We are in the search for challenges!

Challenges are the cornerstones of open innovation. We gather around challenges that address the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the UN in the Agenda 2030. Are you part of a company, organisation, academy, start up or just interested in how to find solutions for a healthier planet? Please give us a heads up and we can help you formulate an interesting challenge during the Food Hack 2021.

Challenges are what we call the problem presentations that hackers work on. During the first part of the hack all challenges are presented. All the hackers are present during the presentation eager to hear something that makes their hearts leap. After the presentation they form teams and then the hacking begins.

The last day of the Food Hack the teams present their work to the audience and the jury. In other words, the challenges are super important cornerstones of the hack.

The Food Hack Challenges 2019

Challenge #1

Challenge: Farmed Blue Mussels from the Baltic Sea
Sender: Lena Tasse
Project: Baltic Blue Growth

Challenge: Mussel farming can decrease nutrient content in sea water and provide ecosystem services in the Baltic Sea – but how can the harvested farmed mussels be used and commercialized?

Blue mussels have great potential as a sustainable source of high-value protein and marine omega-3 fatty acids. Though the shells are fragile and the mussels are small, so consumers tend to prefer the larger mussels from the west coast. Consequently, this valuable resource is used for biogas or soil improvement. The ideal situation is scaled up farming of blue mussels in order to improve water quality of the Baltic Sea while making use of the harvested mussels for human consumption.


Challenge #3

Challenge: Saving food with innovative freezing techniques
Sender: Box’d Fruits

Challenge: One of the biggest contributors to the global CO2-emissions is the food industry, still one third of the food produced is wasted before it reaches the table. In Europe alone, that corresponds to 50 000 000 ton of fruits and vegetables. There’s a need for innovative solutions that tackle the food waste issue. Can innovative freezing techniques be the answer?

We are a startup who loves food and deeply cares about the environment. By merging these emotions we set out on a mission to decrease food waste, focusing on fruits and vegetables. To do this we source fresh fruits and vegetables with short shelf life, refine the produce and add value that matches a customer need by using innovative freezing techniques that sustain its nutrition and extend its life. Our first product, a frozen banana puree, is in the process to be launched on the market.

To be able to save as much food waste on a local, national and global level we are searching for new innovative products. We ask you to join us and explore customer needs, new ways to refine fruits and vegetables with short shelf life with the aim to innovate frozen products for the consumer and B2B market.

Challenge #5

Challenge: How might we design sustainable food-systems/chains for in-flight meals?
Sender: Janelle Myers, FIPDes (Food Innovation and Product Design)

Airplane cabin waste contains a significant amount of food. The legal situation is complicated with international flights and conflicting regulations, and it can be hard to predict the amount of food needed. Between in-flight catering companies, airlines, and airports, there are a lot of players involved and regulations don’t allow any risks with in-flight food.

I’ve been in contact with Servair, a large France-based in-flight catering company, and they told me that they throw away 19 thousand tons of catering waste in France alone, which includes packaging, bottles, cans, and also food. When you consider the other catering companies and all of the airports serving international flights, it’s clear that this is a significant issue.

Servair has been working to reduce airline waste since 2012. A new law in France around socio-economic responsibility, including food waste, has spurred Servair to do even more to consider their impact. In addition, a Spanish project called Zero Cabin Waste has been working with Iberia, Gate Gourmet, and other stakeholders to study and reduce the amount of waste generated by in-flight catering. This project has been in process since September 2016 and expects to finish by the end of 2019.

How might we design sustainable food-systems/chains for in-flight meals aiming for zero-waste?


Callenge: #7

Challenge: Sustainable diets based on legumes
Sender: Alicja Wolk, Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet

Research suggest that the consumption of red meat is linked to cronic deseases such as diabetes and coronary heart decease. From a nutrition perspective – red meat could be replaced by legumes. How can we achieve a change towards a legume based diet that is more sustainable for the planet and more sustainable for the individual?

In developed countries like Sweden the consumption of red meat and processed red meat products has been increasing over the last decades. It has consequences, both for human health and for planet health (climate). Studies show links between red meat (especially processed meat) and several cronic deseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and cancer. We also know that in these countries the consumption of legumes (beans, lentils, peas) – which potentially could replace the red meats from a nutrition perspective – is low. For example Swedish men consume only 0.3 servings per week. Lower consumption of red meats might lead toward; better health of populations, lower economic burden of health care, lower impact on consumed foods on climate. How can we achieve a change towards a diet that is more sustainable for the planet and more sustainable for the individual?

