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The Online Circular Yoghurt Challenge Lab, an innovative new hackathon

Dairy is a fantastic source of nutrients but from farm to spoon it remains depletive to the planet. What if we could create a dairy-based yoghurt that is regenerative for the environment and the people involved?

16 Dec 2020
EIT Food South


Ever dreamed of changing the food industry for the better?

This Challenge Lab focused on co-designing impactful and holistic solutions in order to create the first ever positive impact yoghurts. Imagine dairy yoghurts with a positive social, ecological and economic impact, by design. Still the same delicious, nutritious and affordable product, but this time good for you AND the planet. 

“The system as we know it is no longer fit for purpose”  says Merijn Dols

Spread across 3 weeks, this exclusive online hackathon brought together 40+ participants within 10 teams, each of them with diverse backgrounds from all across Eastern and Southern Europe. The Challenge Lab included:

  • 6 hours of workshops per week 
  • Collaborating with top industry experts and experienced facilitators, such as  David Greenfield
  • Access to subject matter professionals at Danone:  Merijn Dols and Eleni Chiotelli, among others

During the Challenge Lab, participants were prepared to gain insights into the challenges facing the dairy industry and the product design process through:

  • Designing and developing innovative & impactful ideas 
  • Building functional prototypes 
  • Devising viable business plans 

All of this culminated in a finale where the winners had access to €3,000 in prizes and the opportunity to be supported by Danone and EIT Food to accelerate their projects. The first prize went to HoliCow, which took home 2000€. Their premise is focused on localizing the yoghurt production chain by supporting local farmers and in doing so bringing the freshest, low-impact, dairy yoghurt to stores. As second winner was Corners Cutters by getting a prize of 1000€. Their solution focuses on the creation of a sustainable yoghurt that doesn’t include preservatives and can stay fresh without refrigeration. Also, both teams will be pitching their ideas to top executives at Danone in early 2021, and all teams have the opportunity to join EIT Food’s accelerator programs. 

"I realised that future is now and we have to adapt to circular economy" explains a participant

Participants rated EIT Food Challenge Lab with a 4.5 out of 5 and they utterly saw a change in their behaviour in relation to food: "I realised that future is now and we have to adapt to circular economy"

As we could see, not only is the Challenge Lab an excellent opportunity to network and cultivate opportunities, but this is a real chance to make a difference in the world and have your vision seen in stores across Iberia. Therefore, EIT Food and Danone will happily continue supporting such disruptive innovation in the pursuit of a happier and healthier planet.

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