Press Release  | 

The Collider sets an agri-food vertical into operation in order to boost innovation in the sector

  • The new edition of The Collider starts in January and for the first time it will undertake to solve challenges in the agri-food sector, which joins the theme areas of health, energy, industry 4.0 and mobility in which it has already worked

  • Over 30 experts associated with the agri-food industry have defined the sector’s major challenges. This means, in short, reducing the environmental impact generated by the industry, packaging, and food waste.

  • The innovation programme of Mobile World Capital Barcelona has reached an agreement with the Institute of Agri-food Research and Technology (IRTA) to boost the competitiveness of the farming sector and the food industry

Barcelona, 17 December 2020.- Agri-food technology has high potential for growth in technology transfer, which can drive the sector’s development. The Collider, the innovation programme of Mobile World Capital Barcelona (MWCapital), is promoting technological disruption in this sector in its forthcoming 2021 edition, through the opening of a new agri-food vertical and a collaboration agreement with IRTA. The eventual objective is to create technological startups that solve new challenges in the sector by reducing the gap between science and market needs.

The agri-food sector is one of Spain’s major economic sectors insofar as the generation of wealth is concerned. In 2018, it generated 9.2% of GDP (100,742 million euros), accounted for 12.3% (2.5 million jobs) of the total Spanish economy, and involved the entire value chain from the primary sector to the processing industry and marketing.

The Collider held an initial meeting with around thirty companies in the agri-food sector to identify the most significant challenges they face. The major challenges identified by companies include reducing the environmental impact of the agri-food industry, which is one of the highest of all industrial sectors. The meeting also yielded proposals for the creation of new packaging with more environmentally- and health-friendly materials, for the reformulation of the hotel, restaurant and catering sector in response to changes resulting from the health crisis and the growth of takeaway and delivery models, for diminishing food waste and giving other uses to the surplus food produced in order to lessen its environmental impact, and for reducing dietary habits detrimental to health. Next January, there will be a call to find technologies that can provide answers to these challenges.

The agri-food vertical joins the Health, Industry 4.0 and mobility programmes that The Collider has already implemented in previous editions and that last a year. The definition of challenges is followed by a call for technologies, a search for entrepreneurial and business talent, and the creation of work teams that spend six months on their business project in order to validate the business model on the market. To date, in its first three editions, the programme has helped to establish 14 startups, generated 63 jobs and provided training to 157 scientists, thus meeting its goals for creating  wealth and contributing to the sustainability of the research centres.

Collaboration with the IRTA

With a view to  boosting the creation of this new vertical, The Collider has signed a collaboration agreement with the IRTA in order to enhance the competitiveness of the agri-food sector and the food industry by providing technology transfer from scientific projects and attracting companies from the food industries that are interested in the sector.

The aim of both institutions is to encourage the digitalization of the agri-food sector by promoting more collaboration among research centres and companies and generating a new technology-based fabric to drive the sector’s competitiveness.