Rabobank Announces FoodBytes! San Francisco Award Winners

FoodBytes! received almost 200 applications from startups around the world to demo at the San Francisco event which took place yesterday. 20 companies competed in three separate categories for these esteemed awards.

“We are continually amazed at the caliber of presentations at our FoodBytes! events from companies not only in the U.S., but around the world,” said Manuel Gonzalez, Head Western Region, Rabobank North America Wholesale. “The companies we saw during the San Francisco event truly represent the next wave of food and ag tech innovation, and we are excited to see where the three winners go from here.”

In a first for FoodBytes!, judges at the San Francisco event selected the finalist demo company they felt was the most deserving of the Judges’ Choice Award. Netherlands-based Seamore – whose I Sea Pasta is created from 100% seaweed – was chosen for the honor.

“In June of 2015, I approached Rabobank West Friesland in the Netherlands for the financing of my very first harvest. I could not have ever imagined that a year later, I would be here at FoodBytes, presenting I Sea Pasta to a room full of industry experts and thought leaders,” said Seamore founder and Seaweirdo Willem Sodderland. “It’s so exciting to see how far Seamore has come in just a few years’ time, and it’s events like this that continue to offer companies like mine the exposure we need to thrive.”

As the Judges’ Choice Award winner, Seamore will receive:

FoodBytes! attendees voted via SMS for the People’s Choice Award winner by selecting their favorite presentation from our finalist demo companies. The award went to Imperfect Produce, a California-based company that works directly with farmers to find a home for “ugly” produce that would otherwise go to waste, via a product delivery subscription for Bay Area residents.

“It’s truly inspiring to be in the company of such innovative brands – working on industry-shifting concepts and products – and we’re thrilled to have been awarded the FoodBytes! People’s Choice Award,” said CEO Ben Simon. “We’re excited to continue our mission to fight food waste, support local farmers and improve people’s diets.”

As the People’s Choice Award winner, Imperfect Produce will receive:

The Highly Commended Award was new for FoodBytes!, with our judges presenting the award to one of the 60-second pitch companies who opened the event.

The award went to Foodfully, a platform for food waste reduction, traceability and safety. Foodfully allows users to automatically track grocery purchases, receive spoilage notifications and recipes to reduce the main causes of household food waste.

“It’s so wonderful to be a part of the FoodBytes community, one that values food innovation not only in new products, but also in creating efficiency within the supply chain,” said CEO and co-founder Brianna McGuire. As the Highly Commended Award winner, Foodfully will receive two registrations to Food Business School’s online courses.

The finalist demo companies that presented during FoodBytes! San Francisco included Salty Girl Seafood, HarvestPort, Soliculture, Chapul, New Wave Foods, Olakai, Byte, Imperfect Produce, The Salad Bar and Seamore.

The event also featured 60-second pitches from nine companies – a group that was hand-selected to open FoodBytes! San Francisco. These companies included MeWe, Six Foods, Willow Cup, Foodfully, ShopWell, Hazel Analytics, Charborn, genuine grub, and Waiakea.

Rabobank Group is a global financial services leader providing wholesale and retail banking, leasing, real estate services, and renewable energy project financing. Founded over a century ago, Rabobank is one of the largest banks in the world, with over $750 billion in assets and operations in more than 40 countries.In the Americas, Rabobank is a premier bank to the food, agribusiness and beverage industry, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain.