March 2024

Teaming up for impact: ZFV Group on their partnerships with Yumame, Steasy and Food2050

Image of the Yumane team
Backed by more than 125 years of history and 200+ meeting places across Switzerland, the ZFV Group (ZFV) offers a treasure trove of knowledge in the fields of hospitality and catering. They use this not only for their own business, but also to make it easier for food sector startups to break into the market. From investments in new products to initiatives such as a jointly developed meal plan system, ZFV is synonymous with equal partnerships.

Valley partners Steasy, FOOD2050, and Yumame have all been advised and assisted by the ZFV Group. The ZFV team is sure of one thing: we can only achieve true change through collaboration. This is why the company is constantly on the lookout for new partnerships and start-ups with which to innovate and co-create.

Yumame: A change in the cooking pot

In its own restaurants as well as in cafeterias and staff restaurants, ZFV’s focus is on balanced and climate-friendly food. Whether it’s with innovative recipes from ZFV’s own climate-friendly kitchen, totally new concepts (such as Flavour Kitchen or Green Kitchen Lab), or menus that feature more than 50% vegan and vegetarian offerings, ZFV relies first and foremost on diverse partnerships with innovative producers. One of these is Yumame Foods AG. The startup produces sustainable food based on mushrooms and fermentation techniques, with a focus  on local and environmentally-friendly practices. These newcomers attracted the attention of ZFV’s F&B team, who were enthused and impressed by its products. Yumame will serve as ZFV’s first catering partner — and they’ve already dished up their first recipes in the Green Kitchen Lab at the University of Zurich. This includes the innovative “Farm to Table” research project, which ZFV is implementing jointly with the Zurich University School of Management and Law and Zurich University of the Arts, where Yumame will be featured as an important part of the culinary offer.

FOOD2050: Transparency on plates

ZFV values transparency about the effects of its food highly, and aims to inspire its guests with enthusiasm for an environmentally-friendly and balanced diet. Start-up and Valley member FOOD2050, founded in 2021, pursues the same aim. The company was in the process of developing a meal plan system and seeking a partner to co-create with.. Won over by FOOD2050’s vision, ZFV became its strategic partner in 2021, and they jointly implemented the meal plan system for the first time at the University of Zurich in 2022. Together, they further developed the initial pilot project and implemented it in 2023 at the Swiss Museum of Transport and in three other ZFV locations. A digital menu and meal plan now highlight the climate impact of individual menus directly to guests, and its food profiles offer detailed information about individual dishes,including portraits of the ingredients’ producers. The plan is for FOOD2050 to be part of all ZFV businesses by the end of 2024.

“Innovation means keeping one’s eyes open, constant scrutiny, actively engaging with one’s environment, personal development and also taking a chance now and then!” – Dario Notaro, CBDO ZFV

Steasy: Investment in the future of catering

By investing in Steasy, a start-up that developed the first-ever mobile mini steamer, ZFV found a way to delight and serve those who don’t eat their lunch in cafeterias and staff restaurants. Thanks to an integrated battery, a pre-prepared menu can be quickly and gently heated — a total innovation with potential that was immediately obvious to ZFV.

“High-quality, healthy and sustainable food should also be possible on the move, or in locations where it is not possible to eat in a restaurant,” – Dario Notaro, CBDO ZFV

Open to innovation and new partners

ZFV has been pursuing a vision of comprehensive meeting places that encompass six dimensions – menu, people, physical space, virtual space, sustainability — and importantly, the ZFV ecosystem, including partners like Steasy, FOOD2050 and Yumame. With this vision in mind, its projects embody a culture of innovation that leaves plenty of scope for innovation. By thinking outside the box and seeing the potential in start-ups of all sizes, ZFV hopes to continue to support and co-create superb projects with driven innovators.

Through its partnerships with Valley, the ZFV Group is seeking to increase these efforts and make its expertise available to more young entrepreneurs.  ZFV hopes to tap this network for additional exciting collaborations — the team has only just made a start on developing the Swiss food system.

Read the article in German

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