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  • Foto del escritorExequiel Lacovsky

Spain and Israel in Foodtech: A Promising Partnership



For many years, the Israeli and Spanish ecosystems have been connected. One of the architects of the connections between the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Spain and Israel was noga’s good friend, the late Isaac Chocron, who recently passed away. Isaac held various positions in different areas, including marketing, technology management, operations, sales, and consulting. In 2019, Isaac became director of business development at Excem Technologies and of OurCrowd Iberia. Later, he became Iberia's business development director at OurCrowd, a leading VC firm in Israel, which raises capital through a global community of more than 200,000 private and institutional investors.


Isaac pushed forward an agreement between OurCrowd and the Israeli Technion, which led to the establishment of the Zakut Innovation Accelerator in 2021. The institutions above partnered with INFO Murcia to create an entrepreneurship, innovation, and disruptive technology hub. Isaac was Zakut's CIO and primary mentor. From the beginning of Zakut, Isaac envisioned Foodtech as a promising opportunity for cooperation between Spanish and Israeli ecosystems.


As of today, 2024, the initial dream of Isaac is bearing its fruits with other partnerships between Israel and Spain.  


  • In early 2024, Israel Foodtech Startups participated in a roadshow organized by the Israel Embassy in Spain and the Israel Export Institute in collaboration with KM ZERO Venturing. The event was a networking opportunity to connect the food tech ecosystem of both Israel and Spain. 

  • Eatables Adventures has at least three startups from Israel in its portfolio.

  • The Food4Future event invited Israeli experts to present how food corporations interact with the Israeli ecosystem and Israeli startups to present their technologies. 

  • Israeli companies, such as BlueTree (which enables the production of healthier, great-tasting natural beverages with reduced sugar content) and Torr (a healthy new snack bar made using mechanical pressure and ultrasound energy), have found in the Spanish market potential for their moving forward their businesses. 

  • From the Spanish side,  food companies like Pascual, Hijos de Rivera, and  Covac have shown interest in partnering with Israeli startups to empower their innovation efforts.


While there is much room for cooperation between Spain and Israel, the mentioned initiatives illustrate a positive trend for both countries. 




Some highlights of the Spanish Foodtech ecosystem


Spain has a rich culinary heritage, and its food industry significantly contributes to its economy as it is a leading force in agribusiness. For all these reasons, there has been a growing interest in leveraging technology to innovate within this sector in recent years. 


The recent report on Foodtech issued by the ICEX Spain Export and Investment office highlights that in the country, there are more than 420 Foodtech startups and more than 30,000 companies in food production. In 2023, Spanish Foodtech startups raised €226M in investments. The same report divides the Spanish Foodtech ecosystem into Agritech, which constitutes 21% of startups; the Food Production and Processing sector, achieving a representation of 41% of the startups; the Logistics and Retail sector, with 13%; and the Restaurant Tech and Delivery sector, with  25%. 


Government agencies support the Spanish ecosystem. The Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE) is a prime example of this support. PERTE, a public-private collaboration program, aims to boost strategic economic sectors, including Food Tech. The agri-food chain was allocated €1B until 2023, and an additional €800M public investment is planned for the coming years, demonstrating the government's commitment to the sector's growth and innovation. 

 

The ecosystem also has several incubators and accelerators supporting startups and entrepreneurs. These provide mentorship, resources, funding, and networking opportunities to help early-stage companies grow and succeed. The main are:


Eatable Adventures is an accelerator that supports startups in Food and AgriTech. KMZero Food Innovation Hub is a platform for startups, researchers, and industry professionals to collaborate, share ideas, and develop innovative solutions to the challenges of the food tech sector. 


The Spanish Foodtech ecosystem is enriched by critical players such as the National Centre for Food Technology and Safety (CNTA). CNTA, a research organization, is at the forefront of promoting innovation and ensuring food safety and quality. It offers research and development services, technical assistance, and training programs for food companies.  The CNTA's recent initiative, the Spain Food Valley, is a cluster comprising 17 companies from 10 different Autonomous Communities. It aims to develop up to 28 multi-sectoral projects to improve competitiveness, including food safety and sustainability, from digitalization to traceability. 


Several Foodtech events were regularly held in Spain, offering industry professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, and enthusiasts opportunities to explore the latest trends, innovations, and networking opportunities in the Foodtech sector. The main events are the following:


The Murcian Food Brokerage Event celebrated its 11th anniversary in 2023, gathering companies from 26 countries and more than 380 participants.

Food 4 Future—Expo Foodtech: This event brings together professionals from the food, agriculture, technology, and sustainability sectors to explore innovations driving the transformation of the food industry. It features exhibitions, conferences, workshops, and networking opportunities.

Foodpreneurs is an event focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation in the food industry. It brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and experts to share insights, experiences, and best practices in building successful food-related businesses, including those leveraging technology.

Alimentaria Barcelona, one of the world's largest food and beverage trade shows, is held biennially in Barcelona. While not exclusively focused on Foodtech, it showcases innovations across the entire food industry, including technology, machinery, ingredients, and products.


As a federal country, Spain's autonomous communities play critical roles in Foodtech.  In the case of Murcia, the Regional Development Agency of the Murcia region (INFO Murcia) engages in different activities,  including funding startups, engaging in technology transfer, and providing consulting services to boost the competitiveness of Murcian companies.  In the Basque Country, the Basque Culinary Center (BCC) is a hub for culinary innovation, providing resources and support for startups, food entrepreneurs, and research initiatives. The BCC houses laboratories, test kitchens, and collaborative spaces where professionals can experiment with new ingredients, techniques, and concepts. In Madrid, the Food Innovation Hub has incubator and acceleration programs. In Catalonia, the Center for Innovation in Alternative Proteins (CiPA) has been recently established to push forward investments in alternative proteins. 


Overall, the history of the Spanish Food Tech ecosystem is a relatively recent phenomenon, but it builds upon Spain's rich culinary tradition, agricultural heritage, and technological innovation. As Spain continues to develop its Food Tech ecosystem, the interaction with Israel offers collaboration, innovation, and growth opportunities. By leveraging their strengths, stakeholders in both countries can create synergies and positively impact the global food tech ecosystem. 









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