Broaden your horizon: Use the challenge to understand a complex challenge of the world population and try to come up with a targeted market analysis of the food market and specific unmet consumer needs.

Jetzt mehr über die Challenge erfahren

01.10.2018 – 24.01.2019

Access to Merck Accelerator Program

1st Place: 5.000 Euros

2nd Place: 2.500 Euros

3rd Place: 1.500 Euros

4th Place: 1.000 Euros

Status Quo

Globally, urbanization is forecasted to continue with urban areas to account for approximately 70 percent of world population in 2050. Per capita, global GDP is projected to increase with an average annual growth rate of 1.9 percent throughout the next years. Urbanization and income will have a significant impact on food consumption patterns.

Supply/producer side: With food there will be several stakeholders to consider, which will probably have very different topics and challenges on their minds: consumers, producers, and institutions.  This is just a start – feel free to add other players that will be relevant!

Demand/consumer side: For different consumer segments, food occupies a different role. While it is true that with growing affluence, food becomes a topic some people obsess about and which is a pillar of their identity, for others food is a functional necessity or a purely sensorial aspect of their life. Familiarize yourself with existing consumer food segments and have a look at their future(s)!

The Challenge

In the qualification phase you focus primarily on identifying unmet consumer needs. With a consumer perspective analysis of the food market, multiple customer segments can be identified and analyzed in depth!

Should you qualify for the elaboration phase you will visit the Merck Innovation Center and participate in a science & technology workshop to discuss and refine your strategy. Based on this, you develop ideas, of how these unmet consumer needs could be addressed based on Merck’s scientific and technological capabilities.

The Job

A starting point of your analysis could be one of various leads:

Institutions like ministries or NGOs shape consumer thinking about what good food is, esp. when it comes to nutrition, as well as “good” and “bad” foods, be that in terms of impact on health and the body as well as the environment. Try to grasp what thinking will drive their recommendations and “PR” activities in the future.

Producers: as food grows in importance, big producers are already under increasing public scrutiny regarding their supply chains, sourcing methods, their hunt for profits in an area which is increasingly seen as “health-related”. What will their future strategies be? Will local or more ethical producers continue their successful run?

What do startups/proponents of new food production technologies assume about future food needs – and will they be right?

Think broad: food is closely linked with lifestyle, social status, and most of all, values, and not just consumed because of intrinsic qualities! To anticipate shifts in “food needs”, you will have to reflect the role of changing values, of role models (just think about “meat” as a way of establishing masculine identity), of urban lifestyles, of megatrends like demographic change or IoT, and what that means for food.