ENRICH in the USA Food and Beverage Industry Sector Focused Tour

ENRICH in the USA Food and Beverage Industry Sector Focused Tour

July 13 - 17, 2020 (postponed/cancelled)


Rolling Application opens: 7 February, 2020 | Call closes: 13 June, 2020– 23h59 CET

The call for application will close once the candidate capacity of 20 is reached.


1. Services offered in this specific call

ENRICH in the USA is launching the Food & Beverage Innovation Tour to assist European Union and EU-affiliate stakeholders interested in US-based business and/or collaborative partnership opportunities. This Food & Beverage Innovation Tour, co-hosted by GREATER MSP and State of Minnesota, provides connections and information to help explore and/or identify transatlantic customer, supplier, and/or investment opportunities for visiting EU stakeholders within the food & beverage goods, process equipment, packaging equipment/materials, and other related products/services industry. Tour participants will leave this 5-day itinerary with a clear understanding of investment, incentive, and operational gains the Twin Cities region has to offer should they be interested in conducting and/or opening a local office for business. Furthermore, the Tour incorporates many exciting components of the renowned Food/Ag/Ideas Week event, an annual multi-day series of speakers, events, and demo showcases in Minneapolis and St. Paul designed to elevate and connect Minnesota's ecosystem for food and agriculture innovation and entrepreneurship. Tour participants will have exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the event's Food Manufacturing Tour, Techstars Farm to Fork Demo Day, AURI Innovation in Distilling & Brewing Summit, retail activations, speaker sessions, and roundtable networking lunches, in addition to other curated components of the Tour, further showcasing the Twin Cities region, such as Land O' Lakes' accelerator, Target's retail accelerators, and Finnegans Brew Co.'s FINNOVATION LAB, among many other highlights. The first cohort will be hosted October 10 - 15, 2019, but subsequent annual Tours will be available in mid-October, always in conjunction with Food/Ag/Ideas Week, in a consecutive 5-weekday span each year after. The Tour is ideal for food and beverage stakeholders from research, innovation, and/or business organizations from the EU, ideally CXO-level or executives from departments covering R&D, Engineering, Product Development, Manufacturing, Operations, Business Development and/or Finances.

Minnesota's food and beverage industries are among the nation's strongest thanks to the state's culture of innovation, specialized workforce, convenient location, robust agricultural sector, and statewide manufacturing capacity.

An Innovation Incubator

  • 1st per capita in patents in food processes and compositions; a food/agriculture R&D leader
  • A collaborative ecosystem fostering innovation through public-private partnerships, deep-bench academic and business expertise and a growing number of business accelerators
  • 3rd in 5-year business survival, providing a nurturing environment for startups – including food and beverage firms – to grow

Specialized Workforce

  • 4th in food and agricultural technicians
  • Almost twice the concentration of food scientists and technologists as the national average (location quotient: 1.95)
  • 1st highest (tied) in % of people with a high school degree (93.1%)
  • 10th highest in % with a bachelor’s degree or above (36.1%)

Convenient Location

  • Easy access to markets across the continent and abroad with north-central location, eight commercial ports on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, and excellent rail and road networks
  • Best airport of its size in North America: Minneapolis-St. Paul International ranked No. 1 (2016, 2017 and 2018); non-stop flights to 167 domestic and international destinations
  • 6th in infrastructure, according to CNBC and U.S. News and World Report

Sector Strength

Food and beverage manufacturing

  • 925 business establishments; 50% located in Greater Minnesota
  • $28.3 billion in total product sales, ranking 10th nationally
  • 51,896 employees statewide, ranking 11th nationally
  • 5th in agricultural production, with in-state suppliers for many product ingredients

Food and beverage exports

  • $1.9 billion in food and beverage products exported from Minnesota in 2018
  • Canada, Mexico, Korea, Japan, and China are the top five markets (70% of food and beverage exports)
  • Major exports: food by-products; milled grain and oilseed; meat; dairy and eggs; beverages; and prepared flour and grain products

