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New European Bauhaus start-up inoqo: "You should be able to know where the ingredients in your products come from"

In this second episode, we meet Laura Marx, Research & Funding Specialist and Luise Lehfeldt Business & Partnership Development Specialists, from the Austrian startup inoqo. Together with Norbite (SW), Nabo Farm (DK) and Crafting Future (GE), inoqo is part of the first cohort of the New European Bauhaus Booster program.

16 Nov 2022
4 min reading time

Aesthetics, sustainability, circularity, and inclusiveness are the building blocks to deliver the European Green Deal and make our cities more sustainable with higher social values. The EIT Community, led by EIT Food, uses these values within the New European Bauhaus (NEB) mission, to address urban food systems challenges. Through its Booster program, it supports selected startups that match the NEB Values to bring their ideas to new markets and scale them up.

In this second episode, we meet Laura Marx, Research & Funding Specialist and Luise Lehfeldt Business & Partnership Development Specialists, from the Austrian startup inoqo. Together with Norbite (SW), Nabo Farm (DK) and Crafting Future (GE), inoqo is part of the first cohort of the New European Bauhaus Booster program.  

Can you tell us a bit more about INOQO?

“inoqo is a leading sustainability platform helping retailers and F&B brands to assess, optimize and communicate the social environmental impact of their products,” explain Laura Marx and Luise Lehfeldt. “Our ultimate mission is to help millions of consumers to make environmentally and socially conscious choices through clear product labeling and by showcasing impact transparency,” they continue.

“We also provide engagement solutions for retailers such as a consumer app. The aim of the app is to engage users by providing sustainable alternatives to choose from and take them on a nudging journey by providing recipes for their shopping and help them to transition step by step to a healthier and more sustainable diet.”

"We make the retailers and the customers work together [...] If these two align, we believe we can achieve a lot"

- Laura Marx, Research & Funding Specialist, inoqo

How is INOQO an inclusive business?

“We value collaboration and cocreation to achieve a bigger goal. From this point of view, we make the retailers and the customers work together. On one hand, we want to achieve the retailers and the brand’s transition to more sustainable production methods and products, and on the other hand, we want to make consumers more aware of what's inside their product."

"If these two align, we believe we can achieve a lot,” they state enthusiastically. “Furthermore, we encourage the competition between brands to produce more sustainably. Thankfully, both brands and retailers are becoming more and more aware that they really have to change their products and their production processes.”

“The biggest challenge is for retailers to implement our climate labels. When they realize that 70% of their assortment is on the unsustainable side, it’s both a big step and a big barrier"

- Luise Lehfeldt Business & Partnership Development Specialist, inoqo

Can you identify some challenges you faced and how you solved them?

“The biggest challenge is for retailers to implement our climate labels. When they realize that 70% of their assortment is on the unsustainable side, it’s both a big step and a big barrier for them to display that 70% of their products as not that good,” they explain. “It’s not just about the reaction of consumers but mostly the challenge they might face with suppliers.”

“It takes a lot of convincing and facilitating difficult conversations from our end to help them understand that sharing this information is still the solution,” they admit. “But on the sunny side, we see that more and more retailers are willing to take that step which will ultimately cause a ripple effect among producers and suppliers. At the same time, we received feedback that the data on the climate labels is not enough. Consumers may be triggered once or twice, but then they get used to it and choose the cheaper product regardless.”

"We hope we can support the transition towards more sustainability in the value chain as you should really be able to know where the products and the ingredients of the products come from"

- Luise Lehfeldt Business & Partnership Development Specialist, inoqo

“Another big challenge we face internally is the lack of transparency in the value chain when we have to calculate the CO2 footprints of product. As a consequence, not all our calculations are as detailed and exact as we would like them to be because we lack essential background information due to the absence of regulations and policies”, they state. “It’s important that this changes and we hope that we can support the transition towards more sustainability in the value chain as you should really be able to know where the products and the ingredients of the products come from.”

What are your expectations of the NEB Booster Program?

“We definitely hope to tap into your extensive partner network of retailers as we believe it could help us expand our solution faster to other countries in Europe,” they agree unanimously. “We also hope to learn from your expertise with startups to help us define the best way to increase the impact we can make with our solution.”


Curious to get to know how the other NEB startups help to create a more sustainable future? Read our summary article or explore our interview series with them.

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