ProVeg Incubator has partnered with the Association of Alternative Food Producers (AAFPP) in Russia to launch the country’s first plant-based start-up incubator, based in the Moscow and Kaluga region.

The newly-formed AAFPP is a non-profit organization set up by Julia Marsel and Tim Ponomarev (pictured middle and right), two of the founders of the ProVeg Incubator alumni start-up Greenwise, one of Russia’s first plant-based meat companies.

The organizations plan to support and accelerate companies that are developing alternatives to animal-based products, including plant-based food or ingredients, cultured meat and seafood, or related tech products such as 3D bioprinting.

The incubator’s first group of start-ups will join this spring, with participants being either based in Russia or the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), or focused on targeting these markets.

We decided to set up an organization that … will support start-ups and help to achieve our shared goal of a future food system that doesn’t rely on animal ingredients

“We started as a plant-based brand but over the years we’ve broadened the scope of our activities and now see ourselves as drivers of Russian food tech,” explains Marsel. “In Russia, and other Russian-speaking regions, the alternative food market is still in its infancy and needs support. That’s why we decided to set up an organization that, together with the ProVeg Incubator, will support start-ups and help to achieve our shared goal of a future food system that doesn’t rely on animal ingredients.”

Greenwise graduated from the ProVeg Incubator in 2019 and now sells its meat alternatives in over 2,000 retailers in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, as well as exporting to Hungary, Estonia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Adds Albrecht Wolfmeyer, head of the ProVeg Incubator: “We are excited to be developing the market for animal-free food innovations in the Russian-speaking countries, together with the AAFPP. The potential impact of this project is enormous, given that the target region has a population of around 240 million people. We will bring our experience and know-how to the table, having already built a pioneering food incubator, and look forward to mentoring start-up founders and connecting them to partners from Germany and beyond.”

The ProVeg Incubator is currently accepting start-up applications to join the upcoming edition of its accelerator programme, which will kick off in April 2021.