Food Heroes | Improving resource efficiency through designing innovative solutions to reduce food waste

Project Summary

Food Heroes. The project name is sound and clear. It focuses on innovative food entrepreneurs working on the reduction of food losses in the ‘neglected’ first parts of the food chain. This project kicks food losses out of Europe in 3 food sectors (fish, meat and fruit & vegetables). The aim will be to prevent food being produced for human consumption to degradate in the food waste pyramid to a lower value level.

The core element is all about developing, testing and implementing 15 innovative solutions, involving at least 120 SME’s with innovative technologies and added value solutions (f.i. energy and pharma). 

This project embraces a co-creative design approach in order to collaborate across NW Europe between innovative regions and its followers. In Food Heroes the capacity for eco-innovation will be enhanced by boosting the speed of innovation adaptation from  innovation leaders (Province of North Brabant, South Ireland, State of Hessen Germany) to innovation followers (Lincolnshire, rest of Ireland, Flanders, West of France).



Within the project, we organised a Food Heroes Award contest. We received 76 food waste solutions! At the end, we had 3 winners in 3 different categories:

  • enVie in the category 'Fruit & vegetables'
  • Mussella in the category 'Fish & Seafood'
  • In Ovo in the category 'Male Animals'


Have a look at the pictures of our award show!




Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Zuidelijke Land- en Tuinbouw organisatie 225 Onderwijsboulevard
5223 DE
Name Contact Name Email Country
Provincie Noord-Brabant Pieter de Boer Netherlands
Dutch Design Foundation Francoise Vos Netherlands
Innovatiesteunpunt Jana Roels Belgium
Flanders District of Creativity vzw Tom Suykerbuyk Belgium
Association des Chambres d’Agriculture de l’Arc Atlantique Pascal Dagron France
Technopole Quimper-Cornouaille Rachel Portal-Sellin France
SPESSART regional e.V. Sabine Jennert Germany
Bord Iascaigh Mhara Tomás Cooper Ireland
Clean Technology Centre Colum Gibson Ireland
University of Lincoln Val Braybrooks United Kingdom
Laval Mayenne Technopole Valérie Moreau France
In Ovo B.V. (Subpartner of PP1 - GBER Art. 25) Wouter Bruins Netherlands

Worldwide one third of all food products is lost. Plenty of food products out of specification or byproducts are now all too often ignored. Many farmers and food processors are racking their brains over this. Together with designers, technologists and scientists they save food from destruction. The world simply needs more Food Heroes.


That’s why project Food Heroes ran a contest for Food Heroes and their food waste solutions. 76 Food Heroes came up with new market products and novel techniques. A special five headed jury, chaired by EU-commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, selected the top-9 Food Heroes to run to the final event at CFIA Expo 2019, Rennes (France). These are the finalists:

Fish & seafood 

Fruits & vegetables

Male animals

North Cape

Reformed fish fillet from belly flaps and fish mince

Social enterprices creating 100% natural vegetarian soups

Fast screening machine to sort one day male chicks in the egg

Frozen (steam shelled) mussel products

Hybrid meat products from 

oyster mushroom stems

High quality chicken products from old hens and roosters

Seconde Vie
Healthy supplements based on raw tuna, sardines and mackerel materials

Cauliflower rice
Ready-to-use food products from cauliflower crumps, hearts and stems

Cooperation Bio Goat Meat
Food festivities to promote billy goats (chevons and caprettos)


Project Food Heroes aims to reduce on farm food losses and wastes by creating higher value uses for by-products and products that are out of specification. Because throwing it away is such a waste!

The Food Heroes Award goes to… EnVie, In Ovo and Mussella!


Starting with 76 nominations for the Food Heroes Awards these Food Heroes got crowned as winners today during a special award show at CFIA Expo 2019. EnVie took away two awards: one award as the overall winner by public voting and one award as the jury winner sector Fruits & vegetables. In Ovo won the jury award in the sector Male animals. As Mussella took the jury award in the sector Fish & seafood.

The jury ranked Belgium based EnVie with a first place in the sector Fruits & vegetables. This social enterprise makes 100% natural soups from surplus vegetables. Head of the jury, EU-commissionner Vytenis Andriukaitis, highly appreciated the food waste solution of this hero: Envie simply shows the most complete story of the value of food in our society. It is a holistic story. It places food in the heart of our society in combination with social employment and food banks. This solution is good for food, people and environment. Besides it scores high on impact because the involvement of a Belgian retail seller.”

Impact was also a crucial factor in the selection of the winner of the jury award in the sector Male animals. In Ovo (the Netherlands) develops a fast screening machine for early gender detection in eggs to prevent culling of male chicks. This Dutch Food Hero saves about 45 million male chicks a year. EU-commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis about this innovative solution: “This solution represents the highest level of food waste reduction in the waste hierarchy. It really saves resources in an early stage. And it saves animals. Once this technology operates it can be adopted in the complete hatching sector and will have a huge impact. Besides the co-creative solution outside the sector suits project Food Heroes well.”

The sector award Fish & seafood went to Mussella. Mussella is a brand new food waste solution from Briere Myticulture on the Breton coast of France, saving undersized mussels get dumped at sea by upcycling undersized mussels to new frozen mussel products. The jury was anonymous enthusiastic about this solution: “It is very brave new initiative to strive for food waste solutions caused by market competition. It’s a strong market oriented solution upcycling out-of-spec mussels that otherwise are left behind at sea. This solution gives a second opportunity to rejected mussels. It’s highly impactful because of its regional origin, taste and flavor.” quoted the EU-commissioner.

Public award

Finally EnVie also took away the public award. Over 16% of 4505 Food Heroes fans voted for this Belgian social enterprise which makes 100% natural soups from surplus vegetables.

More information about all the finalists and their food waste stories:

Project Food Heroes aims to reduce food losses in the primary sectors (on farm and fisheries) by creating higher value uses for byproducts and products that are out of specification. Throwing it away is such a waste. This project is funded by INTERREG North West Europe, European Regional Development Fund.

enVie, winner in the category 'Fruits & vegetables' and winner of the public voting award!

Mussella, winner in the category 'Fish & Seafood'


In Ovo, winner in the category 'Male Animals'


How do we fight food waste currently? How can we do more? Join us at Digital Food Waste Fest 2.020!

Live from the Food Waste Fest studio, we broadcast keynotes, interviews and a sofa discussion that turn the topic of food waste inside out. Tristram Stuart (author of ‘Waste’), Carolyn Steel (author of ‘Sitopia’), Tom Suykerbuyk (Flanders DC), Victor Dries (Kabinet Zuhal Demir), enVie, Colruyt, Reo Veiling (Auction) lay the foundations of our quest to end food waste together.


8/12 - Opening level

  • Keynotes by Tristam Stuart, Carolyn Steel, Tom Suykerbuyk and other pioneers
  • Live interview with Victor Dries
  • Sofa discussion with Colruyt, Naomi Smith (enVie), REO veiling & Melanie van Raaij (Innovatiesteunpunt)

9/12 - 7 missions

  • Choose from 7 webinars on action at different parts of the food chain
  • Tools, methods and inspiration

8 & 9/12 - Connect zone

  • Reach out to fellow attendees and organisations in one-on-one discussions
  • Register as yourself and occupy an organisation booth at Conversation Starter



Register and join our Digital Food Waste Fest 2.020!

Join us!

Share this

Tweet Share