Adopt an Ugly Foodling - young and experienced consumers co-design solutions for food waste reduction


VTT in collaboration with Cross-KIC New European Bauhaus and the Oulu2026- the city of Oulu European Capital of Culture 2026 initiatives will bring together young and experienced consumers in a co-design event. During the event, the participants will get to know better the challenges related to food waste in the stages of the food chain - production, market, restaurants, households - and use aesthetics and co-design to improvise new methods and solutions for reducing food waste and promote re-use and recycling of food. The interaction activities aim at engaging the participants intellectually and emotionally so that the produced ideas will mirror their experiences and create impact beyond the event. After the event we will share the new ideas and solutions.

Adopt the Ugly Foodling!

The main hero of the initiative is the Ugly Foodling. The Ugly Foodling represents food that is still edible or still has value, but it ends up to the garbage. Four storylines of the adventures of the Ugly Foodlings at the food production site, in the market, in the restaurant and at home, will be produced by the young adult participants and presented in digital format. The work of the co-creation event will be to change the fate of the Ugly Foodlings towards a sustainable and inclusive “happier end” for all, the environment, the city and its citizens, the food producers.

Food is culture

The results of the initiative will be assessed by a panel of culture and food chain representatives, and implemented under the many actions of Oulu as the European Capital of Culture. They will highlight the role and value of food as a cultural element of human life, and make the Green Deal, a cultural, human centred and positive, “tangible” experience.

More information on the actors

The New European Bauhaus (NEB) is an environmental, social, and cultural initiative that complements the European Green Deal and combines the aesthetic experience, sustainability, and inclusivity. This design phase aims to shape the NEB concept, explore ideas, identify urgent needs, and engage communities.

The EIT Cross-Knowledge Innovation Community (x-KIC) initiative aims to combine aesthetics, sustainability, circularity, and inclusiveness to help deliver the European Green Deal. It will contribute to the New European Bauhaus by addressing urban food systems challenges through projects directed at implementing innovative activities, educational programmes and citizen engagement. 

The Oulu2026 is Oulu’s journey together with 32 municipalities from Northern Finland towards bringing to the North more culture and wellbeing, create new jobs and develop our region. 

VTT Ltd. creates breakthrough solutions of the new Food economy 4.0, a sustainable consumer-centric ecosystem that connects traditional and new food producers to consumers in new ways.

Our vision beyond 2030

Demand for food is growing at the same rate as the world population. Food production needs to be both sufficiently efficient and less harmful for the environment than before. The challenge is massive, but big steps have already been taken in the right direction.