Plentiful Business Resources

  • University of Minnesota has many food science experts and supports the industry through research at its Food Industry Center, Sensory Center, and pilot plant, the Joseph J. Warthesen Food Processing Center
  • Grow North MN provides information and programs to help Minnesota’s food and agriculture entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses faster
  • Agricultural Utilization Research Institute partners with businesses and entrepreneurs to develop new uses for agricultural products
  • Enterprise Minnesota provides assistance and consulting, and advocates on behalf of manufacturing
  • Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator is a Minnesota mentorship-driven accelerator for startups from around the world that's co-founded by Cargill and Ecolab

A Top Spot for Business

  • 50+ national top 10 rankings in six business-related categories; see CompareMN.com
  • 2nd lowest effective tax rate location for mature manufacturing companies (4%) and 9th lowest for new manufacturing companies (4.6%)
  • 3rd best quality of life (Forbes and CNBC)
  • A top 10 State for Business 10 times (CNBC, 2007-2018), including first and third (2015, 2017)

Eligible participants may either have companies already incorporated or planning to incorporate, already proven their technologies at least at lab scale, and able to send personnel chiefly responsible for technology and/or business development. Participants who attend the Tour must be either responsible for technical sales and/or have invented and is responsible for the future development and scale-up of the product. 

This Tour will accept up to 20 participants. If 20 qualified participants who meet the eligibility and other selection criteria apply, a waiting list will be created; therefore, you are highly encouraged to apply for the Tour immediately upon interest. If any spots on the Tour become available, potential participants on the waiting list will be invited on a first-come, first-serve basis, so long as they also meet the eligibility and selection criteria. The Tour is open to EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries  agricultural technologies and plant sciences (further defined in Target Group section) stakeholders. This Tour gives participants the opportunity to:

  • Create US-based food and beverage products and technology business opportunities for EU and EU-affiliate startups and entities
  • Find financial support for EU startups and entities
  • Explore facilities and programs to serve as a Soft Landing destination for EU startups and entities to be closer to the first two aims
  • To find opportunities, through engagement with leading players from the business, investment, and regulatory domains of a top U.S. ecosystem for food and beverage ventures.


Tentative Schedule

Landing Hub Introduction

Selected participants will meet virtually with both the Landing Hub (Greater MSP staff) and ENRICH in the USA US Coordinator Node staff, to best understand what connections could be made while in the region. On Fridays leading up to the Tour, accepted applicants will be scheduled to meet with Landing Hub and other ENRICH in the USA staff.

Tour – Arriving at Landing Hub

Participants will travel to St. Paul, Minnesota, and are expected to arrive no later than by mid-day July 12, 2020. The following itinerary for the Tour is below for July 13-17, 2020


Sunday, July 12 – Travel Day/ Welcome Event

Program Kick-Off Event: Minnesota United Soccer Game, Allianz Field

Allianz Field opened in 2019 as the newest addition to the six professional sports stadiums in the twin cities’ metro area. The stadium’s global foods approach to concessions reflects the diversity of the surrounding neighborhood and represents a multicultural group of local Minnesota food and beverage vendors.


Monday, July 13 – Program Day 1: Industry Introduction/ Manufacturing Tour

Industry Overview – Mill City Museum

  • Grow North
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • Greater MSP & MBOLD Initiative
  • Minnesota Trade Office

Minnesota Food Manufacturing Tour

Behind the scenes look at where food and beverage products are developed, manufactured and scaled in the twin cities area. The tour will visit small, medium and large manufacturing operations.

Post Tour Welcome Reception

The Lab at BevSource The Lab is a pilot production facility for beverage creators to brew, ferment, and create prototypes. This versatile, state-of-the-art resource also features a Quality Department with a full-service laboratory. Outsource testing to The Lab to ensure product consistency and quality.


Tuesday, July 14 – Program Day 2: Greater Minnesota

Austin, MN

Hormel Foods company visit. Hormel Foods was founded in 1891 in Austin, Minnesota. Originally focusing on the packaging and selling of ham, Spam, sausage and other pork, chicken, beef and lamb products to consumers; by the 1980s, Hormel began offering a wider range of packaged and refrigerated foods. Hormel serves 80 countries with brands such as Applegate, Columbus Craft Meats, Dinty Moore, Jennie-O and Skippy.

