Photo: From left: Susanne Wolff, Nestle, Søren Kjærulf, Fermbiotics, Rene Damkjær, Innovationsfonden and Marco Ginanneschi, Finanza Futura.
Out of 17 excellent presentations by selected SMEs, Danish Food Cluster member, FermBiotics, stood out as the winner of the INCluSilver new biz prize.
Who’s developed the best new biz opportunity for the silver economy? The industry panel had a tough task choosing from the 17 selected entrepreneurs who took to the stage and gave their business pitch at the INCluSilver Innovation Conference.
After long discussion, the winner was finally announced – Søren Kjærulff from FermBiotics for developing a probiotic supplement based on fermented plant and seaweed protein to reduce high cholesterol in the over-50 age group.
“The product delivers on market potential, the big science and the potential to grow and really make an impact for the future. It was very strong in novel food technology, sustainability and the link between health and medical nutrition,” said Susanne Wolff, Nestlé scientific advisor and medical affairs manager, who was one of the three members of the panel.
The pitches covered a diverse range of e-health platforms and apps, functional ingredients and foods and dietary recommendations based on nutrigenomics.
Photo: The jury. From left: Marco Ginanneschi, Finanza Futura, Susanne Wolff, Nestle and Rene Damkjær, Innovationsfonden.
Malnutrition – a major challenge
Praising them all, Susanne Wolff highlighted one of today’s major challenges in elderly nutrition.
“We have a huge problem with elderly getting malnourished. In the future, we need to both think prevention and link nutrition and treatment together as neutraceuticals. We have some good suggestions here for how to track, monitor and screen this. We need to solve this problem, otherwise we will see our healthcare costs expand.”
Her colleagues on the industry panel had a few further comments to add.
Just the beginning
René Damkjer, chief consultant at Innovation Fund Denmark, expressed a hope that the INCluSilver partners would continue working with SMEs to help them succeed.
“This is a project that ends for us, but for these guys it’s just the beginning. The project partners have an obligation beyond the project to use their cluster power to continue working with them.”
Opportunities in joint ventures
Marco Ginanneschi, CEO of Finanza Futura, had some advice for the SMEs themselves.
“The biggest challenge is to sell. You must be in the mind of the consumer and the heart. You are all first-comers, opening new niche markets. You have no competitors, basically. But some of you are in the same sector. Some of you could make a joint venture and complete each other. So this is an opportunity – that means green grass, just for you.”