Innovation Units are increasingly important vehicles for the renewal of established companies. In this article we will examine the status quo of the growing innovation landscape in the German-speaking food industry. In this overview we show the full range of corporate innovation activities in the food industry.

  • Food Accelerator and Incubator Programs for Food and Food Tech Startups
  • Food Innovation Hubs of established food companies
  • Food Startup Programmes for partnerships with established food companies
  • Venture capital fund with an investment focus on food and food technology
  • Corporate venture capital units of food companies

The Food Innovation Units will be introduced

Startup Programs



Campus Founders

Location: Heilbronn, Germany

Funded by the Dieter Schwarz Foundation, the Campus Founders’ Accelerator Program helps to strengthen the regional entrepreneurial spirit and create a home for all players in the start-up and innovation ecosystem.


Drink Innovation Campus

Location: München, Germany

DICA stands for Drink Innovation Campus and is the accelerator program of the beverage industry. In a 6-month program, startups can build and expand their beverage business.


FAB Accelerator

Location: Wien, Austria

FAB Accelerator was created by Herd Open Kitchen, Metro and Modul University to support innovative startups in the Food & Beverage sector in developing their concepts and products. The program generally lasts six months.



Location: Hamburg, Germany

The foodlab in Hamburg’s Hafencity offers a co-working space for food startups, kitchen areas for testing, creating and producing food innovations, a media studio for shootings and events and a pop-up area that hosts a new restaurant concept every four weeks.



Location: Berlin, Germany

Kitchentown Berlin is the accelerator program of Bahlsen and other cooperation partners such as Symrise that helps startups develop, launch and market innovative food and beverage products.



Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Since 2016 MassChallenge Switzerland has been a leader in supporting startups throughout Europe. Every year, 90 startups are supported in their early stages, without equity or fees.



Location: Düsseldorf, Germany

MXcel’s program focuses on continuous recruitment, quarterly programs, focus on business development, access to METRO and its partner network.


Next Commerce Accelerator

Location: Hamburg, Germany

The Next Commerce Accelerator (NCA) is a cross-company innovation network and program to accelerate startup growth. The NCA invests up to 50.000€ in a startup.



Location: Berlin, Germany

The ProVeg Incubator is a special accelerator in the field of vegetable and cultivated food. Among the previous startups are BetterNatureVlyFoods, Mondarella, GreenwiseLegendairy Foods, Panvega and the nu company.


Retail-Tech Hub

Location: München, Germany

The Retail Tech Hub is an accelerator for retail companies, initiated by MediaMarktSaturn. It focuses on joint pilot projects between startups and established retailers.



Location: Osnabrück, Germany

Seedhouse specifically targets startup teams that are at the very beginning of their idea or in the early stages of their business development. A special focus is on startups in the agricultural and food industry and digitalisation.


Tech Founders

Location: München, Germany

TechFounders is a 20 week international program based in Munich, Germany. The Accelerator brings together technology startups with corporate partners and venture capitalists.

Innovation Hubs


Food Tech Campus

Location: Berlin, Germany

The EDEKA Food Tech Campus is a place where food and tech meet. Through coworking space, events and services, startups can realize their potential here.


Foodhub NRW

Location: Düsseldorf, Germany

Foodhub NRW is an innovation platform and community. It networks players in the agricultural and food industry from the field to the shelf in order to jointly develop future-oriented solutions for the sectors.


Haco Innovation Lab

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

The Haco Innovation Lab supports passion for food. Its mission is to support founders with new ideas and innovative technologies.



Location: Düsseldorf, Germany

Through NX FOOD, innovative food entrepreneurs can, among other things, sell their products for three months on special startup shelves at METRO Cash & Carry and Real.


Oetker Digital

Location: Berlin, Germany

With digital ideas, innovations and business models, Oetker Digital accompanies the traditional Oetker Group into the future.



Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Ricolab builds on Ricola’s heritage to develop new business models with a long-term perspective and promote the well-being of people, communities and nature.

snack futures

Snack Futures

Location: Bremen, Germany

SnackFutures is the new innovation center of Mondelēz International, dedicated to opening up new snack opportunities around the world.

swiss food

Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley

Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Nestlé has joined forces with, among others, the Swiss College of Hotel and Catering in Lausanne (EHL Group) to develop a global innovation ecosystem around food and nutrition.




Location: Hannover, Germany

RootCamp – a SpinLab incubator – is a three to twelve month incubation program. The RootCamp is primarily aimed at technology startups in the agricultural and food sectors.


Seedbed Incubator

Location: München, Germany

The EIT Seedbed Early Stage Incubator Program trains and supports teams over a period of six months to help them better understand their customers’ needs and validate their business ideas.


2b AHEAD Ventures

Location: Leipzig, Germany

The 2b AHEAD Company Builder and Incubator builds new business areas individually for its clients. Together with apetito and other company partners, for example, robot cooks and in-vitro meat solutions are developed.


