Søren Kjærullff, CEO of Fermbiotics
The international event InnovateFood.dk took place for the first time in 2017 and was established by Danish Food Cluster. With the overall theme ‘Health and nutrition – through healthy food’ Danish Food Cluster posed the following challenge to participants, companies, experts and students:
How can we meet the consumer needs related to better and healthier food?
The heart of the event was a unique and open innovation concept where the industry met the research world in order to share knowledge and inspire one another. Six concrete company challenges from energetic start-ups such as Fermentationsexperts, and international giants such as Chr. Hansen and Arla were matched with handpicked expert teams and student teams who were recruited from 17 different nations.
(Right) Søren Kjærullff, CEO at Fermentationexperts (now Fermbiotics) presenting his company at InnovateFood.dk 2017. Next to are the two experts on the Fermentationexperts case: Lars Karnøe, Head of Legal, Ploughman & Vingtoft and Polymeros Chrysochou, Associate Professor, Aarhus University.
The conference resulted in a new company, a new strategic direction and new collaborations.
“We were challenged by both students and experts. The students brought new insight in relation to e.g. how the consumers view our product. From the experts we learned that we ought to be more precise in a legal sense in regard to the product category, and from a strategic perspective we learned that the company needed a new brand and that we should aim for a much wider market,” says Søren Kjærulf, CEO at FermBiotics (formerly known as Fermentationsexperts).
For the young company the concept had a full effect:
“InnovateFood was extremely valuable for a start-up company like our, as the new inputs allowed us to correct our further plan and development – which we indeed have. And then there is another positive effect from the event which is the decision to collaborate with one of the experts in different contexts,” says Søren Kjærulf.