Four finalists have been chosen to pitch their business ideas in the Lions’ Den at Fine Food Australia, taking place in Melbourne next month.

The Lions’ Den will give the aspiring businesses the opportunity to hear immediate and direct feedback on their concept from a panel of hospitality industry professionals.

Dining Experience Specialists, LeanPath, Lard Ass and From Granny are this year’s finalists, who are now preparing their pitch to the Lions.

“We’re committed to providing unique and valuable opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs to engage with the food industry,” says event director Minnie Constan.

“The Lions’ Den offers a special opportunity for emerging businesses to get feedback from some of the industry’s leading experts on what it takes to succeed.”

Dining Experience Specialists have an idea to photograph, measure and capture data on the amount of food presented and eaten for residents in aged care facilities. The idea aims to meet the increasing requirement to provide specific evidence of nutritional consumption for each individual in aged care. The solution ensures every offering has the potential to maximise nutritional intake.

LeanPath provides a suite of smart trackers that are installed in commercial kitchens across Australia to monitor pre- and post-consumer food waste to identify prevention opportunities. The focus of LeanPath is to educate the industry on how the foodservice, catering and health care industries can achieve food waste prevention outcomes, by engaging staff with innovative technology.

Lard Ass is a Victoria-based artisan butter maker with a passion for making great tasting dairy products by hand. They will be pitching the concept for their flavoured butter popcorn, which includes flavours such as salted black truffle, maple rum butter and salted caramel butter to be poured over your popcorn. The products contains no processed ingredients, preservatives or additives.

From Granny starting making dumplings in 2013 and began distributing the product interstate in the first year and exporting to New Zealand in 2016. Last year From Granny successfully launched gluten-free and fermented cabbage dumplings and was recognized as a finalist for the Food & Beverage Industry Awards in 2017 and 2018. From Granny is hoping to expand its business and begin exporting overseas.

Each finalist will have 15 minutes to pitch their idea to the panel of Lions, who include Sissel Rosengren (Food Industry Foresight); Scott Stuckmann (Nestle Professional); Yezdi Duruwalla (Unilever Food Solutions); Dr Mirjana Prica (Food Innovation Australia Limited); Mark Field (Coles) and Jeff Dhu (Fonterra Australia).

The Lions’ Den will take place at the Talking Food Stage at Fine Food Australia on 10-13 September at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

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