Food Heroes Award

Europeans throw away an average of 150 kilos of food products per year. A lot can be gained at the basis of the food chain. Plenty of food out of specification or by-products are all too often ignored. Many farmers and growers are racking their brains over this. Together with designers, technologists and food professionals they save food from destruction. We call them our Food Heroes. Now the Food Heroes Awards encourage these Food Heroes to show their solutions to the world.

Have a look at the pictures from our Food Heroes Award Show:


Meet our Food Heroes Award Top 9

Fish & Seafood:

- North Cape: In Ireland, processors focus on the fish fillet & treat the rest as waste. We are looking at using other parts of the fish (belly flaps, mince), to create a reformed fish fillet. This would be sold to fish & chip shops and battered to be sold as a cheaper battered fish portion. Usually, the battered fish is fillet. By using other parts of the fish alone or combining them with the fillet, more of the fish is used & less goes to waste. There is a machine that reforms fish fillets. We have visited this machine in Boxmeer and trialed samples using it. These samples were sent to some of our clients for feedback.

- Mussella: Before arriving on the stalls, the mussels of Penestin (pile farming) are sorted, and only the biggest are retained. There is therefore a very high proportion of mussel co-products that can reach 50% of production. Through lack of alternative, mussel growers reject their coproducts at sea for the majority; with a possible impact on the marine ecosystem: siltation, eutrophication, possible microbial pollution of the marine environment at sea; olfactory nuisance on the ground. The company mussel farming BRIERE MYTILICULTURE has conducted research on this issue aiming at setting up a method sustainable development of CPM. Mussella's project is based on a process of steam shelling of the mussels separated from the sorting to offer them for sale in the form of frozen products for individuals and professionals knowing that the majority of Shelled mussels consumed in Europe come from Chile. The shells of the mussels concerned will also be valued in the oyster farming sector for the capture of oyster larvae and the cooking juices from hulling are currently the test for the food supplements sector. Based on this research and his professional experience, Axel Brière ,so, imagine with 4 other mussel companies a new legal structure in 2016, called Mussella. After doing the state places of valorization routes (nutraceutical, food, petfood, appetizing, aromatic, cosmetic, amendment, matrix,treatment), Mussella has chosen to focus the development of coproducts as a priority for the human food market.

- Seconde Vie: The oldest sardine canning factory in the world, Chancerelle has been working since 1853 to produce quality fish for fine and varied recipes to consumers. Transmitted from generation to generation, the company combines artisanal methods and modern manufacturing processes ... However, on all processed volumes (sardines, tuna, mackerel), activity generates 50% co-products, which are not valued by the company itself but collected by a third company (collect fish waste). Chancerelle sets up new recovery solutions for more added value of these biomasses and the search for additional margin.

Fruits & Vegetables:


- EnVie: The social entreprise enVie addresses 2 key societal issues: Food waste and long-term unemployment. enVie produces a retail line of 100% natural, vegetarian soups, currently available in 132 supermarkets across Belgium, and made exclusively with surplus Belgian vegetables. In the first 2 month of sales, enVie has saved 17 tons of vegetables! enVie tackles long-term unemployment by recruiting a workforce of previously unemployed individuals and supporting them back into the mainstream job market.

- Choonk: 20% of the harvest of oyster mushroom farmers are the stems. In the Netherlands alone we produce about 305 ton of stems per year (Dutch Oyster Mushroom Farmers Alliance). Currently a lot of those stems go to feed or waste because of their taste and tough bite. Our solution is Choonk; a semi finished product with a great bite, delicious umami taste and a shelf life of one year. Choonk offers a lot of commercial possibilities to farmers and producers of plant based or hybrid products. Botanic Bites has already introduced sausages, satay and tapas made from Choonk.

- Cauliflower Rice: After processing cauliflower in our factories, we noticed that there was an enormous quantity of the cauliflower that was not used: stem, heart, gravel/crumps. With these surplusses we have developed new ingredients and ready-to-use food products, among others: cauliflower pesto, cauliflower rice, cauliflower milk, macaroni with cauliflower and vegetable spread. One of these innovations, cauliflower rice, is a huge success today. This product has already won several awards and is very popular in retail stores. A good initiative to reduce food surplusses.

Male Animals:

- Auomated In Ovo Gender Screening: We are developing a tool that makes the culling of male chicks completely obsolete. The technology is based on screening methodology found normally in hospitals. Thus we implement pharma knowledge to chickens. As our screening platform works fast (under a second per egg), relatively low cost and has no effect on hatchability, we can implement our solution to whole hatcheries. We're the first in the world with an acceptable solution that offers this to the whole production channel. This means our innovation will make it possible for the entire industry to stop killing chicks. As this will decrease the amount of resources to produce the same amount of chicks, it positively affects sustainability in the industry. Our technology makes it possible to make the biggest positive impact on the poultry industry of all available alternatives for this problem.

