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Walmart Food Safety Innovation Pipeline Round 2 Finalist Review Event held in Beijing

Updated: 2018-10-12 20:20

The Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center (WFSCC) and its partner Zhongguancun Innoway held the Walmart Food Safety Innovation Pipeline Round 2 Finalist Review Event at InnoPlanet in Beijing.

Held during the 2018 National Mass Innovation and Entrepreneurship Week, the event was also part of the Zhongguancun Innovation and Entrepreneurship Festival series. The board of judges comprised of 12 experts in the cold chain, venture capital, food production, e-commerce and retail industry.Vice Chairman of Beijing Haidian District Committee of the CPPCC (Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) Ding Zhiming, Executive Vice President of Walmart Corporate Affairs Dan Bartlett, Executive President of Innoway Yao Hongbo attended the event and gave the opening remarks. A total of 150 participants including Deputy Director of Beijing Haidian District Standing Committee of the NPC (National People's Congress) Yang Li, Walmart Senior Executives, representatives of the finalist teams, industry leaders in food and retail, and media representatives attended the event.

In his opening remarks, Ding Zhiming, on behalf of the Haidian District, expressed his thanks to all the guests who attended the event. He said, "The event has been one of the most important activities during this year's National Mass Innovation and Entrepreneurship Week. It is of significance to both food safety and innovation for Walmart to host such an activity focusing on food safety technological innovation, and gathering innovative companies to explore solutions. As a multinational company that has topped the Fortune 500 list for five consecutive years, Walmart has been actively promoting food safety innovation, whereas Innoway is the hallmark of innovation and entrepreneurship in China. Through this collaboration between the two enterprises, we hope that Walmart will deepen its cooperation with both innovative companies and technology talents in Haidian District to create a better future together.

Dan Bartlett stated in his opening remarks, "While multinational companies only a decade ago asked 'how do we infuse our global best practices and technology into our China operations,' we're now increasingly asking 'how can we take lessons learned from the China and apply them in other markets.' Nowhere is this more apparent than e-commerce. While e-commerce allows our customers to shop where and how they want, it does raise challenges for Walmart and others in the food system. One of the most foundational challenges is ensuring fresh, high-quality, but most of all, safe food.To meet the future food safety challenges of e-commerce while also improving against some persistent issues, we'll need continuous innovation. The establishment and operation of the Walmart Food Safety Innovation Pipeline can encourage and share innovative solutions across the food supply chain while also give those solutions an ecosystem of partners to grow and mature."

In his opening remarks, Executive President of Innoway Yao Hongbo praised Walmart's commitment to promote China's technological innovation in food safety. He said, "Zhongguancun is the most active area of innovation and entrepreneurship in China. We have been committed to attracting outstanding global industrial resources and large enterprises to Innoway to connect with innovative, entrepreneurial and technology talents in China. Walmart is the largest company in the world, and has always been passionate about technological innovation and industrial integration. We have learned a lot through our cooperation with Walmart. As the best innovation and entrepreneurship platform in China, Innoway is very willing to collaborate with large enterprises like Walmart to explore new partners and new technologies."

The Walmart Food Safety Innovation Pipeline is a unique initiative designed to generate new and creative ways to solve both persistent and emerging issues in food safety through technology. Each year the Innovation Pipeline brings together different key actors from across the supply chain to identify 1-2 critical food safety issues, and challenge fresh thinking around their solutions. It ultimately aims to fast-track and support the most promising solutions for testing in real-world supply chains. While the Innovation Pipeline features many established players in food and retail, it also encourages new entrants of all sizes to join and bring new ideas to food safety solutions.

The first round of the Innovation Pipeline was launched in September 2017 with three projects selected from over 40 proposals. This year, the focus of the second round is on cold chain and seeks innovative solutions in two areas: Farm to Door Temperature Monitoring, and E-commerce Packaging for Safety and Sustainability. On July 5, WFSCC launched the call for proposals and had received 35 submissions in total by July 25. After careful review of the submissions by the WFSCC, five proposals from each of the two areas were selected to enter the next stage.On August 3, the WFSCC announced the ten finalists.From August 14 to 21, the WFSCC organized for the representatives of the ten finalist teams to visit the Walmart stores and Fresh Distribution Centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen to help them gain a better understanding of Walmart's business operations and needs. On August 24, the WFSCC held a "Meet the Mentors" event in Shanghai where mentors from the WFSCC Innovation Council gave their suggestions to the finalist teams on how to refine their proposals.

