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Foodtech Challenge 2016

For the second time Foodjob Nordic partnered up with MCH Messecenter Herning to collaborate on the student challenge FoodTech Challenge in November 2016

The student challenge concept is developed by Foodjob Nordic and the consultant company Maage. Foodjob Nordic recruits the participating students and companies.

FoodTech Challenge is a three-day open innovation competition for students and graduates and is held as part of the FoodTech Fair in MCH Messecenter Herning and sponsored by Damstahl a/s.

50 students and graduates participated in FoodTech Challenge to solve ten specific and unique cases developed by the Danish food industry. The field of applicants was very international. More than 1800 students and graduates applied for the prominent seats in FoodTech Challenge 2016 and we received applications from more than 80 different nations – among others Korea, USA, Ghana and Nepal. 

During the three days, the participants were briefed by company representatives and guided by a team facilitator to come up with a solution for their case. The 10 teams worked with a business model in special designed offices called ‘cubes’ and on the third day they were to present their solution to a panel of judges. The five teams that scored the highest points on their presentation were chosen to pitch their ideas on stage in front of an audience. The teams were; DuPont, AAK, Scandi Standard, KMC and Barry Callebaut.

The Winner of FoodTech Challenge 2016
After three days of intensive work, Team AAK was chosen as the overall winner of FoodTech Challenge 2016. The team had been working with a case regarding the future of healthy plant-based dairy products. Their winning solution was to produce plant-based dairy products on the base of algae oil, which is both sustainable and healthy. “If everybody desire to eat ice cream in 2050, we cannot solely be using milk from cows. We must exploit the planet’s resources much better. To do so, we can make plant-based dairy products as a replacement of the conventional everyday dairy products”, said Nellie Rindorf from Team AAK, about their winning solution. Representing the judges Alan Friis from Tech4Bizz concurs; “It was important for the judges that the winning solution was realistic, ambitious and still realisable to the company”. He continues; “Team AAK had a solution that considered a broad and practical perspective, with a sustainable solution on ice cream for everybody in 2050. This solution appealed to the company’s vision and the team had a holistic understanding of the framework presented by the company – that’s why Team AAK was the winner of FoodTech Challenge”.

Everybody are winners!
The competition was very close. The judges were impressed and Alan Friis elaborates: “The last five teams who pitched their solutions on stage were very close – only 8 points separated number 1 and 5 on scale where 100 points was the maximum. That said, all 50 students who participated in FoodTech Challenge were winners, because they were selected among 1800 applicants – and that’s something to be very proud of”. Also the companies are winners: “Generally I think it’s amazing how much inspiration and concrete value the companies gain from the participant’s three days of work and also how deep, detailed and realistically the participants worked with their case and company”, Alan Friis says and continues: “The company representatives I’ve talked to at FoodTech Challenge said that many of the ideas, their teams have had, have opened up for new thoughts, markets and some are even going to be implemented right away”.

Participating pays of!
One of the participants for Team DC Ingredients Steffen Frahm Faartoft has now got an internship at KMC in Brande in their cheese application department, where he researches in adding proteins to vegan cheese products. He got his internship because he participated in FoodTech Challenge:

“It was at the FoodTech Fair in Herning in 2016 I got in contact with KMC. In between my work in FoodTech Challenge I networked with the other participating companies, and got to talk to among others an Account Manager from KMC and heard about their research in the cheese application. When an internship was possible I did not hesitate to contact KMC, because they already knew me from FoodTech Challenge and knew my professional and personal competences. Participating in FoodTech Challenge has definitely given me insight in how different job situations and competences are combined in real companies – definitely a competence I’m using in my intership in KMC today.”