Future Food-Tech partners Givaudan and Danone North America EACH set a challenge, asking entrepreneurs to tackle two critical issues:

  • THE DANONE NORTH AMERICA CHALLENGE: Improving the texture and melting properties of cheese alternatives
  • THE GIVAUDAN CHALLENGE: Natural ingredients that support immunity, energy and sleep

Each challenge has a multitude of approaches, and we’re ready to hear from the finalists at the summit as they apply their entrepreneurial and scientific skills to show how their technology could help solve these problems and deliver tangible value to consumers.


THE CHALLENGE: Technologies to Improve the Texture and Melting Properties of Plant-Based Cheese

This challenge is looking for new technologies and solutions that deliver more functionality to cheese alternatives; replicating its stretch and melting properties. The types of cheeses of interest are shredded or sliced cheeses such as cheddar or mozzarella, that are more widely consumed, not artisan cheeses.

Participants should consider technologies that are both ready to be applied in the short term, such as plant-based extrusion, as well as technologies including microbial fermentation and cell-cultured that will likely be implemented in the medium to longer-term. Proof of principle and prototypes is of most interest.

The Innovation Challenge Winner will receive:

– Free access to Danone North America’s pilot lab facilities, in either US or France depending on location.
– Coaching and expertise from Danone North America’s R&D and Innovation team that may include technical, innovation, regulatory, marking guidance to support research and development, consumer and sensory insights, formulation development.

Note: This Innovation Challenge is not directly correlated with the current innovation or manufacturing processes within Danone North America’s portfolio of plant-based cheese alternative products. The company is supportive of this entrepreneurial challenge, but has not committed to changes in its own innovation process.

Meet the Finalists:


THE CHALLENGE: Natural Ingredients that Support Immunity, Energy and Sleep

For consumers around the world, health has taken center stage, with challenges that range from pandemics and stress, to performance pressure at both work and at home. Givaudan Taste & Wellbeing strives to support all aspects of healthfulness with its Health Essentials and Wellness Essentials, a selection of natural solutions that meet many of today’s most common health needs, including immune system support, mind, energy and wellbeing. 

In this challenge Givaudan is looking for science-driven start-ups who are working on natural, clean label ingredients for use in food that support consumers by boosting immunity, energy, and sleep. 

Givaudan is most interested in companies who, at a minimum, have proof of principle and prototypes, and their preference is for companies that are clinically backed.  

The Innovation Challenge Winner will receive:

– Coaching from Givaudan’s ‘challenge sponsor team’ that may include technical, innovation, regulatory, marking guidance to support research and development, consumer and sensory insights, formulation development.
– Inclusion in Givaudan’s press and social media outreach during the first half of 2022 

Upon the creation of a collaboration or partnership Givaudan will provide:

– Access to its R&D and creation centers including the Zurich Innovation Centre, Avignon France, Cincinnati Ohio, or MISTA located in San Francisco. 

Meet the Finalists:


  • Entries open: Thursday December 9
  • Entries close: Monday January 31
  • After shortlisting and review, the finalists will be announced on w/b February 21
  • The Innovation Challenge Final will take place during Future Food-Tech in San Francisco on March 24-25, to a global audience.
    All finalists will be invited as guests to network at the summit or present and attend virtually.


Senior leaders at Givaudan and Danone North America share their innovation priorities and answer audience questions about the challenges they have set.

Takoua Debeche, Chief Research and Innovation Officer, DANONE NORTH AMERICA
Alexandre Bastos, Head of Front End Innovation – Taste & Wellbeing, and Emilie Fromentin, Head of Explore Health & Nutrition – Taste & Wellbeing, GIVAUDAN