Hong Kong Food Hackathon 2018

Screen-Shot-2018-06-22-at-12.33.13-PM.png

The Hong Kong Food Hackathon (HKFH) 2018 was successfully held from 15-17 Jun at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.  This is the first Food Hackathon of this kind held in Hong Kong whereby people with different skill sets are curated together to tackle one of our biggest challenges of the 21st century – Our Food! It is a global collaboration between food innovators, futurists and NGOs. This event was created to disrupt the food system, address food challenges and open up entrepreneurial opportunities for new businesses on the food supply chain through digitalization and the Internet of Things in a circular economy. The HKFH 2018 was initiated by Susan Evans, founder of Melee Limited, and co-organized with Salon Media Lab and Future Food Institute and supported by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Startmeup HK, Food Innovation Global Mission and Hong Kong Design Centre.  During the 3 days’ food innovation event, over 40 participants including students in design, engineering, computer science, food science together with academics, public, engineers, food scientists and innovators, social entrepreneurs, retailers and others collaborate and hack with the intension to create new circular economy start-ups for all to benefit from nutritious and healthy food.  Included in the participants are a team of 4 global students who are studying on the Masters food innovation program directed by the University of Bologna Italy. As part of their global mission, they visit 12 cities between May and July 2018 and participate in food innovation programmes.

During the weekend, participants are provided with some knowledge of the field of exploration and tools for development.  20 speakers from academics, industry and NGOs shared their experiences in food safety, food waste, alternative proteins, distributed farming, data prediction, nutrition and modernizing agriculture. Participants are also coached on design thinking, business planning and pitching.

Participants worked in teams to tackle a food challenge they were interested in.  The food challenges proposed to the participants included future food experiences, food safety at home, zero food waste, locally grown food and alternative proteins.  Teams worked through a systems and design thinking approach and researched the stakeholders to ensure their concepts and prototypes are in line with the needs of the stakeholders.  Mentors were present throughout the weekend to discuss challenges and opportunities.

On the last day of the event, 6 teams presented their projects that were judged by 5 judges.  The judges were Mr. Viktor Berglind from Foodlink, Prof. Tim Jachna and Dr. Wang Yi from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Mr. George Mew from Maxim’s Group and Ms. Sindy Wong from InvestHK.  At the end, the team named “Twenty-five %” working on a platform to drive local food experience was selected as the best team.

Below are the comments from some of the participants, mentors, speakers and judges on the event:

Participants:

  • food innovation is the next biggest frontier that we all need to be aware and conscious of 
  • a wonderful place to bring some ideas and to work towards a more sustainable and hopeful future 
  • food hackathon is a wonderful opportunity to create communities in HK that can potentially develop a sustainable and responsible food chain  
  • it’s a place that sparks creativity and brings in people with same interests 

Mentors:

  • the Hong Kong Food Hackathon is an exciting initiative that creates startups that promote sustainable development in the food industry. I've met teams that are working on a range of exciting ideas, from promoting responsible food consumption through tourism to insect-based protein as an alternative protein source. The Food Hackathon will be sure to create a huge impact in HK
  • some challenging topics are being tackled this weekend at the Food Hackathon. Insects as food, waste management, by-product upcycling, supply chain innovation to name a few.  Let’s keep supporting and enabling these passionate and innovative people of Hong Kong
  • I spent this afternoon with the Food Hackathon teams to design their value propositions and business models and was blown away by the quality of ideas and ambition of impact. An important and much needed event in HK organized by Susan Evans and team of sponsors and supporters. Very proud to have played a small part

Speakers:

  • it's wonderful to see many great ideas from repurposing tofu residue to remixing local farming and tourism at the final presentation. There is a lot of heart, creativity, and change makers in the mix. Well done!
  • food is not just for eating, it is a study of our world. Great Event!
  • powerful, energetic, passionate, interesting way to apply the mind. The event gives a good background and good place to start to develop a business

Judges:

  • each team had a core idea that was based on a key insight into existing food systems and how we could intervene into them to avoid waste, achieve greater social justice and enrich the food experience 
  • it was very interesting and the teams were amazing - the fact that de facto random strangers can come up with these innovative ideas and present it within just two days puts the corporate world to shame in comparison. Great vibe and energy
  • Hong Kong Food Hackathon 2018 had achieved an amazing success in the past weekend.  In such a short time, organizer gathered people from all walks of life in Hong Kong and also recruited participants from other countries to form 6 international teams.  These newly formed teams had put their hearts and souls into their chosen projects over the weekend.  Everyone can feel their enthusiasm right from the beginning.  It reflects in the short presentation that they each gave at the end.  Those business presentations are not the impressive part.  The most valuable outcome should be their innovative spirits and their courage to tackle the most difficult challenges as a team while having fun.  I would like to congratulate them for a job well done.
  • The HK Food Hackathon 2018 is a great initiative where delegates can come up with a fresh perspective on how we can develop and design a food system that is more sustainable, leveraging on both innovative technology and global industry