The Swiss fight against food waste
20 April 2018 - Geneva

Did you know that the total amount of food waste in Switzerland equals 800 kg per person per year? We are ranked second when it comes to waste in general. Shocking? Yes, it’s time to stand up! And that’s exactly what happened during the Food Save Challenge, an Impact Hub Geneva and Lausanne program that supports promising early stage start-ups that tackle food waste.

On March 28th, during the pitch night, the finalists presented their final outcomes and a winner was chosen. We spoke with Erica Mazerolle, who is responsible for coordinating the program, about the final ideas, winner and more. 



Erica: “Food waste is a sustainability issue that is very relevant to a place like Switzerland, especially when you look at the figures. Last September when we launched the program, we started with an awareness campaign through social media by sharing facts about food waste. 

Through a collaboration with Lausanne business school, we carried out a research about the local situation and produced a food save flow map to illustrate the food waste landscape of Lausanne. It was surprising to see that most of the food waste happens in the beginning and the end of the food chain, directly at the source where the food is produced (mainly caused by supermarket standards when it comes to esthetics) or at the end of the chain, on the consumer side.|”

The start

Erica: ”After launching our campaign, by the end of last year, people could apply for the program. We received around twenty projects and after a pre-selection eight finalists presented their ideas during the first jury night in late November. It was so inspiring to see the variety of different ideas because they all represented the diversity on options of how to tackle this problem.”

How it evolved 

Food save challengeFour finalists were chosen and they had four months to fine-tune, test and validate their ideas with help from their mentors and specific workshops hosted by Impact Hub. Some of them discovered differences between theory and putting and idea into practice, others had to change their ideas into more simplified ones. The final outcomes were presented during the big evening on March 28th.

Final pitching night

Erica: “I think it was a stressful evening for the start-ups, it was a full house and a lot was at stake since the winner could receive CHF 10 000 in seed funding and CHF 12 000 in living stipend over 6 months. Ideas about food delivery, food stock measurement, a food platform, all of them were inspiring, but there was one who convinced the jury the most.”

A Swiss based starDelisst-up called Deliss who transforms left-over bread from bakery’s into cookies won the final. They made a lot of progress in a few months, had a perfectly scalable idea and a solid business model. Deliss will receive support and continue to develop and test their prototype in the upcoming months with help from the Impact Hub, so keep a close eye on them, to see what’s happening!

“You can have solutions and innovations through programs but we should also change the way we think about food.”

The overall thought

“We are very happy with the final outcomes and pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who helped to support and collaborate during the program. I did learn that tackling food waste requires an entire transformation in the way we consume food. You can have solutions and innovations through programs but we should also change the way we think about food. This is going to be an important task for food retailers, the government and the education system as a whole.”

DelissWant to know more about the winners? Have a look at the website to see all the latest news and find information about the programs. 

Want to do help as well? Attend of the upcoming Open Lab food workshops: Mindful Eating and Food Fermentation.   

Interested in more programs? Keep following the Impact Hub website! A second program edition will be planned for next year. This time with a completely new subject: the Circular Economy Challenge.