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EDAMAX: Making Edamame a European Diet Staple

That consumers are keen on high-protein food isn’t new. But increasingly, they want these proteins to be plant-based, too. This is where Vienna-based EDAMAX comes in: “Our company is rooted in the belief that edamame, a young soybean, offers a delicious and healthful option for consumers seeking plant-based protein and nutrient-rich foods,” CEO Ana Slanina said.

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The Rise of Plant-Based Protein: EDAMAX’s Edamame Mission

EDAMAX’s primary competition, she added, “comes from established edamame producers in Asia, particularly from China, where edamame has been traditionally grown and consumed.”

Although we tend to associate edamame with Japan, “China has a significant market presence in Europe due to their longstanding expertise and established distribution networks.” But the Austrian startup hopes that its dedication to growing and marketing European edamame will make a difference.

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Sustainable Farming: EDAMAX’s European Edamame Production

By growing edamame in southeastern Romania, EDAMAX will ensure a shorter farm-to-table journey, resulting in less environmental impact and fresher products that adhere to European quality standards and can be delivered faster. 

According to the startup, the latter is a significant advantage over Asian producers, whose products may spend considerable time in transit and storage, potentially affecting freshness and quality. In contrast, its edamame is promptly frozen once harvested “to lock in its freshness and flavor.”

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EDAMAX’s B2B Model: Advantages for Retailers and Wholesalers

Since EDAMAX opted for a B2B model, all of the above will be arguments for retailers, wholesalers, and food service companies, but also selling points that these can share with end buyers.

As a company, EDAMAX is still early in its journey, with a new crop to come soon. Afterward, it expects that its participation in SIAL Startup Invest will help increase its brand visibility in the food industry, where it is seeking strategic partnerships with distributors and retailers. 

In addition, Slanina said the startup hopes to use the event “to acquire new clients across the wholesale, retail, and food service sectors, while also connecting with enthusiasts of high-quality, sustainably grown edamame [and] to build a loyal customer base of edamame fans.”

Different reasons might drive Europeans to local edamame. Reducing the carbon footprint is definitely in line with the expectations of climate-conscious consumers who increasingly aspire to buy locally sourced and sustainable foods. And then, there’s the product itself, which resonates with health-conscious customers, vegetarians, and vegans. 

Meanwhile, fitness enthusiasts might turn to edamame snacks for health reasons but also for convenience, another trend that could resonate with a larger audience.

There are regulatory tailwinds as well for European edamame, chiefly the European Protein Strategy, which calls for solutions to the “EU protein deficit” in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and other factors that increased awareness of the need to encourage domestic production, especially of alternative, sustainable proteins. 

This is in line with how the startup sees itself: “EDAMAX is not just a company; it’s a commitment to promoting healthier lifestyles and sustainable agriculture.” But while there are serious topics at stake, EDAMAX’s team is also mindful not to lose track of what brought them here. “On a personal level, we have a genuine love for edamame,” Slanina explained.

“Its delicious taste, versatility, and nutritional benefits make it an exceptional product that we are passionate about bringing to a wider audience. Edamame is not only rich in protein but also packed with essential vitamins and minerals, making it an ideal choice for health-conscious consumers.” 

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Edamame: Nutritional Benefits for Health-Conscious Consumers

“Ultimately,” she concluded, “our commitment to promoting healthy food options aligns with our personal values and the broader trends in the food industry. We believe that by offering high-quality European edamame, we can make a positive impact on both individual health and the environment.”

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