Deadline: Nov 01, 2018 12:00 PM
Co-development camp: Dec 10 - Dec 11, 2018
Helsinki, Finland
2 000 € + 20 000 € for pilot teams
Applications for this challenge have closed. See our upcoming challenges here.

Food for Thought with Kemira

Kemira’s chemistry expertise improves your everyday – by adding optimal quality, functionality and strength to paper and board products, ensuring safety and hygiene of water and food packaging, and maximizing yield from energy resources. Kemira’s areas of expertise are pulp & paper, water intensive industries and municipal water treatment, and oil & gas. The company has a global network of dedicated experts, production facilities and R&D centers to serve its customers around the world.

In the Pulp & Paper segment, Kemira combines best-in-class application knowhow, latest technologies for smart process management and a complete chemistry portfolio. With this unique expertise, the company offers its customers chemical solutions for the entire process from pulping to coating. As ready-made meals and take-out culture are growing, so is the demand for food packaging board - and high quality packaging both protects products and promotes brands in the best possible way. By hosting Food for Thought, Kemira addresses a global trend of searching for alternative materials to single-use plastic products.

Packaging plays a key role in food shelf-life, safety and smooth logistics. Renewable fiber-based packaging materials are more sustainable than plastic, but they set high demands for qualities such as strength and liquid resistance. In addition, board should be safe and hygienic, and easily converted into packages with vivid color reproduction. A good package keeps your fingers clean and liquids and grease inside, while looking visually appealing. All these desired features can be created with the help of chemistry.

The Challenge

While Kemira is a world-leader in the above-mentioned chemistries, it is now looking to find external solver teams to define and develop business models and earning logics for new, biobased and biodegradable alternatives to packaging plastics – especially when it comes to food packaging. The new proposed business models and earning logics will be utilized in the development of Kemira’s new offerings.

Renewable fiber-based packaging materials can provide the same protection, performance and product experience as plastics, while alleviating the disposal challenges associated with plastics. Kemira is actively working to develop the chemistry side, but needs a hand to model this expertise into new business. Typically, Kemira would go to their current customers in the paper and board industry – but perhaps this would stop them from spotting other opportunities not so obvious to Kemira at first look. What could their future role in the value-chain look like?

To beat the challenge, participating teams should develop and justify suggestions for problems & opportunities regarding Kemira’s role in the value chain for plastic-free food packaging, including but not limited to things like:

  • What and where are the low-hanging fruits in this market?

  • Should Kemira find partners to cover different roles in the value chain – why, who?

  • What should the offering be like, and to whom will Kemira sell?

  • What would be the earning logic?

Teams behind the most promising models and logic will be selected as innovation partners into a pilot program. The program includes further co-development and testing to validate if the model is worth continuing with. To succeed, teams should think about a rough business plan, which could include things like market analysis, cash flow calculations, competitor analysis, go-to-market plan or other such depictions.

Available Resources

To help the development of proof-of-concepts during the challenge, Kemira has reserved some key people and resources to support your work.

Mentors & Experts

Each team will be assigned with their own mentor from the host. There will also be other industry experts from the host to help teams with their work.

Additional information

The participating teams will receive general background material regarding the development of biobased and biodegradable alternatives to packaging plastics.


  • Applications close – 14:00 on November 1st 2018

  • Applicants informed about the selections – November 6th

  • Challenge kickoff visit (mandatory for all teams) – November 19th (afternoon - evening), in Helsinki

  • Co-development Camp (mandatory for all team members) – December 10th-11th (all-day event), in Helsinki

  • Decisions on pilots – December 11th

  • Pilot phase – roughly an 8-week-project during January-March 2019

Estimated time commitment

The teams are expected, in minimum, to work full-time on the challenge during Co-development Camp (2 days), Kickoff Event (1 day) and invest an estimated 1-2 day per person in working on the idea between these, also together with their assigned mentor.

After the Camp, the chosen pilot teams are expected to work on their proof of concept and take part in 2 assigned workshops plus the final jury presentation. These will be scheduled in the pilot kickoff workshop.


The teams compete for pilot projects worth 20 000 euros. Each participating team will be paid a reward of 2 000 eur. Rewards are paid against invoice after the team has presented their demo and the customer has made the decision about the pilot.


Apply with a team of 2-3 people. All applications will be reviewed after the deadline and all applicants will be informed after the deadline. Up to 8 teams will be selected to join the challenge. The contest will be regulated by the Industryhack General Terms for Open Innovation Contest: all team members accept these terms by applying for the challenge, and all participants will sign the terms when invited to join.

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Applications for this challenge have closed. See our upcoming challenges here.

Questions & Answers

In case you have any further questions regarding the challenge, don't hesitate to ask. Your question will be published here and answered by the Industryhack team within one working day.

Quyen Nguyen 6 months ago
We are from Stockholm. Do we need to cover the transportation fee and accommodations ourselves if we are selected?
Anna6 months ago
Hi Quyen, thanks for an excellent question and sorry that you had to wait for response!
Kemira confirmed that travel and accommodation costs will be covered for selected teams that need to travel from further distance. So, in case your team would get selected, we would setup a Skype/similar for the Kickoff event on Nov 19th, and then for the Camp on Dec 10.-11.12. we would arrange you the flights and the required overnight stay.
In case you have additional questions, you also email me at :)