Ahold office Amsterdam, 23 November 2012








Unlike many events we’ve all attended, where we spend the whole day sitting and listening, this year we wanted to focus on making the day active and engaging. We don’t want to just hear about it, we want to DO-IT!


 Companies, social entrepreneurs and NGOs  have come here for your help with key sustainability challenges they are facing. Along with other Young Professionals from various backgrounds you will help them brainstorm concrete and viable solutions. In the process, you will benefit from the diversity of others’ experiences and hopefully take away new tools and contacts to facilitate your own sustainability endeavors.


Read on for more information about the cases being presented and decide for yourself: where is the most valuable place I can be at Foodtopia?





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Program Foodtopia



The Hunger Project

Topic Combatting Global Malnutrition & Enhancing Food Equity @Foodtopia
How can THP sufficiently persuade UNICEF of the benefits of moringa, so that they are more committed to supporting the program?

What additional products can be developed to strengthen the market for moringa? Are there food or nutritional products that can use moringa as an ingredient? How can THP stimulate this process? What are the necessary steps to introduce moringa to the Dutch market and how can we raise awareness about its benefits in the Netherlands?


Required skills attendees Do-it session

Analytical, creative, persuasive, knowledge about research, food production and regulation, marketing, etc.


Case Description
The Hunger Project-Benin has had success this past year with a program called Moringa ++ that promotes the cultivation of moringa trees in epicenter communities as environmentally sustainable sources of income and nutrition.

Moringa is often called “the miracle tree.” As a crop, the moringa tree’s durability and rapid growth (up to 10 feet each year!) make it ideal for low-income, rural communities.Five grams of moringa leaf powder supplies a person with their entire day’s calcium and vitamin A needs, half the day’s protein and potassium needs, and about three-quarters of the day’s iron needs. Eaten as a vegetable course during meals, moringa leaves improve childhood nutrition, birth weights, and the quality of breast-milk.

Firstly: How can THP sufficiently persuade UNICEF of the benefits of moringa, so that they are more committed to supporting the program?

A major problem for the acceptance of moringa development as a solid initiative is UNICEF’s skepticism about the plant’s nutrition and usefulness. There are scientific publications that describe the nutritional value, but they are dated. UNICEF would like to see more current studies showing that moringa indeed works as promised. This research is being performed, also at universities in Benin, but that is long-term research by PhD students. At the moment, this doesn’t help our cause, as the timeline is too long.

Secondly: moringa is used in many health products (like moringa body butter from the Bodyshop and shampoo). What additional products can be developed to strengthen the market for moringa? Are there food or nutritional products that can use moringa as an ingredient? How can THP stimulate this process? What are the necessary steps to introduce moringa to the Dutch market and how can we raise awareness about its benefits in the Netherlands?


UNILEVER: delivering affordable, tasty and nutritious food to school children in Asia

Topic Combatting Global Malnutrition & Enhancing Food Equity @Foodtopia
How can we contribute to the health and nutrition of children at school in this Asian country and translate our successful western program to Asia in a sustainable way? What factors must we consider when aiming to serve the Base of the Pyramid? How can we fulfil the needs of all stakeholders, (e.g. children, parents, governments and NGOs, chefs’ organisations) and at the same time, deliver a return on our investment?

Required skills attendees Do-it session
Creative thinking, basic business insights.

Case description
Millions of children are undernourished, which impedes their chances to grow up healthy and make the most of their education.

In many countries in the world, children eat their main meal at school. The school lunch is therefore an important moment for health and nutrition. Pressure on time and costs and lack of knowledge in the kitchen often lead to suboptimal school lunches.

In countries like the UK or France, Unilever provides catering solutions for school chefs by supporting them to make healthy, tasty and affordable meals. Unilever dedicates a lot of time and resources to support chefs to cook healthy, with positive results for the children, as well as for Unilever’s business. We want to introduce this concept in an Asian country.

With the right tools, we find that we can improve childhood nutrition, and stay within school budgets. However, the spending per meal in this particular country is significantly lower than in the west and our efforts will only be successful if we can make it a sustainable business.



ICCO Flying Food Partnership – commercial rearing of insects for consumption

Topic Combatting Global Malnutrition & Enhancing Food Equity @Foodtopia
We have found various entrepreneurs from Kenya and Uganda interested to start businesses as cricket producers, food processors and/or retailers.

Based on small grants for start-ups we can offer:

·         A profitable business case

·         A good product (protein-rich, comparable with meat)

·         Affordable for Base-of-the-Pyramid consumers

·         New potentially large market with little competition

·         Initial technical assistance for rearing, organization of farmers, marketing, food processing technology, etc.


The bottleneck is private sector investment at this early stage (relatively high potential and risk). Thus, our questions are:


Required skills attendees Do-it session

1.     How can we convince Kenyan and Ugandan entrepreneurs to step in and invest from the start?

How can we interest Dutch entrepreneurs and businesses to invest in Flying Food as part of their CSR strategy and/or mainstream activities?

·         Be able to think creatively and outside the box

·         Have an interest in the global food and nutrition security challenge

·         Knowledge of Base of the Pyramid consumers and related characteristics and challenges

Knowledge about Dutch private sector actors and their interest in corporate social responsibility / global sustainable development issues

Case Description
In Kenya and Uganda respectively, 33% and 22% of the population is undernourished[1]. Taking into account the growing population and effects of climate change, the biggest challenges are:

·         Ensuring the availability of sufficient nutritious food for all, through sustainable production, storage, conservation, processing, distribution and marketing mechanisms;

·         Ensuring access to sufficient nutritious food for all, including Base of the Pyramid consumers and producers, through well-targeted development programs, focusing on quality food production and income generation.


