SAN FRANCISCO — Danone North America and Givaudan are seeking help from startups to develop breakthrough solutions in a pair of Innovation Challenges launching in partnership with the organizers of the Future Food-Tech series.

Previously, Kraft Heinz Co., Kellogg Co., Unilever, Roquette and Quorn Foods have launched similar initiatives with Rethink Events to highlight emerging talent and solve problems in product development. Startups may apply for the latest installment at through Jan. 31, and selected finalists will pitch ideas during the Future Food-Tech Summit in San Francisco March 24-25.

“The Innovation Challenges provide startups with the opportunity to collaborate with corporate leaders and access top-level support, expertise and facilities to scale their solutions,” said Oliver Katz, conference producer at Future Food-Tech. “We can’t wait to hear from a diverse range of ambitious start-ups on how they plan to address these two major challenges.”

The innovation and research and development team at Danone North America, White Plains, NY, is looking for technologies to deliver more functionality to plant-based cheese alternatives, replicating the stretch and melting properties of traditional shredded or sliced cheeses such as mozzarella or cheddar. The company said it is interested in such solutions as plant-based extrusion, microbial fermentation and cell-culturing. Applicants should have proof of principle and prototypes.

Givaudan, Vernier, Switzerland, seeks to collaborate with science-driven startups developing natural ingredient solutions that support immunity, energy and sleep. Applicants must have proof of principle and prototypes, and the company prefers to work with startups that have clinical backing.

“Creative thinking that leads to true innovation is reliant on collaboration and co-creation, and we have found that this mentality works beautifully between Givaudan and startup companies,” said Fabio Campanile, global head of science and technology, taste and wellbeing at Givaudan. “Together, we’re able to get further faster, and often better. We’ve now partnered with Future Food-Tech for a number of years and know that this is the place to pose a challenge focused on the development of ingredients that help boost immunity, mind, energy and sleep.”