If you want to learn more about NX-FOOD and our initiatives, please find the answers to the most common questions below. Use the search function if you are looking for specific words.

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When was the programme launched?

In April 2017, the Start-up Shelf programme was launched as a pilot in the Real store in Berlin Lichtenberg. In October 2017, it was introduced in three more METRO stores and another Real store in Germany. In February 2018, NX-FOOD Start-up Shelves appeared in three METRO stores in Austria and a couple of new locations in Germany.

At the moment, NX-FOOD Start-up Shelves are available in over 10 METRO and Real stores in Germany and Austria. The locations were selected based on a good geographic coverage and relevant customer groups for the new start-up products.

What is the motivation behind the programme?

Companies around the world are adapting to the food industry that is undergoing significant changes:

  • Changing consumer preferences and the increased need to feed more people with nutritious food from fewer resources.
  • Access to food, stability in the global value chain and improving nutrition are important pillars for a sustainable future of the food system.

We think that the innovations that we discover through this programme can help to solve these problems.

Start-up Shelf programme aims to point out sustainable and innovative solutions and products in the area of food supply and to make these innovations available to METRO customers, to further develop the active start-up community and to promote their products to the broader audience. Start-up shelf connects METRO with start-ups, which already offer marketable products but have not yet been able to test them in a market environment.

What do the start-ups get from this programme?

Marketable products are characterized by the fact that they are already certified and in production. Market access itself is often a hurdle for start-ups which, before being listed in the store, must prove that their products have exceeded a certain threshold. The process of the product listing is clearly regulated by necessary administrative steps. However, these steps often appear challenging to young companies.

With the Start-up Shelf METRO simplifies the market access for the start-ups, as it facilitates the go to market with the start-up shelf and its 3-month test-listing.
After the test-listing, decisions about a permanent listing are not solely based on sales metrics but also on customer feedback and the general collaboration with the start-up.

Food retailers list endless demands before buying products from a startup. They demand guarantees that the sale of a product exceeds a certain threshold. Because no one can guarantee this with innovative products, due to a lack of experience or a missing benchmark, they hold back with orders. Even bureaucracy deters many startups from the idea to sell their products in retail.

We want to be a reliable partner for startups so that customers of our sales lines & partner can enjoy new innovative products. Mandatory processes are reduced to a minimum in the test phase. We offer startups the chance to present their products in our sales channels in a three-month test and validation phase, and to convince us that they can keep up the high performance as a permanent listing in our product range.

We offer start-ups access to our various distribution channels and thus the opportunity to market their products in different countries to our various target groups:

  • B2C Retail: real, - / Eurowings
  • B2B Wholesale: METRO / MAKRO

The startups which successfully presented themselves in the 3-month trial will be considered for a rollout into other markets.

In other words, start-ups get a chance to test their product on a wide range of customers, receive immediate feedback which helps them to improve the product and eventually get from proof of concept to proof of market. Additionally, we promote them over our own and partner social media channels to grow their digital image.

Which problems does this programme solve?

NX FOOD should set an example for sustainable and innovative solutions and products in the food supply sector.
● Innovations - What will we eat in the future?
● From cultivation to food waste reduction - how can Next Generation Food improve the food system?
● Demonstrating economic opportunities for restaurant owners - How can the hospitality industry differentiate itself from the competition through new food concepts?

Which start-ups are we looking for?

We are looking for food & beverage start-ups that offer innovative products in the following areas (not limited to):

  • New Food Solutions
  • Next-Generation Food & Beverage

Which start-ups are eligible?

  • Start-ups which exist less than five years
  • Start-ups with a marketable product
  • Start-ups with first prototype
  • Start-ups which are not being sold in other big stores
  • Start-ups which have a permission to sell their products in the respective countries

How do the start-ups apply?

On the webiste nx-food.com is a form which requests all necessary information. You can see all the questions here

How does the application process look like?

As a first step, food & beverage start-ups fill in the application form at the website https://nx-food.com.

All applications are then reviewed by a panel of judges. 8 startups which score the highest grades in the evaluation process are invited to personally pitch their product to the jury.

Following the casting, jury members select the final 4 start-ups that will be able to sell their products on NX-FOOD start-up shelves within a 3-month period.

After the pilot phase, the jury will decide on the basis of KPIs such as sales figures, customer feedback and cooperation with the startups, whether a product will be included in the general range and introduced in other markets.

There are four start-up shelf batches launched per year. Each selection cycle looks like this:

  • Weeks 1-6: review the applications, select the top-20
  • Weeks 7-8: jury reviews the applications, selects the top-4
  • Weeks 9-12: preparation for implementation (what does it include, break down)
  • Weeks 13-25: products are listed in the shelves, products for the new batch are being selected

Who selects the start-ups for the programme?

For each store (METRO Germany, METRO Austria, real,- & Eurowings) there is its own jury. It consists of representatives from Category Management, Quality Assurance, Store Manager, Business Development, Marketing and NX-FOOD.

What are the selection criteria?

• Innovative power of products / concept
• Presentation (design, story, packaging)
• Relevance for target groups
• Taste
• Impression of the founding team

How many start-ups get selected per batch?

There are usually four start-ups selected to participate in the Start-up Shelf programme for each distribution channel.

Can one product get listed in all the participating stores?

If the product has a broad target audience, it can get listed in Real, METRO Germany and Austria and Eurowings within the same batch or increase its presence after successful 3-month trial in one distribution channel.

When are the winners announced?

The winners are announced one month before the start of the next batch. The official announcement takes place with the start of the new batch.

Is the programme paid?

No. There are no costs associated with participating in the programme.

Are there any mandatory activities? How many resources and how much time will the startups need?

It is recommended, that startups conduct regular in-store tasting events. This gives them a chance to directly present their product to the customer and receive valuable feedback on the spot.

What happens after three months? Is further collaboration possible?

The purpose of the test listing is to find out, if there is enough demand potential for a listing in the permanent assortment and the further rollout of the product. Even when we do not proceed with the startups, we stay in contact. We keep iterating and improving the product based on feedback which was received.

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The NX-Food visual branding and website are developed by dombek—bolay and Albert Naasner, in close collaboration with the NX-Food team.