How will sensors change the food system? Micro-farms? Find out Saturday at Food+City event

Food innovators from around the world will be in Austin this week for the Food+City Challenge Prize, a startup competition that culminates with an event on Saturday where the nonprofit will give out $50,000 to the winners. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the atrium at the McCombs School of Business, 2110 Speedway Avenue on the University of Texas campus. (Disclosure: I worked as an editor for the print magazine side of Food + City when it first launched in 2015.)

Some of the winners from last year's Food & City Challenge Prize. Contributed by Jessica Alexander

Some of the winners from last year’s Food & City Challenge Prize. Contributed by Jessica Alexander

There are 18 finalists from nine countries, and all of them have a food company that in some way improves the food supply chain. Attendees can hear some of the finalists deliver rapid pitches in front of investors and chat with the entrepreneurs at booths throughout the atrium. You can also sample food from True Food Kitchen, Zocalo Cafe, 512 Brewery, Noble Pig, Verts, Easy Tiger, Austin Java, Honest Tea, Wholy Bagel, Tiff’s Treats, Snap Kitchen and more.

The finalists are:

  • Bucketload High-Tech Harvesting, which makes agricultural information available on the cloud.
  • Eat Pak, a customizable lunch packing and delivery company.
  • Epicure, which makes robotic vending bars that sell sustainable food.
  • Evaptainers, which makes electricity-free refrigeration units that run on nothing but water.
  • Farm Fare, a mobile market and logistics app that makes the business of buying and selling local foods faster, cheaper and more sustainable.
  • FreshSurety, a sensor that can report the shelf life of fresh produce.
  • Hazel Technologies, which makes products to extend the shelf-life of fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants.
  • Joe’s Organics, an Austin-based farm that picks up food waste to turn it into soil and then grows produce for local restaurants and farmers markets.
  • Local Libations, which allows manufacturers, distributors and retailers in the beer industry to track the location and volume of their kegs.
  • NÜWIEL is a technology startup from Germany that develops intelligent e-powered bicycle trailers to efficiently move goods in urban areas.
  • Open Data Nation transforms open, public data about public health inspections of restaurants into reliable predictions of when and where establishments will fail and pose a risk to public health and safety.
  • Phenix, which helps food companies cut down on food waste and raise the value of that waste.
  • OriginTrail can show consumers how their food traveled through the food chain to get to them.
  • Rise upcycles spent barley from microbreweries into flour for bakers.
  • Rust Belt Riders helps companies turns discarded food into value-added products.
  • Science for Society is an India-based company that makes solar-powered food dehydrators for farmers.
  • Smallhold sells mushrooms and leafy greens starts to users, who then finish growing the products before consumption.
  • Yarok is a microbiological testing system to help prevent food recalls.

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