Asia food innovation contest offers students $10,000 in cash prizes


University students invited to enter the ProVeg Food Innovation Challenge 2023


University students from across Asia are being tempted with $10,000 in cash prizes if they can come up with innovative, plant-based food ideas to help grow the region’s market in climate-friendly food and nutrition. 

The competition, called the ProVeg Food Innovation Challenge, which is now in its fourth year, gives students the chance to gain valuable insights into an exciting and fast-growing industry, while channeling their creativity and skills towards solving some of the biggest challenges facing the world today. 

On top of that, there are big cash prizes on offer for the finalists! 

“We really encourage as many university students as possible, from all disciplines, to take part in the Food Innovation Challenge 2023. Not only could they end up creating a great new food for the supermarket shelves and win a lot of money, they could also make a valuable contribution to improving our food system,” Shirley Lu, Managing Director Asia and Chief China Representative at ProVeg International, said. 

“Our food choices have a significant impact on climate change, food security, animal welfare, and health and pandemics and innovative, plant-based foods can offer multi-problem solutions to these issues,” Lu added. 

Multinational companies involved

Every year, the Food Innovation Challenge draws in support from multinational companies to help support students in developing their entries. This year, more companies are involved than ever before. 

Food giants Nestle and Unilever, along with Asian startups Green Rebel (Indonesia), Haofood (China) and Unlimeat (South Korea) are all involved. Green Rebel is a rising star for investors and recently sold into Starbucks in Singapore and Indonesia. 

China’s first soybean company listed on the stock market, Zuming Bean Products Company, is also taking part as well as Shuangta, one of the world’s largest plant-based protein manufacturers.

The topics students will work on include plant-based meat, poultry, seafood, and egg from convenience food to snack food and there will be much more in-person interaction with students this year, now that the Covid pandemic is over.

Students who get involved will also be able to experience exciting partner company/factory visits. 

How the challenge works

The challenge is open to students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs at universities and colleges in the Asia-Pacific region. Teams must have a minimum of two and a maximum of four people.

Teams can include students from different disciplines and different schools. Students can submit a maximum of two proposals or join a maximum of two teams.

The judging criteria is as follows:

  • Market potential (30%). The judging panel will look at the projected revenue, profitability, and growth opportunities, taking challenges and available alternatives into consideration.
  • Feasibility (30%) The panel will look at the feasibility of product (or campaign) ideas, including formulation, manufacturing, supply chain, and distribution.
  • Product uniqueness (20%). The panel will look for clear explanations of how your project is innovative and different from what is currently available in the sector.
  • Go-to-market strategy (20%). Entries will gain points for clear explanations on how you would introduce your products to the market.

The deadline for submission of final ideas will be on 20 November 2023. Finalist teams will be announced in the first week of January 2024.

Email us at [email protected] with the names and emails of your enlisted team members to get involved! 



Notes to Editors

For media inquiries, email Peter Rixon at [email protected]

About ProVeg International

ProVeg International is a food awareness organization with the mission to replace 50% of animal products globally with plant-based and cultivated foods by 2040. Our vision is a world where everyone chooses delicious and healthy food that is good for all humans, animals, and our planet.


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