A new sustainable and biodegradable packaging made from lettuce by-products which can increase the shelf-life of vegetables won the virtual Challenge Lab 2021 hackathon organised by EIT Food, the leading European entity in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in agrifood, together with the reusable container rental pool Logifruit and the Opinno innovation consultancy. The invention was presented by a team of researchers from the Autonomous University of Madrid, students of the Basque Culinary Center, a biotechnologist and a sustainability consultant. The winners, who were awarded €3,000 in cash, won over the jury due to their level of precision, their scientific research and preliminary market study.
The winning project shared a virtual stage with other ideas, such as a digital label that informs the end-consumer of the production and processing phases of lettuce; a connected system of autonomous production and storage of vegetables which makes crops more sustainable; a software programme that uses blockchain to facilitate payments between the agents of the value chain, and a virtual market that helps producers focused on sustainability and digitisation.
The third edition of Challenge Lab involved 47 participants divided into 9 groups from various fields (university students (34%), professionals and researchers in the agri-food sector (45%) and entrepreneurs (21%)), and from a dozen countries, including Spain, Italy and Ukraine.