UM Students win the GreenFood4Health Challenge

On 1 April 2022, the GreenFood4Health Challenge took place at the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo. The winning team: Anastasia Kalalidou, Einar Schulze, Vanessa Klose, Inês Brito Da Mana Morgado and Saja Alowaisi (Fontys), master students of the MSc Health Food Innovation Management at Maastricht University (UM).

The GreenFood4Health Challenge

The aim of the GreenFood4Health Challenge is to connect students with the labour market and companies working at the intersection of food, health, innovation and smart solutions. For this edition, the companies BASF, Innerbuddies and Innexo provided three questions in the field of molecular farming. In interdisciplinary teams, students set to work with the aim of pitching a solution to the jury. And yes, the UM student team took home the first prize!

Eat more leeks

UM master students Anastasia Kalalidou, Einar Schulze, Vanessa Klose, Inês Brito Da Mana Morgado and Saja Alowaisi (Fontys) worked on BASF's challenge, which asked them to develop a strategy to boost leek consumption. The team developed a short and long-term strategy. In the short term, the strategy mainly focuses on the effective marketing of leeks through branding, in order to promote awareness of the product. In addition, a campaign for schools was developed to make children more familiar with eating leeks. In the long term, the strategy focuses on developing new varieties of leeks, using genetic engineering tools (a process that can take up to 15 years):

"Our idea was not only to change the colour of leeks to a less green shade, to evade avoidance by children, but also to crossbreed leeks with garlic. Since leeks and onions are so close to each other, such a cross would be the perfect herbal vegetable in one variety, combining both the characteristics and taste of garlic and leeks. Instead of using herbal vegetables like onion and garlic for your Bolognese, just use leek! In addition, we would also like to grow this new variety smaller so that it fits into any refrigerator."

The team is very enthusiastic about the GreenFood4Health Challenge. "It was a great way to apply our knowledge, work on real problems that businesses face, and connect and collaborate with professionals," the team said.