech innovation for a greener and fairer future. For those creating a more sustainable future with biotechnology, New Wave Biotech uses AI and computational modelling to help precision fermentation alternative protein companies optimise their downstream processing. This enables them to de-risk their ventures, speed up R&D, reduce costs, and get to market quicker, cheaper, and more sustainably.

Ironic Biotech (Sweden) produces sustainable products through precision fermentation. The startup has developed a portfolio of patented animal-free iron compounds, offering a new generation of plant-based bioavailable iron with no side effects.

Esencia Foods (Germany) is an alternative protein startup, making whole cuts with mycelium, the root of fungi, to recreate culinary whole cuts using a proprietary process based on solid-state fermentation. Esencia Foods is starting with fish and seafood, with tasty meat prototypes being piloted.

Quest (UK) produces low-cost, environmentally sustainable cell culture raw materials, the building blocks for cultivated meat production.

KIDEMIS (Switzerland) is a feed tech company that applies mycelium-based fermentation to upcycle low-value side streams into high-value protein for various industries. The startup uses proprietary technology to produce novel, functional, and sustainable nutrition solutions, focusing mainly on aquaculture applications.

Ittinsect (Italy) offers sustainable, high-performance aquafeed ingredients obtained from the biotechnological extraction of proteins from agricultural by-products and insects.

The EIT FAN Helsinki Programme 2024 Corporate Partners

AAK (Sweden) specialises in plant-based oils and fats. Their goal is to produce them in a way that makes the end products taste better, healthier, and more sustainable. AAK brands itself as the “first choice for value-adding plant-based oil solutions.”

Avril (France) is an industrial and financial player in the vegetable oil and protein sector. Their governance is rooted in the agricultural world, and their mission is to create sustainable value in the oil and protein sectors, contributing to better food for people and the preservation of the planet.

Barry Callebaut (Switzerland) is a manufacturer of premium chocolate and cocoa products. It serves a diverse clientele with a focus on two key target groups: global and local food manufacturers and artisans. As a B2B company, the Barry Callebaut Group serves the entire food industry, including nuts and beverages. The company considers itself the “heart and engine for the chocolate and cocoa industry.”

Cargill (USA), a family company, provides essential food, agricultural, and industrial products. With a commitment to fostering farmers, facilitating culinary innovation for customers, and delivering daily necessities to families, Cargill bridges vital connections within the global supply chain. It aims to “reimagine what’s possible for food and agriculture.”

Cremer (Germany) is a “reputable, reliable, successful” family-owned company operating as a global specialist in the trade, processing, and transport of agricultural, raw, and basic materials, as well as oleochemical products. They have a worldwide presence with more than 60 subsidiaries.

Hijos de Rivera (Spain) a family-owned international brewing group, specialises in the production, marketing, and distribution of beverages – not just beer. With a rich heritage and a global presence, their mission is to be the big craft fighting against standardisation and positively impacting the local environment, society, and the planet. Conducting RDI activities from the field to the glass.

ICL (Israel) is a leading global provider of speciality minerals. They create impactful solutions to address humanity’s sustainability challenges across diverse sectors, including food, agriculture, and industry. In their innovation efforts, they focus on next-gen fertilisers, foodtech, and digital agriculture for several target segments within the food space.

IFF (USA) functions as a world leader in food, beverage, scent, home and personal care, and health. An industry leader in food, beverage, health, and biosciences, they create essential solutions from global icons to innovations and experiences, bringing scents, tastes, experiences, ingredients, and solutions for products. Innovation efforts focus on taste, plant-based solutions, modulation, sustainability more broadly, and labelling.

Kerry (Ireland) is a B2B food ingredient company dedicated to nourishing people, society, and our planet with great-tasting, nutritious, and sustainable solutions. Kerry is dedicated to developing solutions that meet evolving tastes and provide sustainable nutrition for generations to come. They bring ideas to life with insights, research, execution, and thought leadership for customers around the world.

Lantmännen (Sweden) is Northern Europe’s foremost agricultural cooperative. Owned by 18,000 farmers, Lantmännen plays a pivotal role in the entire agricultural value chain, from farm to table, encompassing agriculture, machinery, bioenergy, and food production. As an organisation, Lantmännen aims at “responsibility from field to fork.”

Mondelēz International (USA) aims to empower people to snack right, leading the future of snacking worldwide. By offering a diverse range of high-quality snacks made with sustainable ingredients and packaging, Mondelēz seeks to nourish life’s moments while promoting environmental stewardship.

Roquette (France), a family-owned company, is a global leader in plant-based ingredients and a leading provider of pharmaceutical excipients. In collaboration with its customers and partners, the group addresses current and future societal challenges by unlocking the potential of nature to offer the best ingredients for food, nutrition, and health markets. Roquette focuses on plant proteins, core ingredients, and pharmaceutical solutions (including beauty) and targets bakery and snacks, dairy, beverages, savoury, confectionery, and specialised nutrition in the food sector.

Syensqo (Belgium) offers innovative products and solutions that help enhance the way people around the world live life every day: how they work, travel, and spend leisure time. In agriculture and feed, Syensqo is a leading innovator and supplier of sustainable speciality chemical solutions and digital agriculture technology. In the food industry, Syensqo remains at the forefront of meeting the ever-growing global demand for food and beverage ingredients, flavours, fragrances, and food packaging solutions that align with the latest consumer preferences, such as the demand for more natural ingredients and clean labels.


More comprehensive team introductions are up next! In the meanwhile, read more about the EIT FAN programmes here, and follow the Helsinki hub’s journey on Food & Beyond’s LinkedIn account.