Thought for Food global challenge

By Joe La Delfa.

Thought for Food (TTF) is a community dedicated to solving the problems arising from the impending population boom both in developing and developed countries. They have partnered with Syngenta, a large Swiss agribusiness and a host of food security think tanks and social entrepreneur networks to host the annual TFF Global Summit.

Along with the summit comes the TFF Global Challenge, participated in by universities across the globe. These ideas have potential, and even if they don’t ever see the light of day, the competition itself helps change makers around the globe realise the complexities of the problems facing food security. These problems lie not only in logistics and engineering, but in social business models and introducing cultural change. In an era where slick websites and HD video are common place, don’t let the poor production values of these entrants put you off.

When it comes to designing products for developing countries, it is common practice to overlook simple designs, common technology and reliable/inexpensive parts. We often think the solution lies in cutting edge technology when in fact the opposite is true.

There were 10 finalists in the 2014 challenge, with the winner, Food Fresh, announced at an awards ceremony in Portugal on 14 February 2015. Here’s my Top 3 entries.

Food UP – bringing food production back into cities has numerous benefits
Food UP changes our relationship to our food, by bringing us closer to its production.  When the consumer is put back in touch with how vegetables are grown, a higher appreciation for the food is fostered. Crop losses are witnessed by the consumer, reducing waste and helping those who tend to these gardens develop a sense of pride for the food.

C-fu – another crack at making a future food palatable
C-fu is a mealworms protein based tofu developed by students at Cornell University in New York.  It’s another insect based product attempting to draw parity with conventional tofu. It is claimed to have a slightly firmer texture than the bean curd variety but with a similar taste. Watch the video to see the reactions of students being offered C-fu around Cornell University.

Food Fresh – A simple solution with a big impact.
Using a 3W electric vaporiser and a sealed, insulated bag. The food fresh bag is designed to extend the shelf life of a small time farmer’s crop.

It may not be a fully-fledged refrigerator keeping the harvest crisp and fresh, but it will increase the life of the vegetable for a few days. That is enough however, to stretch the income of a small time farmer by a few weeks, and in turn, eventually help to grow their business.

Find out more about Food Fresh on their Facebook page.

Team InnoVision.

Team InnoVision, from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, won the 2014 challenge with their entry Food Fresh.

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