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Sodexo and Zone Startups launch India’s first-ever Enterprise Foodtech Program

Sodexo, the world leader in Quality of Life services, announced today a strategic initiative to work with Indian Startups and closely connect with the local digital & innovation ecosystem to strengthen food offers for Sodexo’s clients and consumers. This open innovation program is in partnership with Zone Startups, a global brand of tech accelerators and early stage venture funds, demonstrating its strong commitment to fast-track growth in the Indian market.

The initiative is an effort to extend Sodexo’s Open Innovation Program that has been successful in France and is now focusing on Asia Pacific – India & China to explore market-leading innovations.

Speaking about consumer significance in food services, Rishi Gour, country president, Sodexo On-Site Services India, highlighted, “The urban food market continues to offer tremendous growth potential for Sodexo India and is at an inflection point with rapid digitalization, evolving consumers and the entry of new players. The differentiator for Sodexo continues to be the Quality of Life experience. By associating with innovative startups, we aim to transform not only the perception of workplace cafeterias, but also the way we operate and serve consumers. With startups offering innovative technologies and business models, we look forward to creating new services together and generate a differentiated experience for our consumer. It will allow us to reach consumers in a way we did not do before, create better connections and deliver better customer-centric services and experiences.”

The first cohort of the accelerator program under the partnership with Zone Startups in India is dedicated to identification of new technology and corporate food models, for which startups can apply through a dedicated website.

Sodexo and Zone Startups will collaborate to identify, assess, test and validate the most relevant startups to coach and run pilots within a Sodexo context. The one-year program aims to bring new food experiences to Sodexo’s corporate clients and consumers. Overall, the partnership will help Sodexo India to closely work with local digital and innovative players in sourcing and accelerating new technologies and business models for Sodexo business offers.

Belen Moscoso Del Prado, chief digital and innovation officer, Sodexo, “We’re extremely excited about our digital and innovation journey in India. New business models are constantly challenging the established ways of working. To enhance the Quality of Life experience it is vital to combine the agility and creativity of innovative startups with Sodexo’s market access and the deep understanding of consumer behavior. We are deploying local initiatives under a global strategy of moving closer to our consumers through such strategic partnerships and are therefore keen to work closely with Zone Startups on attracting partners with leading-edge technologies and emerging business models. We are sure that this partnership will bring new energy to Sodexo’s business in India, and even inspire innovation across other markets.”

Ajay Ramasubramaniam, director, Zone Startups India, said, “We are pleased to partner with Sodexo to co-create this first of its kind open-innovation program in the enterprise food experience space. This program opens up collaborative avenues for startups working in emerging food services. Sodexo’s global domain expertise and large consumer base is a strong ally for selected startups to attain scale at speed.”

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