Daniel Berckmans: "Looking for the idea that helps feed the world"

Great ideas for feedtech innovation keep pouring in the Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge. The big question is: what are the jury members who will eventually pick the winner of the Challenge looking for in the entries they will assess? In this blog, the jury chairman, Prof. Dr. Ir. Daniel Berckmans of KU Leuven, explains why he hopes to find real game changers among the entries.

When I was asked to chair the Challenge jury, I did not hesitate for a second. We need game changing innovations for the problems of the world. And we need them soon. The Challenge motto is real: 'What is your breakthrough innovation - that CANNOT wait?’


Today’s biggest challenge is to find sustainable ways to meet the demand for food of the growing world population. We are not going to change the worldwide increasing demand for animal products, it is a fact. If we don’t find effective and efficient solutions soon, we will fall short in our efforts to feed the world in a sustainable way.

I am convinced that, to find solutions for the world, we need to match innovators and their creative thinking to big players in international markets. The Challenge intends to find these innovators and creates a breeding ground for them.

Connecting start-ups with large corporations

The beauty of this Challenge is that it builds a bridge between two worlds. On the one hand, there is the world of a large corporation like Nutreco, with its global network and market knowledge and its – by nature – limited possibilities to develop disruptive innovations on its own. On the other hand, there is the world of young, creative thinkers that have a completely new look on the challenges of today. Linking these two is a very promising recipe for success.

On-farm validation

I am truly excited about getting the chance to review the entries. Every entry will get my full attention and only the very best will go to the final, the Challenge Event in February. Offering an on-farm validation to the winner is a wonderful idea. The true value of this prize is the chance to test, demonstrate and experience the technology. It is a means to help overcome and solve different problems.

The on-farm validation is a unique way to experience how an idea works in a farm environment. The validation offers the winner a true test, helps speed up development and provides an unforgettable experience.

The extra bonus of the validation is that it is a chance to attract the attention of the public, the press and of investors and partners that may be able take the concept to a next level. I express my sincere hope that the concept that wins this year’s Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge will one day help feed the world!