Food Innovation: Moving From Societal Challenges to Sustainable Solutions

Name of applicant

Marcel Bogers


University of Copenhagen


DKK 622,000



Type of grant

Monograph Fellowships


This project aims at developing a new approach and framework to better understand societal challenges in the food domain and to propose trajectories for addressing them with sustainable solutions. A broad view on the notion of food innovation will be developed through a study of the challenges and possible solutions on the sector and company level. On the macro level of the food sector, the project will provide a general perspective on the key attributes and processes in connection to food-related societal challenges and sustainable solutions. On the micro level of how individual companies design sustainable solutions, the project will address how a company like Carlsberg addresses societal challenges while respecting its individual science and business strategies.


There is increasing attention in research and practice to societal challenges, as exemplified by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In line with the SDGs, we need to better understand the challenges that underlie a sustainable future for a growing and more demanding population on our planet. However, creating consensus around contemporary problems is extremely challenging, and these challenges call for new approaches and models that embrace the inherent uncertainty and required collaboration. This project aims at uncovering some of the involved complexity, and will thereby lead to new insights into the multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches that are needed for creating sustainable solutions through food innovation.


The project will characterise societal challenges in the food and beverage domain in terms of stakeholders' actions and perceptions, relevant disciplines, institutions and structures, and underlying processes and mechanisms. By showing the fundamental differences and similarities in goals, interests, strategies, and economic prerequisites, this will provide a basis for describing the complexity and uncertainty that underlie these societal challenges. Based on this exploratory process, and by iterating between the food sector at the macro level and the specific case of Carlsberg on the micro level, a design thinking perspective will enable a more open and inclusive approach to combine technology, human values and business into one holistic food innovation framework.

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