10x Innovation

Location: Berlin, Germany

The 10X Innovation is the startup incubator in the Melitta group of companies. The division, which was newly founded in 2018, analyses and concretises promising product ideas and drives them to market maturity.

Startup Programs



Location: Essen, Germany

Together with ALDI Süd, ALDI Nord wants to offer TechFounders, a start-up accelerator program to help F&B start-ups succeed.



Location: Düsseldorf, Germany

Since January 2019, ALDI Süd together with ALDI Nord has been the first food retailer to cooperate with the leading start-up accelerator TechFounders.



Location: Leer, Germany

Bünting focuses on a corporate startup collaboration in which startups can learn from the wealth of experience, growth and versatile performance of the traditional company.



Location: Ebersbach, Germany

The GELITA Startup Partnerships enable cooperation between a large, internationally active corporation in the field of gelatine production and startups.


orthomol innovation

Location: Langenfeld, Germany

Orthomol Innovations is looking for startups, professionals and academics in the areas of health, nutrition or exercise. The aim is to establish a corporate startup partnership.

rewe startup award

Rewe Startup Award

Location: Frankfurt/Main, Germany

As an innovative company and pioneer in online food trading, REWE Startups wants to use the REWE Startup Award to simplify the way to customers.



Atlantic Food Labs

Location: Berlin, Germany

Atlantic Food Labs is a venture studio and early stage investor in startups with solutions to feed ten billion people in a sustainable and healthy way by 2050.


Blue Horizon Ventures

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Blue Horizon is a 2018 food tech venture capital fund and has recently announced a number of new investments in the innovative food companies Mia & Ben, Cubiq Foods, Heartbest and Biomilq.



Location: Berlin, Germany

BlueYard is a small venture capital firm that invests primarily in early-stage startups. Founded in 2016, the fund focuses on fundamentally new approaches and technologies that have a global network or platform character.


Clever Clover

Location: Wien, Austria

Clever Clover specialises in identifying, evaluating, investing in and supporting early stage new businesses that offer unique offerings in sectors such as travel, leisure, manufacturing, retail and food.


Good Seed Ventures

Location: Rheine, Germany

Good Seed Ventures is a family owned venture capital firm that invests exclusively in sustainable food technology.


Oyster Bay Capital Partners

Location: Hamburg, Germany

Oyster Bay Capital Partners focuses primarily on later-stage companies in the plant-based, sustainable and/or functional food and beverage consumer goods sector.


Purple Orange Ventures

Location: Berlin, Germany

Purple Orange Ventures is an entrepreneurially managed impact seed fund based in Berlin. It supports early-stage teams that use science and technology to remove animals from the global food system.



Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Redalpine is a seed and early stage venture investor. The fund invests in disruptive technologies with a focus on highly scalable ICT and health technology models. The portfolio also includes food tech startups such as Mushlabs.



Be8 Ventures

Location: Bielefeld, Germany

Be8 Ventures is the venture capital vehicle of Dr. Oetker, with which the food company now also wants to invest in start-ups in the food sector.


Bitburger Ventures

Location: Bitburg, Germany

The goal of Bitburger Ventures is to combine the growth dynamics of young, innovative companies with the financial strength and access to different expertise along the value chain of the Bitburger Group.


Döhler Ventures

Location: Darmstadt, Germany

Döhler Ventures is a long-term oriented and entrepreneurial investor that supports startups in the early stages of the food and technology ecosystem.



Location: Berlin, Germany

Katjesgreenfood is the first European investor in the food sector. The VC’s portfolio contains startups that want to make their contribution to a plant-based future.



Location: Wolfenbüttel, Germany

M-Venture is the innovation and investment unit of Mast-Jägermeister SE with the mission to shape the nightlife of the future.


Müller Ventures

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Müller Ventures AG invests in young startup companies along the food and beverage value chain in order to achieve a financial return and promote a culture of innovation.


PHW Gruppe

Location: Visbek, Germany

On the one hand, the PHW Group supports startups as a corporate partner within the framework of the StartLife program, and on the other hand it also participates in these companies via the Seedhouse and its own venture capital investments.


Square One Foods

Location: Linz, Austria

Square One Foods from the Austrian private label manufacturer Spitz acts as a strategic partner and investor for innovative start-ups in the food and beverage industry.


Tengelmann Ventures

Location: Essen, Germany

The Tengelmann Ventures portfolio comprises a diverse group of companies around the world. The main sectors are Consumer Internet, Digital Services and Emerging Tech.


Vorwerk Ventures

Location: Berlin, Germany

Vorwerk Ventures is an independent € 150 million venture capital fund that emerged from the Vorwerk Group at the end of 2019 and is defined by a strong commitment to consumer-oriented digital companies.


Zentis Ventures

Location: Aachen, Germany

Zentis Ventures supports startups from the early phase to the growth phase. At present, the focus is mainly on companies from the DACH region.

isabella schweidler

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Isabella Schweidler
Junior Innovation Strategy Manager
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