Nestlé, Ajinomoto and Barilla’s Blu1877 innovation arm have joined China Food Tech Hub, a platform aimed at fostering collaboration between start-ups and global companies.

Established in 2019 by Chinese start-up accelerator and venture capital firm, Bits x Bites, the Hub connects multinationals with Chinese and international start-ups from across the supply chain.

Meetings provide a forum for participants to exchange insights and for start-ups to showcase innovations. They also allow multinationals and ‘disruptors’ to explore further opportunities for collaboration, including pilot projects.

The platform recently convened its members online with start-ups showing how innovations like AI, automation and synthetic biology could be used to solve problems along the food value chain.

“Over the past decade, China has had its foot on the gas pedal to accelerate science and technology development,” said Matilda Ho, founder and managing director of Bits x Bites.

“Converting research into commercial successes will take time and a supportive network in the background.

“As an agrifood investor focused on the China market, we are thrilled to be working here on the ground with a growing community of corporations to support quality founders as they drive towards commercialisation and scale.”

Michela Petronio, VP of Blu1877 at Barilla, added: “By joining the China Food Tech Hub, we want to enlarge Blu1877’s network and reach out to visionary teams and find new opportunities for innovation and collaboration for Barilla, particularly in plant-based, sustainability, wellbeing and convenience trends.”

Some of the Hub’s other member corporations include: Mondelēz, Mars Wrigley, Ferrero, Givaudan, Griffith Foods, Louis Dreyfus Company, Novozymes, and Nutreco.