- Bickus: Bickus is a cooperative of six organic farmers, two slaughterers and two marketers. The cooperative promotes additional value for chickens. At a certain age laying hens are not able to lay eggs anymore. Some industrial slaughterhouses collect them and resell them for little money. This is not fair neither for the farmer nor for the chicken. Bickus is committed to develop high-quality and valuable products from old hens. The same applies to male chicks. We do not shred them but process them into delicious fillets. The chicks are raised on farmyards with our own or regional organic food and are processed by the two slaughterers afterwards. Bickus uses every part of the chickens and prevents therefore food waste.

- Cooperation Bio Goat Meat: Goat dairy is popular in the Netherlands, but goat meat is not. As a result, male goats often end up as dog food. To prevent this huge food waste, to give male goats a better life and to get a fair price for the meat, cooperative Bio Goat Meat is founded. In the founding year 2018, 35 Dutch organic goat farmers (= 75%) have joined and about 16.000 kg of meat is sold for human consumption. By jointly developing products and brands (Bokkenbunker), and market research, promotion and sales, waste of good food is cut back!

Food Heroes Award: meet the jury

Food waste is a big issue! New solutions need to be created and a different approach is key to change the single sided focus on food valorisation. This starts at the very basis of the food chain. Plenty of food out of specification, by products and biomasses are all too often ignored. Many farmers, producers and manufacturers are racking their brains over this. Together with designers, technologists and scientists they save good food by reducing, reusing and recycling. We call them: Food Heroes.
The project Food Heroes ( supports those heroes that revaluate food losses and minimize biomass by creating added value. They top up all kinds of discarded food products and save food from devaluation. Now those heroes are collected and celebrated in a special award program: Food Heroes Awards.
The call for submission is still open until the 15th of November 2018. Submitted Food Heroes will be collated and ranked by a jury. The members of the jury are all frontrunners well-known because of their earnings and standings in the field of design thinking and food ethics.

Food Heroes Award: conditions


The Food Heroes Award places people and their food rescue actions in the first part of the supply chain in the spotlights. The Food Heroes Award is a great showcase for novel food waste solutions and their creators. The Food Heroes Award specifically sinks its teeth into waste from:

  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Fish & Seafood
  • Male Animals: male goats & one day male chicks

The Food Heroes Award therefore seeks to:

  • Encourage the development, implementation and spreading of concrete and innovative solutions to rescue food waste from the dumpster
  • Engage relevant stakeholders, like designers, technologists and scientists, in a co-creative design approach to maximize impact and effect of one solution (to other regions and sectors).

Submissions are accepted in the format of the application form which includes:

  • a quick pitch why your solution should win the award
  • a visual description (like photos, videos, diagrams, infographics, etc.) of your solution
  • short checklist of criteria pointing out the level of readiness (innovation), impact, effect, feasibility and multi-actor involvement.

Any Food Hero whose solution has been developed within North West Europe is welcome to submit an entry, including farmers, designers, food entrepreneurs, waste scientists, social entrepreneurs, food factories, students, NGOs and individuals.

Submissions have to be the own work of the individual or (partner) organizations doing the submission.

Submissions are allowed in English, French, Dutch and German language.


Submissions are judged by a jury based on six major criteria:

  • Innovativeness: Food Heroes is about the development of new and innovative ideas to reduce food waste in the first parts of the food chain. We want you to describe what is innovative about your solution.
  • Innovation readiness: Food Heroes focusses on implementation. We want to bring new solutions to the market. That’s why we want to know what your innovation is worth, explained in the level of innovation readiness. We are especially interested in solutions of which the concept at least has been proven to work.
  • Multi-actor involvement: One Food Hero can’t tackle the societal problem of food waste on his own. The Food Heroes Award wants to show the (silent) helpers behind the hero as well. Development in a co-creative design approach creates powerful solutions. And we also want to know the role of small-medium sized entrepreneurs in agrifood?
  • Feasibility: New solutions really make a difference when they’re adopted by more entrepreneurs facing the same difficulties. Business benefits, revenues and turnovers are important indicators for the speed of multiplication. That’s why we like to understand your  business model explaining costs and benefits, effected by the food waste solution. 
  • Impact: How many tons  of food does one Food Hero save from being destroyed? This is an important criteria for the impact of a Food Hero. That’s why we want to know an estimated total number of food waste reduction (in kilograms/tonnages/numbers of animals).
  • Scalability: Food Heroes fly their solution across borders and into a wider world. Project Food Heroes would love to know what’s the range of impact and acceleration of the solution. 


The Food Heroes Award programme walks this timeline. We’ll raise the final flag at CFIA Expo, 14 March 2019, Rennes (France). 

These are the main checkpoints of this timeline:

  • 1 February 2019: start public voting campaign
  • 14 March 2019: Food Heroes Award Show at CFIA Expo 2019, Rennes (France)


Jury selection winners and public award winners all receive the following prizes:

  • Food Heroes sculpture to put at a pedestal at home
  • Business film about the food waste solution
  • Priceless fame