How can ingredients enable a more resource-efficient and sustainable food production with less waste?


Help us answer the question: How can food ingredients help optimize the utilization of our limited resources and reduce the amount of food waste?
Immerse yourself into one of Denmark´s most exciting industries and come up with your proposals as to how the Danish ingredient industry will help ensure that we can feed the worlds growing population.

Keywords: Ingredients, sustainability, resource efficiency, food waste, big data, ESS, CRISPR-Cas9

Focus Area

The global market for food ingredients is growing rapidly due to a growing global population and prosperity increase. UN and the World Bank estimate that by 2050 there will be a need to produce about 70 per cent more food as today. The development puts an enormous pressure on the world´s scarce natural resources, which necessitates that the ingredient companies focus even more on developing state-of-the-art products that can contribute to a sustainable, resource-efficient and a “non-waste” food production in Denmark as well as globally ensuring that we can feed the 9 billion people in 2050.


This challenge consists of two scope´s:

  • Scope 1: How can the food ingredient industry help the food industry utilize the world´s food resources optimally?
  • Scope 2: How can new technologies help the ingredient industry to develop new ingredients for the food industry? Can these products help reduce the amount of food waste and how?

Select the scope that you find the most interesting or feel free to work with both..

Scope 1: Optimal utilization of the available food resources

A consequence of a growing population is an increasing pressure on the global food production. If we are to feed the world´s population in the future, we need to utilize the raw material optimally – in a sustainable and resource-efficient manner.

The Danish ingredient industry possesses a stronghold here, as many ingredients is based on residual fractions from the food production. However, there are significant opportunities to further increase the utilization rate of the available food resources, maybe also by using new types of raw materials.

  • Identify and propose a better utilization of existing side-products (e.g. whey, meat, starch etc.).
  • Can certain current food ingredients be manufactured more sustainable from a different commodity (e.g. aqua, insects etc.)? If yes, please describe possibilities/challenges and positive/negative consequences.

In a circular economy, materials and products are recycled with minimal loss of value e.g. how the rest of the raw material can be utilized for a different purpose rather than be a waste product.

  • Identify current residues, which can advantageously be made into high value product(s) (e.g. residues from fermentations of cultures or mash from the brewing industry etc.).
  • How valuable is the above-identified residual product and how do you decide how best to use the residual product? (cascade optimization)?
    • What are the barriers for increased cascade utilization?

Scope 2: Reduction of food waste

Utilization of food waste has been put on the agenda. It is estimated that approximately 33% of all food worldwide today is wasted[1,2]. An important part of the problem lies in the fact, that consumers puts high demands on the color, taste, nutrition, consistency and prolonged freshness of the products. New ingredients that can help the food industry achieving this are needed in order to reduce the amount of food waste.

We challenge you to give us new insight by exploring the opportunities in:

  • European Spallation Source (ESS) – How can ESS help the ingredient industry to develop new ingredients that can give food products the right structure, taste, durability, nutritional profile etc. (e.g. rennet and ice crystals[3])? How can this help reduce the amount of food waste?
  • CRISPR-Cas9[4] – How can CRISPR-Cas9 help the ingredient industry to develop new products (e.g. yoghurt[5] )? How can this help reduce the amount of food waste?
  • Which ethical, legal and societal challenges are associated with the CRISPR-Cas9 technique?
  • Big Data – How can the ingredient industry make use of big data to reduce food waste?

[1] Food wastage footprint – Impact on natural resources, FAO 2013

[2] World Ressource Institute, 2015

[3] Danmark i centrum for materiale- og bioteknologiske løsninger, Strukturfondsprojektet ESS og MAX IV som vækstmoter i Hovedstadsregionen, 2014

[4] Read more about CRISPR-Cas9 in this article: CRISPR-Cas systems for editing, regulating and targeting genomes, Nature Biotechnology, 2014

[5] There´s CRISPR in Your Yoghurt (There-s-CRISPR-in-Your-Yogurt/)


We are looking for a conceptual out-of-the-box thinking. There are no limits to your creativity. However, your solutions must be feasible, bear in mind that we are a regulated industry.


Company websites:


Quick links to the other challenges:
How to secure relevance of dairy in the sustainable diets of the future.