Arla’s Open Innovation Challenge for New Ways to Drive the Future of Dairy

Published Mar-01-16

Novel ways to deliver artisanal ice creams, and canned fish produced by artisanal processes are among the concepts that grabbed the attention of the dairy industry in this open innovation challenge.

Arla, Denmark

The Story:

Arla’s Open Innovation Challenge for New Ways to Drive the Future of Dairy In recent years, farmer owned global dairy company Arla has been integrating open innovation into a number of it processes to help it create the future of dairy. One such initiative is the Arla Food Innovation Challenge, a search for 'the next competitive and innovative idea that will make our world a better place to eat'.

Crowdsourcing Food Challenge

The first version of this crowdsourcing challenge took place in 2015 in conjunction with Creative Business Cup, and was aimed at startups across the world. Arla was looking for disruptive ideas that could potentially revolutionize the food industry. These novel concepts had to address a number of specific areas, including innovation in terms of technology, product or service and the ability to generate new needs, new markets or new business models.

The challenge drew a robust and healthy response from the startup community, and their submissions were looked over by a jury of experts. They selected a small group of finalists who were invited to Copenhagen to pitch their concepts.

Among the finalists were:

• Buono Vending from Italy - a startup developing and selling automatic and semi-automatic
vending systems for artisanal, hard-pack ice cream. This means the freshly made sweet treats
can be sold in numerous locations, 24 hours a day.

• microGUT from Luxembourg - a cutting edge model of the human gastrointestinal tract that
allows food companies to test their healthy and nutritional products.

• Narrate, Liquid Culture from Italy. This food design concept is a booklet tied to a teabag,
where the time to read its pages coincides with the infusion time.

Winning Startup

The overall winner was Miss Can from Portugal. Their product promises more than just canned food, instead offering high quality canned fish produced by artisanal processes. The startup won 10,000 Euros (approx. $USD 11,000) to invest in their business.

Innovations that Make an Impact

“We are delighted with the quality of entries to the Arla Food Innovation Challenges,” commented Harry Barraza, Head of Open Innovation at Arla Foods. “Innovation Challenges and Creative Business Cup help attract the brightest minds and focus on solving real problems. The setup is a demonstration of how small and big businesses can work together to create real impact through innovation.”

Such was the success of the crowdsourcing challenge that Arla hopes to organize more in the coming years. In the winner, the dairy owned company saw a model that it deemed very inspirational.

Arla is hoping that it can learn from and work closely with the startup community as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, so that together they can bring new innovations to the dairy industry.

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