Innovation team guides young designers towards circular solutions for food waste


The Research Hub partnered with the Università Iuav di Venezia, supporting a unique challenge for student designers to come up with sustainable ideas to manage food waste in camps for displaced populations.

In this instance, we’re talking very different kinds of kitchens than Electrolux Professional is used to. The German Red Cross is developing a mobile support module to provide immediate assistance, shelter, food and medical care for people displaced through large scale crises.

Catering for up to 5,000 people, there is potentially huge amounts of food waste coming from the container kitchens inside the module. So, the challenge for a number of students taking the Advanced Course in Circular Design, led by scientific head Professor Laura Badalucco, was to manage this level of waste in a sustainable, circular and innovative way.

“With sustainability a strategic priority for our company, and food waste a challenge for our industry, this was a typical Open Innovation opportunity, bringing together various sectors and students who don’t know our products to create ideas and raise questions. It makes for a valuable innovation network and could provide us with a future opportunity,” says Viktoria Roos, Open Innovation Leader.

This real-life case was a significant opportunity to engage with the German Red Cross, a contact that came about thanks to Professional’s support of the Electrolux Food Foundation.

“For the Innovation Team, the beauty of this activity comes from boosting creativity and an opportunity to think differently,” adds Michele Cadamuro, Head of Design & Innovation. “Although this is not a typical challenge for Electrolux Professional, food waste in our business is a huge problem and to actively look at ideas that differ from the traditional path of thinking is valuable.”

“Effectively greening practices and strengthening environmental sustainability across all operations and programs are an integral part of how the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement takes mitigation and adaptation measures to address current and future humanitarian needs” says Reinhold Erdt, German Red Cross. “Innovative solutions for waste management presented at this workshop are inspirational for potential adaptation measures and we will draw on ideas discussed as we continue to develop the mobile support unit.”

Special thanks to the students Ilaria Canova, Serena Vinciguerra, Matteo Volpato, Vittoria Casanova, Joëlle Cifelli, Vittoria Roccatelli, Darlene Sullivan, Giuliano Lupi, Leonardo Salzedo and the tutor Marco Limani.