Food Solutions Challenge

Supported by Bayer and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

What are we addressing?

Almost every agricultural product from seed to fully grown foodstuffs needs to be chilled and kept cold in order to not go bad. The process of keeping agricultural products cold from harvest through consumption is called the cold storage supply chain. However, in many parts of the world the cold storage supply chain is underdeveloped or nonexistent-- meaning that lots of food gets wasted.

In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the issue of food loss is especially critical as 41% of sub-Saharan Africans are already living in poverty. By 2050, the population in SSA is expected to increase by 1.3 billion people. The International Institute of Refrigeration estimates that improving access to refrigeration in developing countries could prevent spoilage of up to 23% of perishable foods. Imagine if that 23% of saved food could go to feeding those who are food insecure! Think about it.

Tell me more...

A rapidly growing population means there are many more mouths to feed and it’s critical to find solutions to food loss in order to curb food insecurity. One major opportunity to do this is by improving the cold storage supply chain.

However, implementing cold storage solutions is often unattainable for many SSA smallholder farmers for a variety of reasons including capital costs, lack of access to affordable, sustainable energy, and low levels of technical education. Compounding this issue, those who do have access to cold storage typically use fossil fuels and traditional refrigerants which have serious negative consequences for the environment.


  • All the teams have competed on a global level with chapters all around the world

  • Submissions included a 500-word broad business proposal

  • Submissions came from teams of 2-4 members, with a variety of academic backgrounds/perspectives

  • The top teams attended a customized prize trip in Spring 2019

  • Submissions were reviewed by Net Impact Central (not Net Impact@ESMT Berlin) and competed for a $10,000 grand prize in seed funding, $2,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third place on a global level

  • All attendees had a chance to win an iPad®, Beats by Dre® headphones, and more!

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