Northfield, MN

Farm visit – Main Street Project. Participants will visit 100-acre demonstration farm in Northfield, MN called Main Street Project. The organization is working to build a holistic farming ecosystem to change the way food is produced around the world. The tour will provide a first-hand look at a farm going through the transition from conventional practices to regenerative practices and share how they are training farmers to do the same.

Faribault, MN

  • Faribault Foods, canned foods manufacturing owned by Mexican based La Costena.
  • Living Greens Farm, vertical farming operation featuring bagged salad and microgreens production.
  • Caves of Faribault, cheese manufacturing.


Wednesday, July 15 – Program Day 3: Food/ Bev Corporate Visits

Minnesota is home to more than 900 food and beverage companies, including globally recognized brands like:

  • General Mills
  • Land O’Lakes
  • Caribou Coffee
  • Jack Links
  • Cargill

Participants will spend the day visiting a selection on Minnesota’s large food and beverage corporations.


Thursday, July 16 – Program Day 4: Supply Chain, Distribution and Marketing

  • Packaging company visits such as ePac or similar.
  • Food and Ag marketing agency visit. Possibilities include Haberman (Organic Valley, Annie’s Organic, Eastbound Farm Organic, Schell’s Beer), Carmichael Lynch (Jack Links), Martin Williams Advertising (Cheerios, Larabar, Nature Valley), Colle + McVoy (Caribou, WinField United, Grain Belt Beer), or Fallon Worldwide (Arbys, SToK, Silk, International Delight).
  • Distribution network discussion with Minnesota based wholesale food and beverage distributors such as Co-op Partners.


Friday, July 17 – Program Day 5: Research, Talent Pipeline and Start-ups

  • University of Minnesota
  • Pilot Plant Visit

The University of Minnesota has many food science experts and supports the industry through research at its Food Industry Center, Sensory Center, and pilot plant, the Joseph J. Warthesen Food Processing Center

Meeting with representatives from Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI)

For over 30 years, AURI has helped agricultural producers bring their ideas to reality, delivering innovative products to market across the nation and generating $142 million in economic activity for Minnesota.

Incubators, Accelerators and Startups discussion with organizations such as:

  • Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator, a mentorship-driven accelerator for startups around the world that is cofounded by Cargill and Ecolab.
  • MN Cup, a public-private partnership supporting Minnesota's entrepreneurs that hosts the largest statewide early-stage venture competition in the United States.

Closing Reception: Midwest Pantry’s Wycliff Building in Midway, St. Paul or Midwest Pantry’s NE Food District in NE Minneapolis.

Established in 2010, Midwest Pantry is a member organization that unifies the local food creator community to make Minnesota the #1 place to start and grow a food business. Midwest Pantry created the first food innovation district in Minnesota, the NE Food District, and has worked with over 450 local food and gift-producing companies to increase sales through educational, wholesale, and retail opportunities.

Expected outcomes and impact per participant: 

  • ≥2 business connections per participant resulting in direct follow-up between participants and potential customers and/or industrial partner
  • ≥1 participant obtaining an investment prospect from either a business and/or other lead from within the Landing Hub


2. Target Group of this Call

Applicants must be taxpayers in an EU Member State or Associated Country AND/OR be an EU Member State or Associated Country passport holder.

  • Startups and SMEs developing innovations and products
  • Researchers
  • Large corporation executives in R&D, Engineering, Product Development, Manufacturing, Operations, Business Development and/or Financial Departments
  • Cluster coordinators
  • Economic development organizations
  • Multipliers
  • Industry and trade organization representatives
  • Local or regional government representatives
  • University administrators
  • Science/Technology/Industry/Research/University Park executives

Welcome food and beverage industry players include those working on food or beverage products (including raw suppliers/ingredients and consumer packaged goods); processing and/or production equipment; packaging materials, processing and/or equipment; food or beverage distribution/supply chain service providers; market/consumer analyst firms; food and beverage data service providers; etc.


Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • If an individual, applicant must be a taxpayer in an EU MSAC AND/OR be an EU MS/AC passport holder
  • If incorporated, applicant must pay taxes in an EU MS/AC AND/OR have as the majority of shareholders EU MS/AC passport holder
  • Be able to communicate (read and speak) in English


3. Funding Principle

Thanks to support for this Tour by the European Commission, the cost per participant for all expenses is a non-reimbursable fee of 500€.  This highly reduced participant fee covers two meals per day, entrance fees to associated events/venues, and transportation to/from the hotel and all Tour sessions.

