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Net Impact, Campbell's, General Mills Seeking Next Great Sustainable Food Solution

Image credit: Oakley Originals

This week we welcomed the latest in a spate of recent challenges aimed at overhauling our broken food system: In partnership with Campbell Soup Company and General Mills, Net Impact launched the Forward Food Competition, an opportunity for innovative food companies and industry disruptors to pitch their original sustainable food idea to a panel of industry experts. Applicants can submit their ideas through the Net Impact website until May 15, 2016. 

Campbell Soup Company,
General Mills

Honest Tea
will be among
over a dozen brands
pushing food forward
SB'16 San Diego

Net Impact is no stranger to business plan challenges, but Forward Food marks the nonprofit’s first competition created specifically to solve food industry issues. The Competition is a part of Net Impact’s Impact Food initiative, which aims to mobilize Millennials to find sustainable solutions to the most pressing challenges facing food systems.  

“Campbell is proud to partner with Net Impact and the next generation of food creators to define the future of food,” said Dave Stangis, VP of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Campbell’s. “This requires an ecosystem of innovative partners who can lead change within the food system. It’s critical to have a sustainable, purpose-driven pipeline of new ideas to feed the world.”

Forward Food invites participants to submit an original business idea for the food and beverage space. Applicants should present ideas that meet a consumer need as well as create economic, social and environmental value. Ideas focusing on creating new and sustainable products, solving food waste or improving food systems are encouraged. An in-house team of Net Impact judges will review and provide feedback to each submission. Ten finalists will be asked to submit a one-minute pitch video to be sent to an expert judging panel including; Kirsten Tobey from Revolution Foods; Seth Goldman of Honest Tea; and Jerry Lynch from General Mills.

Entries will be scored on four categories: innovation, market need, feasibility, and sustainability (social and environmental value). Winners will be announced on Net Impact’s website on June 20, 2016.  The winning team will be awarded three passes to the 2016 Net Impact Conference, November 3-5 in Philadelphia, PA. The two runners-up will be awarded one pass to attend the conference.  

“Not only is the Forward Food Competition a natural extension of our strong partnership with Net Impact, but it also reflects our commitment to innovation in food,” said John Haugen, VP and General Manager of 301 INC, the new business development and venturing unit within General Mills. “We recognize that the vision and passion of today’s entrepreneurs can meet consumer needs in meaningful ways. That’s why we invest time and money to help them develop, grow and expand their businesses.”

Other multi-stakeholder efforts at finding solutions to the issues permeating our global food system include:

  • A competition open to startups tackling food system challenges such as heart health, obesity, under-nutritionfood waste, and sustainability of the food chain, presented by Unilever Foundry
  • This year’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge — entries must identify and solve a specific food-related problem, emulate one or more mechanisms, processes, patterns, or systems found in nature, and enhance the sustainability of the food system, whether from an environmental, social, or economic perspective – or ideally all three
  • The third annual Real Food Media Contest — the world’s largest competition for short films on food, farming and sustainability — which is calling for submissions of super-short films on underreported issues, unique changemakers and creative solutions to foster a broad, public conversation about solving our global food system’s most intractable problems — from hunger to diet-related illnesses to environmental crises.

Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]

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