IFTNEXT Food Disruption Pitch Session

IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™ Participant Information

Whether you’re an emerging company or one that is investment-ready, IFT’s IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™ competition is a great way for you to gain visibility and make strategic connections.

“The IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge was an amazing springboard to get our message out to the food technology community.” 

- Lee Cadesky, C-fu Foods

Is the competition right for your company?

The IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™ provides a high-profile opportunity for entrepreneurs working in fields related to the technology, food, and science of food. Entrepreneurs can share, pitch, and be recognized for their unique innovations and disruptive solutions in front of an audience of motivated and influential investors and mentors, not to mention potential customers.

Applications are now closed.  Check back for information on 2021 applications. 

Apply Now

Eligibility Criteria

The IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM competition is for entrepreneurs developing innovative products in the food and technology related fields from:

  • Private and public sectors
  • Accelerators and/or incubators
  • Academic Institutions
  • International as well as domestic startups

Technology Startups Are Also Welcome
This competition is not only for food science and technology entrepreneurs, but is also open to startups companies who represent any component of technology related to food, such as internet, mobile, clean tech, web-based applications, cloud, ERP, SaaS, etc.

Criteria for participating in IFTNEXT’s Food Disruption ChallengeTM:

  • The startup company’s primary business focus needs to be in food or technology related domains and may cover any component of technology which enhances the science of food.
  • The entrepreneur/organization must be an operating and registered entity as either a proprietary firm, partnership firm, limited liability partnership, or private limited in the country they are representing.
  • The company must be in business, have a product or service clearly defined and must be in the Pre-Series A Round (seed stage).
  • There is no cost to participate in Stages 1-3 of the competition. Costs may be incurred for finalists attending the pitch competition.

Application and Selection Process

There are three stages of review prior to being selected as a finalist for the IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM.

IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM competition participants are required to submit their Stage 1 application via the IFTNEXT Disruption ChallengeTM online submission form no later than January 9, 2020. Applications must be completed and submitted to be considered (partially completed or "in-process" entries will not be considered). There is no cost to apply or present at the final pitching competition.

All applicants who complete the initial application (1 application per company) will get:

  • Coupon code for complimentary registration to IFT webcast/live event  
  • Invitation to sign up for free Weekly and IFTNEXT newsletters
  • Your company contact info shared with competition sponsors, furthering your exposure
  • PDFs of 3 Food Technology magazine articles

All applicants from Stage 2 will be informed about the status of their submission by email. Advancing applicants will be asked to complete the Stage 2 online form. A link to this form will be provided in the notification email. At this stage applicants will be evaluated on the following:

  • customer needs being addressed
  • competitive business models, and
  • effective and innovative use of technology

All applicants who advance and complete the Phase 2 application will receive:

  • Complimentary 1-year digital subscription to Food Technology magazine
  • Coupon code for 30% off one IFT course (online or in-person)
  • A listing as a semi-finalist on our website for additional exposure

All applicants from Stage 2 will be informed about the status of their submission by email. Finalists from Stage 2 will be invited to participate in a virtual session with a panel of judges. More details on this session to be provided closer to date.

All applicants who advance and complete Phase 3 will receive:

  • Complimentary 1-year IFT Networking & Engagement membership (one individual membership per applicant company)

Finalists will be selected and invited to participate in group and individual pitch coaching, designed specifically to prepare the founders for the live pitch event at IFT20. Each of the finalist companies will be awarded a $1,100 stipend for travel related expenses, with 2 complimentary registrations to IFT20.

All applicants who move on and compete in the final pitch event at IFT20 will receive:

  • 1 IFT Press book of their choice (1 per company)
  • 1 complimentary 30-day job posting in IFT’s Career Center to help you build your team
  • 6 weeks of mentoring on  common start-up challenges: Team, Market, Skill Set, Traction, Capital, and Valuation
  • Expert pitching coach

Finalists will be asked to present their 4-minute pitch as part of a Food Disruption ChallengeTM featured session at IFT20. IFT20 will be held in Chicago, Illinois, USA, July 12-15, 2020. Prior to the live IFT20 featured pitch session, finalists will be required to submit their final pitch presentation in PDF format only. If animations are used, slides will need to be replicated and formatted for static PDF viewing and sent at least one week before the live event. Details regarding this session will be sent to finalists upon notification of their finalist status.

PLEASE NOTE: IFT reserves the right to disqualify submissions not adhering to the application requirements at any stage of the competition. In some instance, IFT may request resubmission in the event that application criteria are not met.

Applications now being accepted. Deadline to enter is January 9, 2020.

Apply Now

Competition Rules

In addition to competition application and selection criteria, please note the following:

  • The IFTNEXT Food Challenge DisruptionTM committee reserves the right to request proof for critical information furnished by the contestants with reference to their business.
  • Any misrepresentation of facts will lead to automatic disqualification from the contest.
  • The decision of the selection committee will be final.
  • The finalists must participate in a virtual session for Phase 3 (using Skype or similar platform with details provided by IFT). Each finalist will have their own time slot. The time will be provided to you and it will be in the Central Standard Time zone.
  • Each applicant company reserves the rights to its company’s intellectual property. All application reviewers will be required to complete a non-disclosure agreement. The judges for the final pitch event will also be required to complete a non-disclosure agreement.  Finalists’ products will be showcased in IFT marketing including company names, product description, website URL, and contact information. This information will also be provided to sponsors, judges, and mentors to support and encourage networking opportunities. Use of the applicant company name and intellectual property shall be governed by the official rules for the contest.
  • The final pitch event, which will take place at IFT20 in Chicago, will be an IFT featured session where audience members will hear each finalist’s pitch information. This event may also be videotaped and shared via IFT’s website and social media channels after the event.
  • Previous winners of the IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM Future Food Disruptor of the Year Award are not eligible to participate in future IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge competitions.
  • All prizes are subject to any applicable withholdings or taxes, including withholding on U.S. source income.  Winners will be required to provide IFT with any required information or executed forms before prizes will be paid.
  • This contest is void where prohibited.  IFT may be prohibited from accepting entries or awarding prizes from residents of certain foreign countries under regulations of the United States Treasury or the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control.  Prizes will only be awarded in compliance with applicable United States laws.  IFT reserves the right to reject applications, withdraw prizes or terminate the contest when in the best interests of IFT.
  • Rules can be changed without prior notice.
Questions? Please contact [email protected].


The IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM competition will award two high-profile awards.

  1. IFTNEXT Future Food Disruptor of the YearTM Award
    $25,000 cash reward
    This award will be determined by a panel of judges comprised of esteemed science of food leaders and venture capitalists.
  2. IFTNEXT Future Food Disruptor of the YearTM People’s Choice Award
    $5,000 cash reward
    This award will be determined by attendees during the IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM IFT20 featured session.

All the IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM finalists, including awardees, will also receive other prizes offered by our sponsors. Examples of services being considered include: legal services, tech services, financial services, and additional mentoring services.


Sponsorship Opportunities

Align your brand with food innovation and ingenuity. Support the future of food and food sustainability.

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Start Up Alley

Exhibit at Start-Up Alley

Entrepreneurs showcase your innovative product at IFT’s renowned Annual Event and Food Expo for the fraction of the cost.

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Do you have questions about the competition or application process? Contact us at [email protected]