Tesco and WWF have announced the five startups chosen to take part in the supermarket’s eco accelerator programme.

The Innovation Connections programme, launched earlier this month, paired a raft of startups with long-term Tesco suppliers to trial green initiatives.

A group of finalists pitched in a Dragons’ Den-style head-to-head in front of a panel of experts from Tesco and WWF, with the five projects each awarded funding of up to £150,000.

The winners were this week revealed as:

  • AgriSound & AM Fresh (Tesco fruit supplier), for a technology that uses bioacoustics to monitor pollinators and pest levels on farm to help farmers protect biodiversity and increase produce yields.
  • & Hilton (Tesco meat and fish supplier) – a monitoring system that uses birdsong as a science-based biodiversity indicator in grassland farming.
  • CCm, Andermatt, Farm Carbon Toolkit & Branston (Tesco potato supplier) – a demonstration of low-carbon fertilisers to reduce the carbon footprint of potato production.
  • Farm Carbon Toolkit & Produce World (Tesco produce supplier) – advanced carbon footprint software for horticultural growers to analyse and reduce their emissions and increase carbon sequestration on farm, while also identifying cost savings and efficiencies.
  • Future by Insects & Hilton (Tesco meat and fish supplier) – creation of circular fish feed using food waste to grow microalgae to feed fish.

Tesco said subject to a detailed project proposal and funding agreement being finalised, the winning projects would now see their innovations trialled in the Tesco supply chain.

“To create a food system that provides healthy, sustainable and affordable food for all, the whole sector needs to find ways to innovate fast,” said Giles Bolton, responsible sourcing director at Tesco, and judging panel member.

”The quality of the joint pitches at our Innovation Connections event was extremely high and showed the breadth of innovation that is already going on in our food system. We’re delighted to be announcing five worthy winners and seeing the impact they can make by supporting them to scale up in our supply chain.”

David Edwards, director of food strategy at WWF and also on the judging panel, said:

“In a climate and nature crisis, we urgently need to find more sustainable ways to grow enough affordable food for everyone.

“The winning projects represent huge potential to help create a food system that restores nature and protects our climate.”