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Empowering young innovators to transform our food systems


The Foodathon is an innovation and creativity hackathon which seeks to empower young innovators from Europe and Africa to transform our food systems. It is focussed on building young people’s entrepreneurial skills through an intensive two-day programme in which they will have the opportunity to develop and pitch a business idea.

The Foodathon is an initiative organised by EIT Food and JA Europe in partnership with EUROPEN, with the support of Bayer and FoodDrinkEurope.

The current state of the food system is a leading cause of some of the biggest challenges that our world is facing, from climate change, pollution and waste, to malnutrition, disease and obesity. These challenges require the input of all stakeholders across the food value chain. To ensure solutions are future-proof and break away from established business as usual patterns, it is imperative we include young people in their design, as well as leverage their creativity and innovative perspectives.  

During the Foodathon, more than 100 students aged 15-19, from secondary schools across Africa and Europe, will work together in cross-continent teams to come up with a business solution to one of three focus areas, reflecting some of the biggest challenges currently faced by the agrifood sector:

  • Food loss and food waste
  • Tech, data and digitalisation for sustainable agriculture
  • Nutrition and prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

Throughout the process, the students will be supported by mentors who will work with them to develop their ideas into business concepts. The students will then pitch their solutions to a jury of agri-food and innovation experts, who will select the most promising ideas. 

In addition to learning and reflecting upon the agri-food challenges we are facing, the young people taking part will have the opportunity to develop skills and competences in team working, creativity, problem solving, communications and public speaking. We believe these skills are key to move great ideas from the lab to the market and create societal impact.    

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony taking place on the occasion of World Food Day 2021. Winning teams will also have the opportunity to present their ideas to high-level policy, industry and academia stakeholders at the official World Food Day event organised by FAO's EU office.

The Foodathon is part of a larger portfolio of work EIT Food is championing which is involving younger people in shaping the future of food. Other initiatives include the Our Food, Our Food System campaign.

We believe in the value of education to help us solve the challenges the food system faces.


Project lead

Giovanni Colombo

Senior Public Affairs Manager