From bug ice cream to fungal fish filets - the second Garage48 Food hackathon took place in January 2023!

The second ever Garage48 food hackathon took place this January in Tartu, Estonia, to address the issues facing society and the food industry today, and create solutions for a more sustainable and healthy future. We had around 70 participants working across 13 teams, who worked incredibly hard over 48-hours and built some great prototypes. The teams were supported by our 32 incredible mentors in and out of the lab. The event was co-organized by Garage48, the Estonian University of Life Sciences and Estonian Research Council, and in partnership with Polli Horticultural Research Center, TFTAK, TalTech, BioCC, and Tartu Biotechnology Park (EIT Food Hub in Estonia). The event was also supported by Tartu City and Orkla Estonia.  

Why food?

Going into the hackathon, the challenges set by the organizers and partners were related to the most critical and time sensitive pain points in our food industry today. Firstly, the global food system is responsible for up to 30% of total GHG emissions, so reducing that number will be crucial in the upcoming decades. At the same time, about 1/3 of the food produced worldwide never even reaches the table. Making use of the byproduct and waste from food production would make the industry more cost efficient and circular. Thirdly, Protein is a vital part of a healthy diet, but with a growing world population (9 billion by 2050), meeting the demand for protein in an environmentally sustainable way is one of the biggest upcoming challenges. Simultaneously, more conscious consumers are switching to plant-based food & protein alternatives already, but there needs to be a more nutritious & diverse product variety to make that transition healthier and easier. Finally, in Europe alone, approximately 1/3 of cardiovascular diseases are associated with an unhealthy and unbalanced diet. With so much noise and so many options on the market, it’s necessary to raise consumer awareness of healthy and environmentally friendly choices.

What was different this time?

Following the learnings of last year's hackathon we got the physical product teams into the labs early ahead of the hackathon weekend to develop their food prototypes in advance with our world leading partner laboratories and mentors. We received 27 idea submissions for the laboratory incubation programme, out of which 9 most novel and science-driven ones were green lit. These teams brought their products for the hackathon jury to taste and, within 48 hours, created a business and marketing plan, a concept for packaging, some branding, and a clickable prototype (a landing page).

For the 48 hours of the hackathon, software-driven teams joined in, too. They worked to build prototypes in 48-hours, from clickable figma designs to web and mobile apps alongside figuring out how they might turn their ideas into sustainable and profitable businesses too.

This time around, Garage48 Food was a fully on-site hackathon, taking place at the Estonian University of Life Sciences.


Overall winner: Nord BioIndustries

Repurposing insect biomass into high-quality, sustainable, protein-rich flour, which can be used for various healthy products! At the hackathon, they served the jury cookies made of insect biomass flour with ice cream - a true hit! They won a straight pass to Ajujaht 2023 TOP 40, 10 hours of one-on-one business mentoring from Tartu Business Advisory Services, 2 hours of mentoring from Eamonn Carey (Tera Ventures), and a one-on-one consultation from Mariliis Holm of Sustainable Food Ventures.

Garage48 Food 2022/2023 was my first ever hackathon, and it certainly set a high mark for future ones. It gave us the phenomenal opportunity to develop our products in labs all around Estonia without investments, and really tested our skills and vigour during the 48h brainstorm at the end of the event. After all the hard work, it was such a blast to know that our team actually won. A truly unforgettable experience!”
- Konstantin Dolski, Nord BioIndustries team lead.

Team members: Konstantin Dolski, Jegor Petsorin, Thor Tristan Karafin, Henri Soosalu.

Served to the jury: cookies containing insect biomass flour with ice cream.

First runner-up: Fungilicious

Locally sourced tempeh food that reduces the environmental impact of the food industry and allows daily intake of essential nutrients. They won a chance to kickstart their plant-based food start-up with the ProVeg Incubator (including a coaching session with the Incubator team and the opportunity to fast-track their application to join the next cohort), 15 hours of mentorship and 15 hours of laboratory time from TFTAK, and a one-on-one consultation from Mariliis Holm of Sustainable Food Ventures.

Team members: Kadi Hainas, Ago Täkker, Raul Purge, Ilnur Hairullin, Alina Rekena.

Served to the jury: fermented mushroom mycelium cutlets. 

Second runner-up: Ferflakes

Enriching food products with veggie flakes made from the by-product pulp of their Ferla Vitality vegetable probiotic juice. Ferflakes are a great nutritional additive to food products, such as bread, yogurt, cutlets, and smoothies, to increase their nutritional value. They were awarded with the EIT Food monetary prize of 1000 euros and a free merchant slot at Veganmess 2023, and 2 hours of mentoring from Eamonn Carey (Tera Ventures).

Team members: Kadri Piho, Kail Piho, Taavi Vanaveski, Jaan Pentsok, Ernest Bondarenko. 

Served to the jury: probiotic vegetable flakes with yogurt. 

Favorite of the audience: Kesebar

A salty protein bar made from locally sourced canola and hemp protein. They received 10 hours of one-on-one business mentoring from Tartu Business Advisory Services and delicious ice cream from La Muu.


"The event in our opinion was very well organized. Venue choice at Estonian University of Life and Sciences was perfect for the 48 hours. It made team working and finding mentors very easy. Food selection was delicious! It was a pleasure working at Garage48.”