Participants must cover the costs for flights to and from the United States, and other costs not mentioned above (e.g. ESTA/VISA application costs, health insurance, accommodation, dinners, etc.).



4. Submission Procedure

All applicants must register at the electronic submission tool F6S under  https://www.f6s.com/foodandbeveragesectortour.

It is highly advised again, that interested applicants apply as soon as possible, and not wait for the application deadline, as eligible applicants who meet the selection criteria will be invited to the Tour in the order in which they applied. ENRICH in the USA staff will assist with questions or portal issues for applicants. Besides basic information, applicants must complete a checklist to ensure compliance with the eligibility criteria and each section of the application.

In F6S, the applicant is asked to register and provide general and personal information, (such as name, institution, organization type, contact details, and specific questions referring to the organization type). All applicants must acknowledge that they are aware that some costs have to be covered individually.

Applicants must complete all required questions in the F6S application and confirm that they:

  • Engage in commercial and/or research activities within the agriculture and/or plant sciences industries (see the previous section for definition/areas of alignment)
  • Are a major decision-maker in executing new customer, supplier, or partnership relationship developments
  • Have a sincere interest in US-based business, technology development, and/or other partnership collaboration opportunities and be a decision-maker in potential location scouting activities

The questions listed under Specific Questions were designed to help both the applicant and Host organizations foster ideal connections within the ecosystem, as well as to refine the Tour itinerary. These questions include:

  • What types of products/services and/or research does your organization develop? If you do not directly conduct technology development, please indicate if you have stakeholders (customers/clients, members, tenants, etc.) that do conduct technology development and in what areas relevant to the Tour sector.
  • What are your expectations from the ENRICH in the USA Food and Beverage Sector Tour?
  • Why are you interested in learning more about the US market?
  • Please list particular companies, investors, and/or institutions you are interested in being connected to within the Landing Hub region this Tour is held within.

Note that all application responses have to be submitted in English.


5. Evaluation and Selection Procedure

The fundamental principles governing the evaluation of the applications are:

  • Transparency: The process for selecting applicants will be clearly described and made available to any interested party.
  • Fairness and Equality of treatment: All applications shall be treated alike, irrespective of where they originate or the identity of the applicants.
  • Ethical and Legal considerations: Any application that contravenes ethical principles and legal regulations may be excluded from being evaluated and rejected at any time.

Selected participants must meet basic eligibility criteria and participant fee must be received by June 13, 2020. Applicants who meet the criteria will be contacted with payment information.

Step 1:

Eligibility Check: Will be done by the ENRICH in the USA staff following the criteria defined in section 3:

  1. If they meet the respective eligibility criteria (outlined above)
  2. If they meet the respective target group for this call (outlined above)

Step 2:

Selection: Applicants who meet the optimal selection criteria and satisfactorily answer the Specific Questions outlined in Section 5 listed above, will be invited to the Tour. Unanswered or partially completed questions will not be considered to move forward in the process. A team formed of ENRICH in the USA staff will review applications in the F6S portal, every two weeks leading up to the application deadline.

Step 3:

Scoring: All applicants will be evaluated on a five-star evaluation scale – if applicants can confirm all three selection criteria statements and answer all four of the Specific Questions thoughtfully, they will earn a 5-star rating.

Step 4:

Admission: The first 20 candidates with 5 star-ratings will be invited to attend the Tour. Within two weeks of applying, if not sooner, applicants will be notified of their selection.

Please note: ENRICH in the USA is beholding the right to create a waitlist of suitable candidates reaching the necessary 5 stars score.


6. Time Schedule



February 7, 2020

Call opens

June 13, 2020

Submission of application and call closes

Before and up to June 13, 2020

Selection of 20 applicants

June 25, 2020

Payment to participate must be received by

July 13, 2020

Tour Start-date


7. Contacts

For questions regarding the ENRICH in the USA Aerospace Tour, please contact:


Contact Details

Jack Henkel

+1(407)-965-5653 X520




[1] ENRICH in the USA has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 733286.