Institute of Food Technologists Announce Finalists in First IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM

May 14, 2018

CHICAGO – May 14, 2018 – The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) today announced the six finalists that will compete in the inaugural IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at IFT18 in Chicago. IFT18 is an annual event and food expo that brings more than 20,000 food science professionals together from industry, academia and government to share, network, and learn about the most recent advances in the science of food. 

As part of IFT’s mission to encourage entrepreneurialism and innovation, the IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM is a new competition designed to help emerging and investment-ready food companies advance the science of food by providing mentorship and visibility to further the positive impact on our global food supply. The six selected finalists represent breakthrough solutions across food ingredient, packaging, agriculture, and processing applications.   

The finalists in the inaugural IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM include:

c-fu Foods Inc.

C-Fu Foods – an ingredient innovation company developing the next generation of insect-based, value-added food ingredients. The company’s goal is to support the emerging insect food sector with high quality functional ingredients that solve the technical challenges that limit the use of insects in food.

Inductive Intelligence

Inductive Intelligence – a packaging technology company that makes it possible to safely and conveniently heat foods and drinks in disposable package, using the same device you use to charge your mobile phone battery.


Nebullam – a food technology company providing new vertical farmers with High Pressure Aeroponic systems, powered by artificial intelligence.

Renewal Mill

Renewal Mill – a CPG and ingredient company that creates high-value superfood ingredients and foods from the $6 billion of unused fiber and starch byproducts of legumes, vegetables, and fruits produced annually.


Rise Products – a food technology company that uses a patent-pending process to convert organic by-products into healthy, tasty, and sustainable food products, starting by turning spent barley from brewers into flour.


Re-Nuble – an agricultural technology company that uses an inexpensive, patent-pending process to transform food waste into chemical-free, organic nutrients for both soil-based and hydroponic cultivation.

“On behalf of IFT, I’d like to congratulate the finalists of the inaugural IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM,” said IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean, FASAE, CAE. “All of these companies represent some of the brightest solutions in the food technology industry and have the potential to positively impact the sustainability and overall health of our global food system. We are honored to provide these entrepreneurs with a platform to push these innovative ideas even further, and support IFT’s vision of advancing the science of food.”

At the launch of the IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM in January, 65 companies submitted applications. To get to the finals, applicants went through a three-stage review process, which included 10 organizations virtually pitching their companies during the semi-finals. The six selected finalists have advanced to participate in a six-week mentoring program, where they will receive guidance from business experts and coaching for their live, on-stage pitch at IFT18.

Hosted by renowned entrepreneur, Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank, the high-profile pitch event will be held at IFT18 on Tuesday, July 17 in Chicago, and opened to all IFT18 attendees. The judges for the IFT18 pitch event include:

  • Jennifer Bentz - SVP of R&D, Innovation, and Insights for Tyson Foods, Inc.
  • Jeff Grogg – Founder & Managing Director of JPG Resources
  • J. Skyler Fernandes - Managing Director of Investments, Cleveland Avenue
  • Lenny Lebovich - Founder and CEO of PRE® BRANDS
  • John Ruff - Past President, Institute of Food Technologists (2012-2013) and former SVP of Global Quality, Scientific Affairs and Nutrition, for Kraft Foods
  • Natalie Shmulik - CEO of The Hatchery, Chicago

These prestigious judges will select the recipient of the IFTNEXT Future Food Disruptor of the YearTM award, which includes a $25,000 cash prize. A People’s Choice award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize, will be presented to the organization selected by IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM featured session attendees.

Learn more

IFTNEXT is made possible through the generous support of Ingredion Incorporated, IFT’s Platinum Innovation Sponsor. The IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge is additionally supported by IFT Trailblazer Sponsors The Annex by Ardent Mills and Naturex.

About IFT
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a global organization of 17,000 individual members from more than 100 countries committed to advancing the science of food. Since 1939, IFT has brought together the brightest minds in food science, technology and related professions from academia, government, and industry to solve the world’s greatest food challenges. Our organization works to ensure that our members have the resources they need to learn, grow, and advance the science of food as the population and the world evolve. We believe that science is essential to ensuring a global food supply that is sustainable, safe, nutritious, and accessible to all. For more information, please visit

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Jennifer Garcia

IFT PR and Media Specialist

Phone: 312.604.0273