Food Chain Innovation Challenge

Food Chain Innovation Challenge

Calling all innovators, developers, designers and entrepreneurs!

Lineage is inviting forward-thinking students and startups from across the world to help address the complexities of the food supply chain, explore new perspectives, and propose innovative solutions that can reshape how we feed the world.

The teams who present the best ideas at each regional event will receive a cash prize. Additionally, one overall winner will be selected to participate in an incubator program organized by Lineage to further scale or develop the proposed solution.

Welcome to Lineage’s Food Chain Innovation Challenge

Iconic red phone box in front of Big Ben in London

WHERE: Science Museum
WHEN: November 14, 2024


Buildings along a canal in Amsterdam

WHERE: NEMO Science Museum
WHEN: November 19, 2024


Iconic pink lady houses in San Francisco
San Francisco

WHERE: California Academy of Sciences
WHEN: November 19, 2024


Global Final Event

WHERE: Virtual
WHEN: December 2, 2024


The Challenge

Postharvest food waste poses a significant global challenge, affecting food security, quality, and market access. Particularly in developing and emerging regions, the absence of affordable and scalable solutions accelerates this issue, resulting in the loss of valuable food resources that could nourish millions.

During Lineage’s Food Chain Innovation Challenge, participants will present their innovative technologies or data solutions that address postharvest food waste, considering its multifaceted impact on communities and economies.

Harness the power of technology and data to fight food waste

Participants are encouraged to focus their solutions on one of the following themes:

Icon of a trashcan being squeezed
Reducing food waste

Technologies and strategies to minimize postharvest food waste across the supply chain, from farm to market, considering factors such as storage, transportation, and distribution.

Icon of a computer with green energy represented by a leaf and lightening bolt
Innovative food preservation techniques

Novel methods or devices for preserving food freshness and quality, extending shelf life, and reducing spoilage, especially in resource-constrained environments.

Icon of various fruits and vegetables
Access to nutritious food

Design solutions to improve access to nutritious food in underserved areas by addressing challenges such as food distribution logistics, affordability, and availability of fresh produce.

Icon of a computer screen with charts on it
Data-driven insights and analytics

Utilize data analytics, IoT devices, and other technologies to gather insights into food supply chains, identify areas of waste, and optimize resource allocation for maximum efficiency.

2023 Challenge Winner

"It is really cool that people are willing to support your dream and to support your vision, I think that gave me a sense of control and direction I did not have before."

Chevonne Hagens, Fungi for Future

Apply today

Frequently asked questions

  • Lineage’s Food Chain Innovation Challenge provides a unique opportunity for participating teams to:

    • Connect: Network with industry professionals, mentors and fellow participants from around the world.
    • Learn: Experts in the food and logistics fields will be on site to provide real-time feedback and guidance to teams to help them develop their proposals.
    • Get Funded: The team with the winning entry selected by the judges in each region will receive a cash prize. Each of the regional winners will then enter a final round of global judging, competing for additional prize money and exclusive access to an executive-led incubator program organized by Lineage.
    • Create Impact: Make a difference by addressing real-world issues and contributing to a sustainable future.
  • The application form asks participants to describe their ideas. Compelling entries and presentations should aim to reduce waste, enhance food preservation techniques, and improve accessibility to nutritious food. Additionally, it should be adaptable to various socio-economic contexts, ensuring scalability and affordability. Participants may also upload a short (5-7 slides) pitch deck with additional information (optional).

  • The deadline to enter is September 30, 2024.

  • All entrants will receive notification via email of the decision on their entry by the first week of October 2024.

  • The judges will grade each presentation based on a rubric with the following criteria:

    • Explanation of problem and challenge
    • Clarity of the proposed solution
    • Creativity of the proposed solution
    • Scalability of the proposed solution
    • Response to jury questions
    • Presentation skills
    • WOW Factor
  • Each team will be given 5 minutes to set up and prepare their presentation materials on the day of the event.

    Each team will have 5 minutes to pitch their idea to the panel, followed by a 5-minute Q&A session with the judges.

