Agrofood, an accelerator backed by Italy-based dairy business Granarolo, egg producer Eurovo and branded food business Conserve Italia, amongst others, has unveiled a EUR500,000 (US$586,000) package to back start-ups.

Established last year, the accelerator is now calling for its first applicants. It is looking to work with five “teams, spin-offs or start-ups in the nutrition and health and new sustainable packaging sectors”.

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The accelerator said it is looking to “transform the high innovative potential of young people, students and researchers who believe they have a winning idea into genuine ventures”.

The idea is to help nascent businesses to deal with organisational, operational and strategic difficulties.

Agrofood will provide pilot facilities, R&D support, business development services, marketing and accounting assistance, mentoring from professionals and consultants and access to networks in the business and credit world.

The focus is on nutrition and health, specifically organic and functional foods, DNA-based initiatives, dietary supplements, nutraceuticals and alternatives to sugar.

There will also be a focus on start-ups offering smart packaging solutions.

Siro Lionello, the chairman of Eurovo, said: “At Eurovo we firmly believe that innovation is the key factor in the development and competitiveness of the agrifood sector – just as we believe that true innovation often stems from the creativity of talented youngsters. Investing in their futures and taking a punt on their talent is essential nowadays if we are to unearth the creative flair that the sector needs and, at the same time, offer young adults concrete professional opportunities.”

The other Italian businesses backing the accelerator are catering facility services firm Camst, packaging machine business Ima and high-tech innovation platform Gellify.

The closing date for submissions is 27 September.

just-food Guide: Hatching new ideas – Big Food’s incubator and accelerator programmes