Foodlab accelerator coming up with recipes for success

27 September 2022
SERIES on Idea Accelerators (3): Plant-based food alternatives or sweet treats from Asia

Start-ups in the foodlab accelerator scheme are coming up with all kinds of mouth-watering ideas such as vegan mozzarellas, smoothie bowls full of regional superfoods or Asian desserts like Japanese matcha mille, Hong Kong moon cake or Malaysian kaya spreads. Founded by Christin Siegemund, the foodlab accelerator is considered a recipe for success and has received EUR 163,000 in funds from the Ministry of Economics and Innovation. The senate has also announced plans for a new food cluster to boost Hamburg's food industry.

Expert network

Ten food start-ups specialising in production, catering and technology attend seminars and receive coaching, individual pilot projects, pitch training and free kitchen and co-working space during the nine-month scheme. The aim is to prepare them to launch on the market, accelerate growth or scale up with the help of an extensive, expert network. "Thanks to our many partners in different parts of the food industry, we can offer start-ups exactly the support they need in the early phase," said Siegemund. "We have experienced restaurateurs, chefs and nutritionists who are also experts in business, marketing and design. And they all pass on their knowledge enthusiastically. The mentors also learn from the mentées when it comes to trends, working methods and procedures," she added.

Christin Siegemund, founder of Foodlab

Vanozza and Mitch Hein

Creating the right matches is an essential part of the scheme. One such match saw chef and catering consultant, Mitch Hein, and the founders of Vanozza come together. The duo have come up with a vegan mozarella, which is barely distinguishable from animal alternatives, and melts just like cheese. Vanozza now hope to follow this up with a vegan Parmesan cheese which they are working on thanks to the foodlab accelerator. "Mitch encouraged them to use an unusual ingredient namely pineapple powder. Parmenio is now so good that they are working on a video with their mentor to show what you can make with vegan Parmesan and to raise their profile," Siegemund said.

Vanozza pizza with vegan mozzarella topping

Match: Oloa and René Fehrmann

Meanwhile, the Oloa start-up is developing vegan smoothie bowls during the accelerator. The powders consisting of freeze-dried fruits, oat flakes and regional superfoods are sold in the Oloa online shop, and should be available in local supermarkets soon. "The very natural look of their packaging suits their product wonderfully. However, the stand-up pouches run the risk of being overlooked in the supermarket. This is where René Fehrmann, a brand expert, can tie in well and help them," Siegemund pointed out.

Oloa's smoothie bowl

Match: Supersweet and Antje de Vries

Supersüß Asian patisserie is a joy to look at whether it's green layered matcha cake or round moon cakes with characters for longevity or harmony. Forget European-style cakes. These entirely different delicacies can be found behind every counter and are fluffy and creamy - like a mix of cake, ice cream and sweets, the founders stress. According to their mentor, Antje de Vries, the start-up hold lots of potential for product development and marketing. "Antje is a real multi-talent with an international network and has found many important partners for the start-up. The Supersüß products are also very Instagram-able, which opens up a wide range of marketing strategies in social media. "A digital bakery with instructions on how to bake a moon cake is conceivable as Asian culture, especially Korean K-pop, K-movies and K-food is so hip right now. "


Mooncakes - Patisserie from Supersüß

Latest food trends

Country concepts such as K-food as well as West African foods are now trending, said Siegemund, while vegan food is no longer simply a trend. "Vegan has become an established form of nutrition that requires substitutes that actually work." Many people are now showing keen interest in egg substitutes that taste like the original and have the same consistency. "Plenty will happen in the coming years. Meat substitutes will become even more important. Promising 3D printed products are already being developed," she said optimistically.

Other parts in SERIES on Idea Accelerators: 

1) Start-ups now shaping media in Hamburg thanks to Media Lift

2) ZAL Innovation Accelerator boosting good ideas

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