Challenge #9

Challenge: Improved design process for more climate friendly food products
Sender: Lyckeby Starch & Lyckeby Culinar, contact person: Mia Henrysson, Sustainability Specialist

The carbon emissions need to be radically reduced in the near future in order to reach the climate goals in Agenda 2030 and the Paris agreement. Food production and consumption is one of the biggest sources for carbon emissions, in Sweden the food chain corresponds to 25% of total carbon emissions! To be able to make the right choices when designing new products, food producing companies need to increase their knowledge about climate impact of their raw materials and get user friendly tools to implement this knowledge in the design process. And this needs to be fixed now!

At Lyckeby excellent chefs, experienced product developers and some of the world’s top experts in food texture design new food products using well equipped kitchens and flexible pilot technology. We develop new products together with our customers, technical support for achieving expected flavour or texture is always included in our offer and this way we have high impact on our customer’s products.

For our new products we use more than 1000 different ingredients from around the world. Many of them are herbs and spices, cultivated by farmers in developing countries. For these products there are very limited carbon footprint data.

How can we reduce the climate impacts of the products we design? What tools can be implemented in our development processes to simplify active choices of climate friendly ingredients when designing new products? And how can the knowledge about climate impact of ingredients be increased at the speed necessary to reach the climate goals?

Challenge #11

Challenge: Biogas + electricity = true. Boosting biogas as a natural piece of the circular society.
Sender: Kristianstad Municipality, Region of Skåne – Malin Sturesson, Karl-Erik Grevendahl

The world is in the beginning stages of a transition into a circular society, where biogas plays a natural and crucial role as part of the local eco cycle. Biogas is made from organic waste material or crops. The material is digested in big reactors by a natural process. After the digestion you get two great products, biogas and bio fertilizer.

Right now, the focus is on electricity driven cars and buses. It’s very unfortunate that two different environmentally friendly fuels have to compete and are compared. They both play an important role in the transitioning to a fossil free and circular society.

How do we increase the use of biogas as fuel and make it just as interesting as electricity without making it a competition between the two of them?

Challenge #2

Challenge: Business Models for reclaiming contaminated soil
Sender: Henrik Haller PhD – Department of Ecotechnology and Sustainable Buildning Engineering at Mid Sweden University

Challenge: Today many poor farmers work on or close to contaminated land with great negative effects on their health. Research has found ways of cleaning the soil but experience has shown that farmers can’t afford to make the investment needed as the ROI is long term and partly collective. How can we create a sustainable business model that allows for contaminated lands to be cleaned?

Currently, agriculture is responsible for almost 25% of all greenhouse gas emission as well as many other negative impacts. In order to end hunger in all its forms by 2030, food production needs to increase without intruding on other SDGs. Innovative ways of growing, sharing and consuming food are thus necessary and one way to produce more food while achieving a healthier planet is to reclaim marginal contaminated land for food production.

By developing agroforestry systems on such contaminated areas with selected plants that can accumulate/degrade the contaminants but exclude it from the edible part, safe food can be produced at the same time as the soil is cleaned and atmospheric carbon dioxide is captured while creating better labour standards and lowring risk for farmers in development countries.

Experiences from remediation programs have shown that the societal costs of inaction are great but benefits (in terms of increased health, property values, poverty reduction etc.) from remediation projects are considerable. The problem is that those benefits are collective and not immediate enough to convince poor farmers to adapt bioremediation technologies.


Challenge #4

Challenge: Our vulnerable food-system
Sender: Erika Öhlund, PhD Student at Södertörn University (Beyond GDP Growth)

Challenge: If self-sufficiency is defined as the food produced with only national or local inputs the self-sufficiency in Sweden is currently close to zero. One study concluded that halving the fossil fuel supply to Swedish agriculture would quickly lead to starvation. This issue is not only a Swedish concern and it’s quickly catching attention as the global politic situation is becoming more tense. The question is: How could food production in a city, rural community or on a farm be organized to be better prepared for a cut in trade flows?

The drought in Sweden 2018 Photo: Caroline Möller

Research suggests that the Swedish agricultural system is very dependent on functioning trade flows, both for import of agricultural inputs (e.g. fuel, animal feed, chemical fertilizers, plant protection products) and for export of agricultural products. This is not unique for Sweden, since agricultural products are traded on the world market. A country or region that lacks contingency planning and preparedness becomes vulnerable. An international crisis of environmental or political nature risks to decrease or cut trade flows, quickly leading to alarming food deficits. In fact, if self-sufficiency is defined as the food produced with only Swedish inputs, it may be more correct to say that the self-sufficiency in Sweden is currently close to zero, since practically all Swedish farms use fossil fuels and/or imported inputs such as chemical fertilisers (for which fossil natural gas is used in the production process) and pesticides that are not produced in Sweden. One study concluded that halving the fossil fuel supply to Sweden would quickly lead to starvation.


