Challenge Labs Creative Worskhops dedicated to food sector on 19-21 November 2021

Challenge Labs are EIT Food creative workshops designed to find solutions to current and future challenges in the food and agriculture system. Challenge Labs are designed to tackle the big problems facing the food sector by bringing together diverse groups of people. Challenge Labs goal is to spark co-founder relationships, lead to the creation of new businesses and build links between industry, academia and startups. The primary aim of each Challenge Lab is to find innovative solutions to big, tangible problems faced by the food sector. Challenge Labs programme is developed under Regional Innovation Scheme – RIS. You can read more about the scheme siin. In 2021 EIT Food will host 17 Challenge Labs around Eastern, Central and Southern Europe.

Location: Tartu and Digital; Digital, On Friday evening hybrid – Tartu, Narva mnt 3, SparkDEMO and online
Date: 19-21/11/21
Register here:

For Whom:

New graduates, PhDs, scientists, professionals and industry experts with diverse knowledge, experience and ideas in agrifood field.

Why join:
  • Innovation tools and methodologies. You will learn how to create innovative products and services tailored to the needs of your clients.
  • Expert advice. You will be able to consult with prominent experts from the agrifood industry.
  • Insights from the agrifood industry. You will learn about the business, trends and challenges affecting the agrifood industry.
  • Inspiring people. You will meet and work with other enthusiasts with diverse knowledge and backgrounds.
  • Best team will be rewarded with the prize of 2000€!

All the event will take place digitally, except one hybrid day – Friday, November 19 – in Tartu, Narva mnt. 3, SparkDemo and online.

Catering on online event. On Saturday and Sunday, Challenge Labs catering will be delivered to participants by Wolt in Tallinn, Pärnu and Tartu.

DaysFriday, 19.NovSaturday, 20.NovSunday, 21.Nov
Action plan·introduction·definition of challenges. outcome: how might we·testing of prototypes*
·team formation, getting to know each other in teams·generating ideas*·preparation of presentation*
·emphathy with consumer·development of solution·presentations
·assessment of ideas*1h break for evaluation
·building a prototype*·15:00 awarding

* Time for breaks and show&tell sessions is included.


To find and define the biggest challenges that the industry tackles we have conducted 10 interviews with industry experts. We have selected 10 challenges in 3 categories that need to be solved.


  1. How to visualize to consumers why economically produced food products are more expensive? What effect has food production on the environment, preserving biological diversity? What the price consists of?
  2. Digital traceability of food in the entire food chain – making the food more trusted and the food chain transparent.


  1. Making food functionality and properties information more accessible to consumers – how much salt, sugar, added sugar, vitamins, minerals etc. are in different products? From small print to fast and informed nutritional decisions.
  2. Production of high nutritional value alternative proteins from different sources with significantly lower CO2 footprint production than regular protein products.
  3. Vegetarians nutrition – how to make sure they get a healthy and balanced menu and don’t get hooked with processed vegetarian junk food.
  4. Balanced nutrition according to person calorie – high-quality, natural products, without toxical additions to food.


  1. Reduction of food waste and reduction of overproduction of food. How to collect and give the precision demand of food products quantity from consumers to food production so there wouldn’t be an overproduction of products?
  2. Reduction of meat consumption of average person by 75%.
  3. Packaging food to materials made from herbal substances as a replacement to plastic packages.
  4. How to process and reuse food packaging?

If you would like to find out more about the challenges of the Estonian agrifood industry, please download the Innovation Challenges in Estonian agrifood instrustry report (Estonian version only).

Shorter versions from expert opinions about challenges in English is siin.

Registration is open until 12.11.2021! Please register siin


Mirko Känd – Moderator/ design thinking workshop

Mirko is an interaciton designer who likes to experiment and prototype. Learn new things by trying them out in practice and discover design opportunities through user-centered research methods. He has a long background in data & finance, and has Interaction Design masters’ degree from Currently Mirko is a co-founder of mental health startup Mental Pin – a device helping you to tackle anxiety and OCDs.

Ene Viiard, PhD
  – mentor
Ene is the Head of Innovation at the Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies (TFTAK). She has steered food innovation in TFTAK for more than 10 years and led research and development projects, which have resulted in a variety of pioneering healthy products in the market. Ene also explores the links between nutrition and health by coordinating nutrition studies.

Andre Veskioja
– jury member
Andre is experienced head of product development and research scientist with a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry. Skilled in negotiation, food & beverage, budgeting, food processing, and sensory evaluation. Strong international collaboration with leading European universities and companies.

Uko Bleive – mentor and Jury member
Uko is the head of technology unit in Polli horticultural Research Centre, Estonian University of Life Science. Uko has worked with various R&D projects in field of horticulture and  product development over 15 years.


Ingrid Hermet – mentor and jury member
Ingrid is a cleantech entrepreneur with passion for sustainable and healthy food. She is co-founder and CEO of NutriLoop whose mission is to direct nutrients from biowaste to the regenerative food production and co-founder of PäikesEst that manufactures solar powered food dryers.  More than 5 years of entrepreneurship complemented with previous experience in public sector has given her a good overview about systematic changes that the food system currently needs.

Kendra Kairi Vaino – mentor

Kendra is a nutrition therapist and board member at Nutrional Therapy Center and Food & Fitness OÜ. She is committed to spread knowledges about a healthy and balanced diet for both adults and children as a nationally licenced trainer. Kendra is member of the Estonian Nutritional Therapy Association (ETTA), Estonian Association of ’Nutrition Counselors (ETNÜ) and part of NutriDream team.

Kärt Leppik  – mentor and jury member

Kärt is the team leader of food packaging and shelf-life studies in TFTAK, helping food producers to evaluate the quality and stability of products during storage, conducting real-time or accelerated shelf-life tests. In her PhD studies, she is focused on developing accelerated shelf-life testing models for different food products based on physico-chemical processes. Next to that, choosing the right packaging solutions is one of the main focuses in her work when assessing shelf-life issues of food products. In food packaging field, Kärt has to make sure that the forward-looking sustainable solutions meet the real needs of foods and opportunities in the waste management system.

Tõnis Paara – Speaker (Pre-event)
Tõnis has 6 years of experience as the R&D specialist of Estiko-Plastar, which is one of the leading flexible packaging producer in the Baltics, PhD student in University of Tartu, Materials Science, specialising in polymer barrier properties.


Jaanika Tapver – Speaker (Pre-event)

She is a board Member at Estonian Nutritional Therapy Association and Nutrional Therapy Center, Tallinn. Jaanika works as a nutritional therapeutist in Toitu Terviseks OÜ and Bariatric Services OÜ.


Challenge Labs Pre-event – Food Packaging and human nutrition
11 November 2021 17:30-19:00
Get first insights from the industry:
  • Specifics of food packaging, the environmental impact of different packaging and opportunities in this field. Tõnis Paara, Estiko-Plastar AS 
  • Human nutrition – what it takes for balanced and healthy nutrition, what to avoid? Jaanika Tapver, Estonian Nutritional Therapy Association
  • After the presentation, we have a short introduction to the Challenge Labs Slack platform to enable matchmaking between different fields, enabling to create groups with diverse expertise.
The event is open to all participants. Register to pre-event HERE.

Please find the Terms and Conditions of Challenge Labs 2021