Exciting foodtech business opportunities in Skåne, Sweden

“Food is heavily put under the microscope when we’re talking about climate change and other aspects of sustainability,”

01-Jun-2023 - Sweden

When it comes to food innovation, Sweden’s southernmost province is where hot things are happening. It’s home to a wealth of startups and researchers (as well as established companies) developing novel food solutions in response to market conditions, and they’re seeking investors and partners for collaboration. 

Home to food industry disruptors

The region is a perfect place for inventing the food system of the future. There’s a thriving knowledge-intensive ecosystem and strong innovation support with huge potential for collaboration and investment throughout the food value chain, from production to recycling. Jens Almqvist, Business Designer at the food-focused Krinova Incubator and Science Park in Kristianstad, northeast Skåne, says climate is the key focus of Skåne’s foodtech ecosystem.

From alternative proteins to advanced agrotechnology

According to Olof Tedin, Business Development Manager at Invest in Skåne, companies developing “climate-smart food” focus on alternative proteins using non-animal sources like plants, fungi, or lab-grown meats, as well as sustainable food solutions such as circular bioeconomy, which upcycles waste products or uses waste-reducing solutions.

From alternative proteins to advanced agrotechnology

Another area of development is functional foods – designed for positive health effects with things like gut biome, fibre, and vitamins – mostly in the beverage category.

Increasing crop yields is popular as well. “Companies here are working across the entire spectrum of agrotechnology, like AI-based and robotics-based solutions, to increase yields,” says Tedin.

For Almqvist, such application of technology from other sectors to food is increasing.

“Companies looking at pairing food challenges with tech, maybe derived from other areas, should look into Skåne,” he says. Startups are also pivoting away from launching consumer-facing brands. “I think we’re going to see more integration and more B2B business models,” he explains.

Solid support for foodtech innovations

There’s also a wide range of public and private support for innovative food companies of all types and sizes in Skåne, from incubators and science parks to testbeds and research facilities.

Balsgård FoodTech, for example, is a private, for-profit testbed that helps clients develop new food products as well as technology and processes for food production. According to Tedin, international food packaging company Tetra Pak (which started in Skåne) even has programmes to help entrepreneurs develop food packaging at reduced costs. Then there’s Northern Lights on Food, a food-focused research group for the Lund Institute of Xray and Neutron Science (LINXS) that’s open to engagement on research projects. LINXS has access to a pair of cutting-edge facilities in the city of Lund – the MAX IV Laboratory, a synchrotron (X-ray) light source already in operation, and the European Spallation Source (ESS), an accelerator-based neutron source set to open in 2027 – that provide deeper levels of observing and understanding materials, like food structures, than ever before. Navigating all the opportunities for collaboration or investment in Skåne’s foodtech ecosystem can seem overwhelming. But Tedin says that Invest in Skåne will advise international companies and investors on all the ins and outs for free.

“There are a lot of ways to be part of the foodtech ecosystem here,” he says. “We’ll help those interested to find the best way.”

A great way to get started is by checking out the most recent Skåne FoodTech Catalogue. It’s a snapshot of the region’s foodtech scene, profiling Skåne-based foodtech companies looking for investments and collaborations from all around the world. “It becomes a lot easier to get access when you’re coming from the outside if you have someone or something to guide you,” Tedin explains.

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