- Sander Liiva, Kesebar team lead.

Team members: Sander Liiva, Stiven Vatin, Martin Pent, Egert Pihlak, Jürgen Vahter, Kaari Mulk.

Served to the jury:
salty canola protein bars. 

Mati's team

They developed a mycoprotein-based flaky fish filet alternative that is enriched with algal Omega3 fatty acids. It is healthy, has great texture and taste, and is environmentally friendly. They won an entry to S2B Launchpad by Tartu Science Park for spring 2023 and Digital marketing support by Blu Mint.

"It was a really valuable and interesting experience for our team. During the hackathon, we put together our value proposition, conducted market analysis and customer survey, developed an attractive packaging design and planned our launch campaign. The event was very well organized and there was nothing to worry about. Thank you, Garage48 team."

- Angelina Vinogradova, Mati's team lead. 

Team members: Andrean Razumovski, Angelina Vinogradova, Mari Leito, Dasha Shvaikovskaya, Miša Zujev.

Served to the jury: mycoprotein-based flaky fish filet.

Supercharger Inside

Food products where locally cultivated highly nutritious microalgae Chlorella is the key ingredient. They won a one-on-one consultation from Mariliis Holm (Sustainable Food Ventures).

Team members: Kerstin, Koit Kõrgnurm, Liina Joller-Vahter, Martin Cornelius, Sascha Garlick.

"Team Supercharger Inside did not go for low-hanging fruit, instead we went for the idea that would most further our personal development. We came together as a team containing one member with 10+ years in the field, two having worked on the biotech behind the product for half a year, and two with a completely fresh look on the microalgae and its value proposition. Each complemented the team with unique expertise, we all learned a lot, and each of us grew and developed over the course of the event. As my teammates said, we could not have wished for a better hackathon experience!" 

- Liina Joller-Vahter, Supercharger Inside team lead.

Served to the jury: microalgae pesto on a toast. 

MOAT (Valortech team)

They produced a special type of reduced-fat meatball, low in calories using upcycled oat-drink pulp flour. The product is natural, environmentally friendly, and a source of dietary fibers. They won a dinner at Fotografiska.

Team members: Kristi Kerner, Viive Sarv, Monica Ibrahim, Karl-Gustav Gimbutas.

Served to the jury: meatballs of three different flavors. 


A sugar-free healthy kali. They won a Nudist wine tour.

Team members: Taavi Vanaveski.

Served to the jury.


Overall winner

SUHENU - A web app where school cooks can access cost-efficient healthy sustainable recipes, so students would have the option of a climate friendly lunch that doesn't pollute their future while getting all the nutritional values they need. They won a pass to 2023 Prototron programme, 10 hours of one on one business mentoring from Tartu Business Advisory Services and 2 hours of mentoring from Eamonn Carey (Tera Ventures).

"Participating in Garage48 hackathon as a concept is beautiful. You come with an idea to create something, however, you are unaware who will become your fellow hackers. The journey of going through hardship to bring a new solution to this world is exhilarating. Strongly recommend!"

- Marianne Kosenkranius, SUHENU team lead.

Team members: Marianne Kosenkranius, Emma Sofia Meri, Andrius Matšenas, Zinovi Lipinski, Nataliia Kinash.

First runner-up: Kido

Nutritional education for children in a simple and playful way! They got tickets to the Food Innovation Summit.

Team members: Jana Paumets, Agne Väljaots, Jana Suikanen, Georgi Suikanen, Zino Lipinski.

Second runner-up: Vertical Farming

Creating new socio-economic value to the communities with solar powered vertical farms that enable the building of sport infrastructure for the communities for free. They won tickets to sTARTUp Day 2023.

Team members: Tarvo Kärgenberg, Alari Merbach.

Congratulations again to all the winners and to everyone who participated! We're really looking forward to these teams continuing with the work they've started and hopefully putting something on our plates in the years to come. Thank you to everyone who joined in this food (r)evolution! 

What’s next?

Garage48 Food 2022/23 was a successful pilot which gave life to new food products and businesses, proving that we should aim higher and go even bigger next year! We'd like to create a united and collaborative food innovation ecosystem to support the birth of new sustainable businesses and innovative products. That means bringing more R&D ideas into the market, providing young scientists with entrepreneurial knowledge and making sure that each of the SMEs created has an interdisciplinary team with a diverse skill set to enter the market successfully. Essentially, we plan to build a production line for food innovation - from a small spark of an idea to a real sustainable business & product. We will definitely see you at the next Garage48 Food hackathon!

If you want to see more of the Garage48 Food makeathon:

Check out the whole photo album.  

See all the teams in the Favorite of the Audience photo album.

Rewatch the finals.

Photos by Maanus Kullamaa and Silver Gutmann.


Participation in this event was supported by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund Estonian University of Life Sciences ASTRA Project "Value-chain based bioeconomy 2 "; Estonian Research Council via ResTA programme, and by EIT Food, Innovation Community of The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), which is an independent body of the European Union.

About the author

kadi aguraijuja

Kadi is an experienced hackathon and events organizer working with events across various industries from Food Technology to Construction. She is extremely detail-oriented and caring about everyone involved in the project! 🥰

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