Food Lab Challenge Prize awards $30,000 to five startups

For the past few months, the Food Lab at the University of Texas has been hosting a startup competition called the Challenge Prize that matched finalists in food innovation from around the country with advisers to help grow their entrepreneurial pursuits.

Sereniti is a robotic cooking machine that recently won $5,000 from the Food Lab at UT. Photo from Sereneti.
Sereniti is a robotic cooking machine that recently won $5,000 from the Food Lab at UT. Photo from Sereneti.

On Saturday, the top winner in each of four categories — Input and Production; Processing, Packaging and Safety; Storage and Distribution; Healthy Eating and Education — walked away with a $5,000 prize. They were the San Francisco-based food waste reduction company called ReviveFoods, which collects “cosmetically challenged” surplus fruits to turn into jam; a robotic countertop cooking device from an Atlanta company called Sereneti; the Austin-based City Sprout, which creates new avenues for connecting farmers with customers; and Aspire, another Austin company, which raises Aketta crickets that are ground into a nutrient-dense powder that can be used in cooking and baking.

The top prize of $10,000 went to Ten Acre Organics, an aquaponics farm in Austin that plans on using the money to expand its production facility. You can find out more about the Food Lab and the Challenge Prize at utfoodlab.com.

Author: Addie Broyles

Food writer for the Austin American-Statesman and Austin360.com.

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