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Food+City finalists square off Saturday in Austin, Texas

FoodCity Challenge
Since being named finalists in November, 24 startups have been working with industry mentors on their business plans and prototypes. They will compete Saturday in a public showcase and a fast-pitch contest for a share of $50,000 in prizes.

While football fans have their eyes on Sunday's Super Bowl, 24 food startups this week are preparing for the Food+City Challenge,  which focuses on identifying and encouraging startup businesses, products and processes to provide new solutions addressing food problems globally.

Since being named finalists in November — 115 entrepreneurs from around the world applied for the second annual contest, called the Food Challenge Prize last year — the competitors have been working with industry mentors on their business plans and prototypes.

The teams will participate in a public showcase and a fast-pitch contest on Saturday at the University of Texas at Austin. Prizes of up to $50,000 are available this year.

“This is a great lineup, and we’re excited to see this year’s participation expand well beyond the United States to include the United Kingdom, Israel, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Colombia,” said Robyn Metcalfe, director of Food+City. “A wide range of startups include urban vertical farming, commercial kitchen sharing, and curbside composting. We also saw an increase in food delivery services and waste reduction business models."

Finalists include:

47farms seeks to connect New Jersey's large food sellers and distributors with local growers and suppliers to reduce the distance that food travels between farms and consumers.

BENTO + PICNIC, a healthy local lunch from Austin, Texas’ chef-owned bento chop offering healthy, ready-to-eat lunches made from local, seasonal ingredients.

Crickers, made from cricket flour. This Austin, Texas-based startup wants to normalize the consumption of insects in the U.S. as a sustainable protein alternative.

Eat at Home, a startup led by a team of students at the University of Texas at Austin, is a marketplace, website and mobile app that connects people looking for homemade foods with people passionate for cooking.

The Food Corridor,  based in Fort Collins, Colorado, the first online marketplace for food entrepreneurs to find commercial kitchen space. Commercial kitchen owners can more effectively use their space and create additional revenue streams.

Garbage to Garden  of Portland, Maine, aims to combat chronic soil erosion by collecting organic compost, via a garbage and recycling collection service, from households, businesses and schools.

Go Fresh!, a startup founded by Texas A&M student McCalley Cunningham. It is focused on helping businesses and households decrease food waste.

Regrub, a Texas A&M student led team that is tackling the $161.6 billion problem of food waste in the U.S. The company has developed a waste management kit that uses solider flies to turn food waste into fertilizer.

Tastegraphy,  an Austin, Texas-based startup created an app, Tasty, that aggregates data on a person’s food likes, dislikes and dietary restrictions to recommend restaurant dishes at eateries they would most enjoy.

A complete list of finalists can be found here.

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