During the event, the project leads of each finalist team presented their projects one final time and had a Q&A in front of the board of judges of the Innovation Pipeline. Based on the scores given by the judges, one project each in the two areas was selected as the winners of the second round.

The winner of the "Farm to Door Temperature Monitoring" category was a Multiple Wireless Temperature and Humidity Monitoring Solution designed by Shenzhen ZKS Mobile IOT Tech Co.,Ltd. It is a series of temperature monitoring devices using low energy consumption IOT technology, interBow, for which the company has its own intellectual property. Combined with the ZKS Cold Cloud Platform, the devices can provide an end-to-end wireless temperature and humidity monitoring solution that could meet the needs of multiple environments including cold storage, refrigerated trucks in transportation and incubators. The solution provides real-time temperature and humidity monitoring from production, storage, transportation to distribution, as well as improves whole chain monitoring. The product aims to reduce the risks of food deterioration during storage and transportation to ensure food safety from farm to door.

The winner for the "E-commerce Packaging for Safety and Sustainability" category was the Low-Cost Cold Chain Logistic with Highly Efficient Thermal Insulated Materials. Designed by Laurel Nano-Synthetic Material (Jiangsu) Co., Ltd, this project utilizes a series of incubators, insulation blankets and covers made by flexible ultra-thin materials (thickness: 6mm). These highly efficient thermal insulated products can be folded and reused, which can help reduce the costs of e-commerce delivery packaging by more than 50%. It could also reduce the amount of rubbish generated by more than 50%, potentially reducing white pollution, oil consumption and carbon emission on a large scale.

Qin Yuming, Secretary General of the Cold Chain Logistics Committee at the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing said to the winners and finalist teams on behalf of the judges, "Food, particularly fresh produce, have always been the most frequently purchased products in our daily lives. As the food safety expectations of Chinese customers increases, whole cold chain temperature monitoring from farm to door and last-mile e-commerce delivery have become the two pressing challenges for the food industry. During this year's Walmart Food Safety Innovation Pipeline, we have seen many innovative solutions to these two challenge areas. Here, on behalf of the Board of Judges, I would like to express our sincere appreciation for your efforts and contribution. For the ten finalist teams as well as the two winners, today is only the beginning. I hope everyone will continue to work hard to improve China's food safety through technological innovation."

Finally, Senior Vice President of Walmart Global Public Policy and Government Affairs Dan Bryant gave the closing remarks on behalf of the company. He said, "Through the day I picked up on three key themes. The first is the need to share and collaborate. Whether a data platform to record and share temperature data or a packaging solution that keeps the store-level associate and customer in mind, we have to learn and share together across the supply chain if we want to build practical solutions. The second theme is constant improvement. It's a core value of Walmart and a feature of these finalists. Several of the projects talked about how their idea evolved over the course of four months while they participated in the Innovation Pipeline process.The third theme is diversity. On the stage today we had companies spanning graduate student start-ups to sophisticated multinationals. We also saw solutions that used the latest in digital technology while others did new and innovative things with materials which have been already used in food for a century. That is why I support initiatives like the Innovation Pipeline and encourage others to make similar efforts to tackle big issues in food safety.We're also pleased to play our humble role to convene industry in support of the work the government has done to ensure food safety for all Chinese citizens."

About Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center

Launched in October 2016 in Beijing, the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center (WFSCC) is a new initiative dedicated to improving food safety in China. The WFSCC aims to build a professional platform bringing relevant parties together to solve systemic problems in food safety. It promotes continuous improvements to China's food safety standards through active cooperation with universities, industry associations, enterprises,and government. The WFSCC focuses on three areas of work: food safety innovation, education, and policy support. It conducts collaborative research on critical issues in the supply chain, broadly disseminating the information among those engaged in the food safety field in China.

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