College and university students across the Asia-Pacific region took part in the ProVeg Food Innovation Challenge to further develop plant-based products. The winners, who are all part of Generation Z, were announced in an online award ceremony, and will collectively receive more than $10,000 in cash prizes.
Why a food innovation challenge?
The ProVeg Food Innovation Challenge aims to raise awareness about the benefits of plant-based eating, accelerate the introduction of plant-based foods, and nurture young people’s innovation skills. In 2020, the challenge focused on mainland China and was expanded to South-East Asia the following year, with this year’s challenge expanding to include the entire Asia-Pacific region. As a result, we received a total of 179 innovative food ideas from students from 163 universities. The students were challenged to come up with food ideas that had market potential, were unique and creative, economically feasible, and had a go-to-market strategy.
“I’m proud of the quality and creativity of the students’ work. Young innovators from Asia are transforming food systems across the region and we look forward to even more students from the APAC region taking part next year.“
The final phase of the challenge
In December 2022, we announced the 20 teams that had made it to the final round. The student teams then received coaching from major food companies PepsiCo, Unilever, Omnifoods, Beyond Meat, Oatly, and CPF, who partnered with ProVeg for the challenge. The finalists had to build complete business cases by the end of 2022, and anyone could vote online for their favourite project. The finalists then had to present their projects, implementing what they had learned through the coaching sessions. The results of the public voting were combined with the decision of the jury, and were then used to determine the winners.
And the winners are…
Emotions ran high at the virtual award ceremony, with all of the 20 finalist teams being awarded prizes. The first prize winner received $3,000, the two second-prize winners each received $1,500, the three third-prize winners received $1,000 each, and the 14 other teams each received $200. The teams that came first, second, and third each had a chance to say a few words. While some of the winners couldn’t believe that their project had won, others shouted for joy.
The three third prize winners came from South Korea, Thailand, and India. The South Korean team’s ‘Beyond Expectation’ product idea comprised a brand-new range of K-bakery products for the biggest chain bakery in South Korea, utilising the taste and texture of Beyond Pork and a variety of vegetables. The range includes three different variants, backed by a heartfelt campaign to protect nature. The South Korean students are from Sung Kyun Kwan University and Yonsei University.
The ‘Hi Burger’ from Thailand was created by a team from the Panyapiwat Institute of Management and is a satay-flavoured plant-based burger, innovatively adding herbs to the tropical jackfruit, which is rich in protein and fibre, making it a delicious, healthy, and extravagant experience.
Based on the peanut-based chicken launched by HaoFood in India, the Indian team came up with ‘Hao India’ which offered innovative product categories, including an assortment of plant-based kebabs and Calcuttan chickenless cutlets. The students come from NIFTEM-Kundli, IIHM-Kolkata, St Xaviers College-Kolkata, and NMCCE Mumbai.
Second prize winners came from Thailand and Indonesia, with the Thai team developing a ‘DeCrab Jumbo Lump Crab Meat’, a plant-based crab meat with the taste and texture of real crab. The product also improves gut function and will help to reduce overfishing. The Thai team came from Kasetsart University.
The Indonesian team developed ‘PepShot’ for workaholics to boost their productivity. Pepshot provides a healthy and nutritious 60-ml shot made with all-natural plant-based ingredients and comes in 100% recycled packaging. The students are from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Universitas Indonesia, Universitas Katolik, and Indonesia Atmajaya.
First place was secured by a team from China who came up with the idea of a ‘Plant-based Pork Floss’ for infants over seven-months old, made from plant-based meat fortified with vitamin D and vitamin A from carrot powder for an extra nutritional punch. The students came from Shanghai Ocean University and Hainan University.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in the 2022 ProVeg Food Innovation Challenge in the Asia-Pacific region! We are looking forward to the next challenge and cannot wait to see what innovative ideas students will come up with next.