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Top 20 Ventures Announced In 2023 Food, Fibre & Agritech Challenge

The Food Fibre and Agritech Challenge (FFA) is back for its third year in 2023, and this time it's bigger and better than ever. Powered by ChristchurchNZ and delivered by the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship, the FFA Challenge is an eight-week pre-accelerator program that helps individuals and teams develop viable solutions for the food, fibre, and agritech sector.

The Challenge is an eight-week pre-accelerator that aims to equip individuals and teams with a venture idea, research, or a non-commercialised product to develop viable solutions for the sector. Participants benefit from high-quality coaching and mentoring, presentations from key stakeholders of the innovation ecosystem, networking at industry events and tailored support.

The top 20 ventures for this year have now been announced, and they're set to transform the industry. From sustainable farming solutions to cutting-edge drone technology, these ideas will have a positive impact on the future of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The 20 Ventures For The 2023 Food, Fibre & Agritech Challenge Are:

1. Bee Stick

Bee Stick is an organic cost-effective product breaking multiple life cycles of the varroa mite, to help protect the bees in NZ.

2. Biobased Binder For Fibreboards

Fibreboards (e.g., particleboard and MDF) are used every day in numerous applications, despite their production requiring the use of a toxic chemical, formaldehyde. This project will develop a bio-based material that can be used as a binder in fibreboards to replace the need for formaldehyde and other synthetic resins.

3. Circula

Circula extracts compounds from fruit and vegetable waste for the cosmetic and food industry. The setup's innovative approach solves the problem of food waste while meeting demand for sustainable products.


CiRCLR is a B2B platform that decarbonises the agri-food industry by connecting scalable business opportunities through circular economies and waste reduction. CIRCLR provides ingredient traceability and sourcing for new up-cycled food products and agri-waste by-products. Providing evidence driven data for their branding and sustainability claims for export.

5. Composting Solutions For The NZ Agricultural Show

The Canterbury A&P Association endeavors to develop a versatile and sustainable composting system for agricultural activities and extensive events, showcasing rural leadership in the South Island and reducing landfill waste.

6. Digital Diets

Utilizing advanced AI, our Digital-Diets cloud-based pre-screening tool is set to revolutionize the discovery of novel health functionality in food. This scalable and user-friendly platform will empower researchers and the New Zealand food industry to make data-driven decisions, streamline research efforts, and speed up the development of health-promoting products.

7. Droplets Agri Drone Tech

Drone technology can be used to help farmers, growers, and the local community to manage and reduce agrichemicals in crops and public places, reducing costs and having a positive impact on the environment.

8. Fish Trimmings and By-Catch Recycling

Sustainability is at the centre of our minds. In New Zealand, fish trimmings and unwanted by-catch are frequently dumped into landfills. Converting fish trimmings and by-products into useful commercial products will reduce food waste and improve social and environmental sustainability.

9. Gladfield Malt

The Vibrating Palletiser is a simple device that works in conjunction with most types of robotic arm palletizing machines. The purpose of the invention is to guarantee that all bags placed by the robot conform to the required outside dimensions of the pallet stack and the overall required stack height.

10. JPNZ Carrotmax

JPNZ Carrotmax is dedicated to building a sustainable future by providing nutritious and high-quality juice products. We are looking to add value to our by-product and maximize the output from our raw materials by creating "Carrotmax", our carrot pomace. The finished product has characteristics of high fibre, greater water holding capacity and prebiotic properties to name a few.

11. Mimikau

Pure, fresh water should define New Zealand's clean, green image. But our waterways are polluted. Mimikau is a practical farm level solution to dairy cow nitrate leaching. 

12. Narix FSD

Development of autonomous fire-fighting UAV swarms to minimise toll, maximise protection and precision. These offer a fast response with greater area coverage and lower costs than traditional methods.

13. Ocean Life

Ocean Life is a natural supplement that addresses both constipation and iodine deficiency. It is an ideal solution for pregnant women and anyone looking to boost their iodine intake while also relieving constipation.

14. Pivot Link

Pivot Link is a system to monitor center pivot irrigators down to a component level. The system consists of sensors and a wireless network to relay sensor data to a center point for analyse.

15. Replacement Of Plastic With Fibre In Agriculture

Our project is focused on replacement of a widely used plastic product in Agriculture, with a sustainable and environmentally friendly fibre. Our challenge is to create a product that is user, and animal friendly as well as completely biodegradable, while being strong enough to endure the tough farming environment.

16. RoadVac

RoadVac is a mobile device which removes surface-layer dust from gravel roads. Dust dispersal is known to cause adverse health effects, and environmental damage and is often in breach of resource consents. RoadVac differs from alternatives by offering a cheaper, environmentally friendly solution, whilst producing a valuable by-product.

17. Rōhi

We all want to be connected and have better SEX. - Rōhi is launching a portfolio of women’s wellness products. Quality, innovation, and sustainability are what drive us, and our products are not only functional but well-designed and beautiful - gluten-free, hormone-free, glycerin-free, paraben-free, and contain non-GMO and vegan-friendly ingredients. For HER. For HIM. For THEM. For YOU. For ME. For ANYONE. ENJOY.

18. Smart Laser Bird Scarer

A laser bird deterrent for the protection of ripening crops, particularly grapes. This is a cost-effective alternative to other deterrent methods including netting. Our product provides greater accuracy and user-friendliness compared to existing options, with improved hardware and app and cell connectivity allowing wireless control and management.

19. The New Zealand Truffle Company

The New Zealand Truffle Company’s (NZTC) mission is to be the largest exporter of premium truffles in the Southern Hemisphere. The venture delivers environmental benefits, enriches New Zealand's scientific knowledge and capability in the field of edible mycorrhizal fungi and provides high returns to the New Zealand economy.

20. YieldTec

YieldTec is a smart agricultural technology startup focusing on optimising handpicked fruit harvest activities and returns. YieldTec wants to transform the way we harvest fruit by digitising and co-automating harvest activities.