Challenge #6

Challenge: The circular human body
Sender: Thieu Custers
Project: Anthroponix

In the near future, we are building up to a phosphate crisis. This indispensable material is used as fertilizer for all crops in the world. Urine contains three of the most important elements in fertilizer: nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. These elements are currently flushed away, and are filtered out of our waterways. This is a waste of resources.

With Anthroponix we are working on finding easy ‘low-tech’ solutions for utilizing these waste streams and growing crops on them, as well as creating a robust way of treating these human waste streams for areas where traditional toilets and plumbing are not available. Did you know that you can grow about a thousand kilos of rice on the urine of one person in a year.

We invite you to work on a practical implementation of such a system – in the future; do we grow our own food on our waste at home, are we going to create the toilet of the future, is this the new ecosphere we need on mars? Join in the challenge of making our own body circular.


Challenge #8

Challenge: Business model for respectful food systems
Sender:Dr. Alexandra Nikoleris (contact person), Environmental and Energy System Studies, LTH, Ludwig Bengtsson Sonesson, Project Leader at Lund University Sustainability Forum, Dr. Tobias Linné, Dept. of Communication and Media, Dr. Kimberly Nicholas, LUCSUS
Institution/project: Lund University, the Narrating Climate Futures network

Many Swedish farmers are heavily invested in infrastructure built for meat and dairy production, often leveraged through big loans. This makes it financially difficult to transition to and sustain regenerative farming practices, especially on marginal land. Several recent reports, however, have shown that to meet climate targets, Europe has to reduce both its consumption and production of meat and dairy. A growing vegan movement also raises awareness of the one-sided relationship between humans and animals that result from the food system we have today, where animals are not seen as living beings in their own right but as resources of food. Both of these issues points towards a shift in food production away from large scale meat and dairy to legumes and other plant-based proteins.

Photo: Amberg Kipp

At the same time, ruminants (not just cows, but pigs, horses, sheep etc.) have a role to play in preserving grasslands which are important habitats for many other species. Few (if any) food systems that we have could be sustained without the labour and/or existence of animals (be it their manure, their milk or their muscles). To feed future generations, the marginal lands unsuitable for crops need to be used for food production, and ruminants have a role to play.

In order to transition from conventional farming we need to show that it is financially viable and even desirable to own a regenerative organic farm. What might a farming model based on todays knowledge about ecosystems and climate targets look like?

Challenge #10

Challenge: Designing an open source brand for the global farmer-community.
Sender: Leif Czakai (OSSS/FIPDes Food Innovation and Product Design)

Few farmers in development countries have experience in adding value to their produce. By designing an open source toolkit and an open source brand we aim to empower farmers around the world with knowledge, know-how and innovative branding that helps them build sustainable business models and become part of a global network.

In 2018 we were asked to think of an open source system for the use and documentation of seeds. We already had connections to farming communities in Uganda and in Kenya so we went there to develop our ideas with the farmers themselves. While being in Uganda and Kenya we organised workshops with two communities where each farmer brought some of their crops. We explained how we could fabricate easy to sell “snacks” from it but made sure we work together on the actual development of recipes and ways to fabricate them. We also made some low-tech machines with local crafts-people that could be used for production in remote places. Along the way we developed the idea of a brand that would openly enable farmers all over the world to support themselves, biodiversity and climate resilience, we call it OSSS (Open Source Seeds Snacks).

Help us build a brand with a global image that benefits from commercialization but that stays a network of independent farmer communities locally being enabled to start their business of making snacks from their crops.

Guidelines and FAQs

Can I suggest a challenge?
You are welcome to suggest a challenge, but the slots are limited. We are sourcing challenges from students, scientists, businesses, NGOs and so forth.

I’m already working on something – can I bring it to the hack?
The challenge can’t be an ongoing business venture however an ongoing business venture can present a specific challenge that they want to open up publicly.

Any specific challenges you are looking for?
This year all challenges are to be within the main theme ”A Healthier Planet”. Food is focus and we would love it if you address one or more of the SDGs (Sustainable development goals).

Do I have to attend the hack if my challenge is accepted?
As a challenge contributor you are responsible for making a live presentation. Preferably you attend the pitching event on the first day of The Food Hack 2020 but it’s also possible to do the presentation pre- recorded.

How should I present the challenge? 
The time limit is 3 minutes + 2 minutes of questions. Slides are a good way of making challenges more tangible. If your challenge is accepted we will help you put it into words.

Please contact us if you wish to suggest a challenge!

phone: +46738-082061