Flying Food is a public-private partnership (PPP), which promotes a market-based answer to these challenges  – cricket farms! The PPP is coordinated by TNO and includes a wide range of research institutes, development organizations and enterprises.  In Kenya and Uganda, small scale rearing of crickets for human consumption and a sustainable value chain are being developed and will be validated. Crickets are highly nutritious; they contain same level and quality of proteins and micronutrients as average meats. They reproduce fast and are easy to rear as they need less living space and are less demanding as feed is concerned than other livestock.

Insects are already popular as food, e.g. termites, lake flies and grasshoppers, but are only harvested by hand in the wild and when in season – only 2 months/year.

Flying Food aims (over a period of five years) to include 4000 small holders (organized in cooperatives) and about 150 processing/retailer units in Kenya and Uganda, in order to: increase the availability and access of protein-rich food for underserved people; accelerate local entrepreneurship; and create employment and income generation. The ultimate goal is to develop a business model which can be used to scale and replicate this project.



UNICEF Nederland: Sustainable Nutrition – Reaching the BOP

Topic Combatting Global Malnutrition & Enhancing Food Equity @Foodtopia
How can we foster sufficient support among Dutch governmental bodies, companies, and individuals to develop reliable financing for the SUN program to continue? What approaches should we consider (marketing strategies, stakeholder mapping, etc.)?
How can UNICEF influence decision makers so that resources are prioritized to serve the BOP?

Required skills attendees Do-it session
Marketing, analytical skill, creative, financial modelling. Understanding of food chain systems and multinational stakeholder initiatives in the (agro) food industry. International relations experience.

Case Description
In 2010, the SUN (Scaling up Nutrition) Movement was launched to support national leadership and collective action to scale up nutrition.

SUN, which UNICEF international is a member of, is focused on implementing evidence-based nutrition interventions and integrating nutrition goals across sectors – including health, social protection, poverty alleviation, national development and agriculture. SUN supports a dual approach, recognizing the important role nutrition plays in improving maternal and child health in the short-term, as well as building the foundation for a healthy, more prosperous future and resilience in times of crisis.

While SUN looks at cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder opportunities to deal with under nutrition, UNICEF focuses on the need for nutritious food for large number of children who live at the bottom of the pyramid. These are children from poor families, children with single parents, children in crisis situations. These children’s diets lack the necessary quantity and quality of micro-nutrients needed to grow well and they can’t afford to wait for the promises of agricultural production and other elements of the nutrition sensitive development agenda to be achieved.

UNICEF international, in its efforts to reduce malnutrition, focuses on the first 1000 days:  from pregnancy to the age of 2 years. These years are fundamental to a child’s healthy development.

UNICEF works in the countries to:

-          Strengthen good nutrition practices

-          Provide micro-nutrients

-          Treat malnutrition

-          Provide clean drinking water and sanitation

UNICEF Nederland is supporting the movement though fund and awareness raising in the Netherlands.


Challenge of UNICEF Nederland: 

F  Within the context of the economic crisis, and the related state of Dutch development cooperation, who will advance the nutrition agenda and how can this be done?

The biggest challenge for the nutrition agenda is to reach the bottom of the pyramid. Big organizations can be effective, but they are mostly focused on the middle class.


Schuttelaar & Partners: NL – Ethiopian Partnership against food losses

Topic Combatting Global Malnutrition & Enhancing Food Equity @Foodtopia
As this should be a multi-stakeholder cooperation with business, government and others, it is primarily important how to activate both the NL and Ethiopian government to join and to co-fund. Besides, business partners in both countries should be identified and a convincing business model be developed. Critical reflection on the organization model.

Required skills attendees
Knowledge of food chains and food logistics, organization of partnerships and platforms.

Case Description
Food losses now account for 30% of the food that is produced but does not reach the consumer. The exact figure varies across regions and food chains, but in general 30% is a modest estimation. Causes in developing countries include insufficient markets, logistics and storage. In developed countries, strict retailing criteria, losses in out-of-home settings (restaurants, catering) and consumer behaviour all contribute to food waste.
With this in mind, we want to organize a joint project in which actors in the Netherlands and Ethiopia cooperate to reduce food waste in both countries from 30% to 20% by 2020.


The National Think Tank (NDT): making sustainability profitable – making profit sustainable?

Topic Combatting Global Malnutrition & Enhancing Food Equity @Foodtopia
How can investment in healthy and sustainable food become economically more attractive to entrepreneurs/investors in both the developing and developed world? How can new business models be found for this purpose? 

Required skills attendees     
Common sense and a creative mind are a necessity.

Case Description       
In this case we will examine how to make sustainable nutrition an economically feasible reality. By taking the analogy of the National Think Tank’s new business model for Dutch poultry production, we will try to find creative new business models. These models must lower the investment barrier and create long-term financial security for entrepreneurs that tackle malnutrition, either in developed or in developing countries. We’ll also discuss some international themes related to sustainable nutrition, such as closing the phosphorus cycle, creating business to business transparency and animal feed alternatives such as insect grind and lemna.

The business model which the Think Tank devised is inspired by the renewable energy principle. In answer to the Dutch meat industry’s desire to become sustainable, this model is based on mixing a growing amount of sustainable chicken with unsustainable chicken on the supermarket shelves. Clear long-term objectives, communication to the consumer and traceability of the system are essential requirements. By using the regular supply chain, inefficiency costs and niche creation is reduced. Sustainability becomes affordable.

After a short presentation of the Think Tank approach to sustainable poultry, the group will split up and work on the business models. Afterwards, each group will present the results and a general discussion takes place.


[1] International Food Policy Research Institute, Global Hunger Index, 2012