  • Teams on-site may consist of 1 – 4 people. Projects may have a larger group of contributors that are credited.

  • Yes, participants can enjoy refreshments provided throughout the day, including a light breakfast, full lunch, snacks, and a cocktail reception with canapes to wrap up the evening.

  • Eligibility

    • Participants: Open to students and entrepreneurs of all ages, genders, backgrounds, geographies and industries. Individuals or teams can participate.
      • There are no country restrictions, but entrants must be eligible to receive prizes (if they win) and it is their responsibility to pay any taxes on the prize winnings.
    • Business stage: The competition is open to startups and early-stage companies.
    • Compliance: All entries must comply with local business regulations and laws.

    Team Formation and Registration

    • Participant team Size: Teams may consist of 1 to 5 members.
    • Changes to team members are not permitted after September 30, 2024. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis by the Food Chain Innovation Challenge committee.
    • Teams should be made up exclusively of participants who are not organizers, volunteers, judges, sponsors, or in any other privileged position at the event.
    • Judges are not eligible to participate in the Food Chain Innovation Challenge. They may, however, provide teams with advice and support ahead of the pitches on the day of the event.
    • Participants/Teams must submit a detailed business plan, including market viability, product or service description, financial projections, and clearly state the impact their solution will have on minimizing post-harvest food waste.
    • Applications must be received by September 30, 2024, and no late submissions will be accepted.

    Project Presentation

    • All project ideas are welcome, providing it is original, and falls into one of the following categories:
    • Teams will be judged on the quality and execution of their pitch, rather than the novelty of the idea, providing it falls under one of the following categories:
      • Reducing food waste: Introduce technologies and strategies to diminish food loss from farm to market.
      • Innovative food preservation techniques: Propose novel methods that enhance food longevity and reduce spoilage.
      • Access to nutritious food: Improve the logistics of food distribution to enhance the availability of nutritious foods in underserved areas.
      • Data-driven insights and analytics: Employ analytics and IoT to optimize supply chains and reduce waste.
    • Each team will be given 5 minutes to set up and prepare their presentation materials on the day of the event.
    • Each team will have 5 minutes to pitch their idea to the panel, followed by a 5-minute Q&A session with the judges.

    Intellectual Property

    • Teams retain ownership of their ideas and intellectual property.
    • Teams are responsible for protecting their intellectual rights before participating in the competition.

    Judging Criteria

    • Innovation: Originality and creativity of the idea.
    • Viability: Practical implementation of the idea and potential for success.
    • Impact: Potential market impact and benefit to the industry or society.
    • Presentation: Clarity, persuasiveness, and professionalism of the presentation.
    • Team capability: Ability of the team to execute the plan.


    • One regional winner will be selected at each in-person event and will receive a cash prize.
    • One overall winner will be selected from the three regional winners. The overall winner of the Food Chain Innovation challenge will gain access to a network of industry experts for mentorship and guidance in the form of an incubator program.

    Code of Conduct and Disqualification

    • Teams are expected to conduct themselves professionally during the event.
    • Honesty and integrity in presentation and materials are required, and all presentations should be original.
    • Respect for other participants, judges, and organizers is mandatory.
    • Projects that violate the Code of Conduct will be disqualified.
    • Teams can be disqualified from the competition at the organizers discretion. Reasons may include, but are not limited to, breaking the Competition Rules or breaking the Code of Conduct.


    • The organizers reserve the right to make changes to the event and rules at any time.
    • Decisions made by the judges are final and binding.
  • Unfortunately, we cannot cover any travel expenses for participants.

  • No. Participants will be required to attend onsite the day of the event at their selected venue.

Thank you to our esteemed partners & sponsors!

Our sponsor list is growing. Check back soon for an updated list.

Make Food Not Waste logo
Make Food Not Waste
European Food Banks Association (FEBA) logo
European Food Banks Association (FEBA)
VU logo
VU Amsterdam
logo of Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling

Contact Us

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