2017 The Chr. Hansen Challenge2019-10-31T14:57:10+00:00

The Chr. Hansen challenge:

“How can awareness and acceptance of bacteria to fight food waste be enhanced?”

The Challenge

We challenge you to come up with creative ideas and solutions to enhance the awareness and acceptance of good bacteria as a way to fight food waste. What does it take to make consumers understand the benefit of bacteria? Are they willing to accept products with prolonged shelf life? How should dairy manufacturers market a yoghurt with extended shelf life to consumers?


The UN Sustainable Development goals outlines a global ambition to halve the global food waste per capita, at the retailer and consumer levels by 2030. To reach this goal, it is important to create more efficient production and supply chains and activate all innovative solutions to reduce food waste. Currently, up to one third of all food is wasted according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Just 25% of this food would be enough to feed more than 800 million people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition (FAO). The dairy sector alone has an estimated loss of about 20% at different stages of the value chain (FAO).

One of the main challenges in keeping dairy products fresh is contamination by yeast and mould, which are naturally present everywhere. Contamination quickly leads to spoilage—especially if there are disruptions in the cold chain from production to the consumer’s table. To help address this challenge, Chr. Hansen invests in extensive research programs aimed at identifying new strains of natural food cultures to keep dairy products fresh and to fight spoilage. Chr. Hansen has introduced such protective culture called, FreshQ®, which enables dairy companies to extend the shelf life of their products and reduce the risk of spoilage by inhibiting yeast and mould growth. FreshQ® bioprotective food cultures offer a safe solution based on traditional principles of fermentation. The product is based on unique bacteria strains found within lactic acid bacteria species normally present in dairy products.

In 2016, Chr. Hansen conducted an impact study on the economic incentives to reduce food waste. It highlighted that if bioprotective cultures were applied to all yoghurt in Europe, it could reduce European yoghurt waste with 30%. The study also showed that in certain circumstances there are economic incentives for all stakeholders in the value chain, including dairy manufacturers. However, retailers, dairy manufacturers and regulators are still questioning themselves whether consumers will accept 7 days of additional shelf life due to good bacteria or, as they are often called on the label, food cultures. Despite the role bacteria has played in food fermentation, since ancient times, general awareness among consumers of the existence of good bacteria and its natural preservative effects is generally low.

About Chr. Hansen

Chr. Hansen is a global bioscience company that develops natural solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. We have been around since 1874 and have more than 2,800 dedicated employees in more than 30 countries. As a company we aim to deliver innovative natural solutions that advance food, health, and productivity for the benefit of us all. We develop and produce cultures, enzymes, probiotics, and natural colours for a rich variety of foods, confectionery, beverages, dietary supplements, and even animal feed and plant protection.

All solutions are based on strong research and development competencies coupled with significant technology investments and close customer relationships. We are the owner of one of the world’s largest commercial collections of bacteria, numbering more than 20,000 strains. We like to refer to them as ‘good bacteria’. From this collection bacteria are screened, selected and improved to meet specific requirements in food, dietary supplement, animal feed, and plant protection.
We do also develop and produce natural colours for the food industry.

More than 1 billion people around the world consume our natural ingredients every day. There’s a good chance that you had a bite of Chr. Hansen this morning. Perhaps you enjoyed deliciously creamy yoghurt, mouth-watering Italian style salami, or a cheese with a distinct bite?

Students for the competition

We are looking to recruit students from the following areas

Speakers at the conference

The speakers for the Chr. Hansen Challenge.

Christoffer Lorenzen,
Executive Vice President, Chr. Hansen

Christoffer Lorenzen joined Chr. Hansen in March 2008 and has held various positions in Sales and Marketing, including Director and Head of Marketing in our Animal Health & Nutrition Business, and VP and Head of Central & Eastern Europe. In 2013, Mr. Lorenzen was appointed SVP and Head of Commercial Development in the Cultures and Enzymes Division, and in 2016, he was appointed EVP and Head of the Food Cultures and Enzymes Business Unit. Prior to joining Chr. Hansen, Mr. Lorenzen was employed at H. Lundbeck A/S, a global specialty pharmaceutical company, where he served as Head of Corporate Strategy and M&A as well as Corporate Secretary.

Dieter Elsser-Gravesen,
Managing Director, ISI Food Protection

Dieter is Managing Director of ISI Food Protection, at the Centre of Expertise for Applied Food Microbiology, and Honorary Associate Professor in Food Microbiology at Aarhus University. Dieter has more than 20 years of experience within the field of food microbiology through his industrial experience within research and development of food.

Liisa Lähteenmäki,
Professor, Aarhus University

Liisa has long-term expertise in consumer behaviour in the food domain with a special interest in factors affecting food choices and product-related perceptions, such as the role of health, novelty, and sustainability in food-related behaviours, and factors contributing to food waste in households.

Dr Siet Sijtsema,
Consumer researcher, Food and Innovation, Wageningen University and Research

Siet studies consumer perception, habits, and behaviour related to healthy and sustainable food, and also bio-based products and food waste. She is experienced in working in multidisciplinary teams when translating consumer research into consumer-oriented product development in both national and EU projects.

Dorte Petersen,
Senior Consultant, Danish Technological Institute

Dorte Petersen is a senior consultant at Danish Technological Institute working within the areas of food technology and business development. She is leading several projects on the reduction of food waste in the food value chain with a focus on primary production and the food service sector.


  • Conference theme 4; Natural healthy food. How to build resilient and sustainable food systems that support the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • Date: Thursday 31/8-2017

  • Deadlines: Apply for a seat in student competition registration from January 30 – March 31, 2017

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