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Team KMC – InnovateFood Challenge 2017

InnovateFood Challenge is a case competition for students and graduates being held for the first time in Aarhus. With over 2000 applicants only 30 top-qualified and motivated students made it through to the final competition held 29th of August to 1st of September 2017.

Mads Kinch Clemmensen, head of the recruitment process and director of Foodjob Nordic explains; “It has been overwhelming to see so much talent joined for this event. All students have been extremely motivated and have applied for this competition as an actual job position. We asked them to write a motivated cover letter, and tell us why food innovation is their passion and what they can contribute with in this type of innovation collaboration.”

Six companies participated, among others Chr. Hansen, Arla and KMC. The KMC Challenge “Natural Fiber Ingredients in the Future – sourcing, technology and consumer health” put the five students on Team KMC to the test.

Team KMC The team was composed of five students who were given five different roles: Sustainability/Innovation, Nutritionist, Food Scientist, Innovation and Business Developer. The roles represented the students’ academic or professional competences, and each student was asked to do a personality test before arriving in Aarhus, in order to compose a strong and complimentary team. Mateusz Ciasnocha from Poland was the business developer of the team; “It was my great pleasure to participate in the student case competition during InnovateFood. The business case provided by our client KMC was not only intriguing, but also fascinating to work on.”

Business Development Director Gitte Graverholt and HR Manager Eva Remmer Søndergaard from KMC were the company representatives: “KMC benefitted a lot from the participation. Right from the description of the actual challenge to the final result from the students. The vibe around the whole thing has been inspiring, and meeting the students and seeing their profiles was very interesting.”

The solution After three days of hard work the students presented their solution to the KMC Challenge on stage at Aarhus University. The solution was based on adding the potato fibers to other types of food products. The team also created a business plan for KMC so that KMC in the future can implement the fibers into many other products, and be the leading supplier of fibers for the food industry. “Our aim was to assess whether the client should expand its potato fiber production and if yes, quantify the opportunity at hand. Following a well-structured process of working on the business case, interaction with our client, co-operation with industry experts and a fantastic team from Foodjob Nordic, as well as enjoyable and supportive in-team dynamics we concluded that the identified opportunity is real and KMC should look further into it”, says Mateusz.

Gitte Graverholt from KMC is also very content about the concept of the case competition and conference; “I think InnovateFood puts focus on the whole industry, and also raises the level of how we work with food innovation. In my opinion, the combination of competition for the students and the experts who could give the students a broader perspective and also some in-depth knowledge on the topics has been good and attracts people from all over the world.”

Also, the students have gained a lot of new experiences; “We are grateful for KMC, InnovateFood, the Danish Food Cluster, Foodjob Nordic and the PoWerTato team for this experience and hope to see the effects of KMC’s further work on our recommendations”, the group explains.

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