University students hailing from various corners of Asia are being presented with an incentive of $10,000 to devise novel, plant-based food solutions. The innovations are intended to both foster the expansion of the regional market for environmentally sustainable foods and contribute to the advancement of climate-conscious dietary choices.
The competition, titled the ProVeg Food Innovation Challenge, is currently in its fourth consecutive year. Participating students are encouraged to channel their imagination through addressing some of the most pressing global predicaments of our time.
“We really encourage as many university students as possible, from all disciplines, to take part in the Food Innovation Challenge 2023. Not only could they end up creating a great new food for the supermarket shelves and win a lot of money, but they could also make a valuable contribution to improving our food system,” Shirley Lu, Managing Director Asia and Chief China Representative at ProVeg International, said.
“Our food choices have a significant impact on climate change, food security, animal welfare, as well as health and pandemics. Innovative, plant-based foods can offer multi-problem solutions to these issues,” Lu added.
Multinational companies involved
Annually, the Food Innovation Challenge garners backing from multinational firms to aid students in developing their submissions. This year, corporates such as Nestle and Unilever, alongside Asian startups including Green Rebel (Indonesia), Haofood (China), and Unlimeat (South Korea), are engaged. Furthermore, Zuming Bean Products Company, China’s inaugural soybean firm on the stock market, and Shuangta, a premier plant-based protein manufacturer, are also contributors.
Student projects encompass diverse categories like plant-based meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products spanning convenience and snack foods. Engaged students will also have the opportunity for partner company/factory tours.
How the challenge works
The challenge is open to students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs at universities and colleges in the Asia-Pacific region. Teams must have a minimum of two and a maximum of four people and can include students from different disciplines and schools. Students may submit a maximum of two proposals or join a maximum of two teams.
The judging criteria are as follows:
- Market potential (30%). The judging panel will look at the projected revenue, profitability, and growth opportunities, taking challenges and available alternatives into consideration.
- Feasibility (30%) The panel will look at the feasibility of product (or campaign) ideas, including formulation, manufacturing, supply chain, and distribution.
- Product uniqueness (20%). The panel will look for clear explanations of how your project is innovative and different from what is currently available in the sector.
- Go-to-market strategy (20%). Entries will gain points for clear explanations of how you would introduce your products to the market.
The deadline for submission of final ideas will be on 20 November 2023. Finalist teams will be announced in the first week of January 2024.
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