FoodNetLab - Exploratory Pilot: Food Value Network Innovation Lab

Project Details


The food industry is of great economic and social importance to the Austrian society. Thus, in 2016, the production of food and beverages generated a turnover of 5.96 billion euros (WKOÖ, 2017). Private households spent 15.98 billion euros on food in the same year (Statistik Austria, n.d.). A look at social media shows that food is shaping the lifestyle of our society as never before. The new information and communication technologies enable the interaction between the players in the traditional value chain and society. Against this background, a landslide-like structural change towards a complex value network is to be expected in the next few years. In this, the consumer will be strongly involved and significantly influence the sensitive area of nutrition and food production with his product ideas. So it is time to familiarize with the opportunities and risks of the Internet of Things in the food sector. The topic is therefore increasingly permeating the relevant professional journals. Here, the focus is on the aspects of security, intelligence and the interfaces of the systems used. Regional suppliers as well as global players are scrimmaging in the Austrian food market. Each one of them faces the challenge of Industry 4.0. While global players begin to take advantage of the Internet of Things, many mid-sized companies are in a state of shock. Managers are aware that there will be upheavals in the classical structures. However, due to their lack of knowledge of the technical background, they are not in a position to actively take on the topic. This carries the risk of disruption by new entrants. The food sector is already experimenting with open innovation approaches such as innovation competitions or hackatons. However, these are primarily initiated by companies or organizations in order to connect with consumers or start-ups. Attempts that bring together the actors of the food creation network are looked for in vain. In order to equip the regional SMEs for the future, such a platform should be created, which pushes interactions between the different stakeholders of the developing value added network, so that potentials are recognized and risks are eliminated. In particular, consumers should be involved. The aim of the exploration is to design an innovation laboratory on the basis of a foresight study with all parties involved, which supports networking beyond existing, predominantly bilateral relationships in order to actively promote technical developments. The concept is to be evaluated together with the stakeholders. An accompanying exhibition aims to make the relevance of the topic accessible and aware to the broad public. Through a game-based format, visitors are actively involved in the development of future scenarios.
Short titleFoodNetLab
Effective start/end date01.10.201828.02.2020