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DBS Foundation X NEA Hungry For Change Challenge Recognises Young Innovators' Solutions To Tackle Singapore's Food Waste Challenges

28 Feb 2023

DBS Foundation will award the five winning teams with funding totalling up to SGD 125,000 to pilot their ideas


Singapore, 28 Feb 2023 - The five winning teams of the inaugural DBS Foundation X National Environment Agency (NEA) Hungry for Change Challenge (“the Challenge”) were announced today. Launched last August as the first nationwide zero food waste challenge for students from local Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL), the Challenge seeks to spur Singapore’s youth to develop fresh solutions to tackle food waste.

2        Food waste, one of the nation’s major waste streams, accounts for some 12 per cent of total waste generated in Singapore. In 2021 alone, 817,000 tonnes of food waste were generated – close to 23 per cent more than the 665,000 tonnes generated in 2020.

3        The Challenge received over 60 submissions from students and fresh alumni from various polytechnics, Institutes of Technical Education, and universities nationwide. Over a third of the submissions proposed using data analytics or application development to enhance efficiencies along the food supply chain, such as inventory planning and food redistribution. Other popular proposals included harnessing food science and technology to upcycle food waste.

4        The five winning teams were selected for the innovativeness and potential impact of their solutions, by a panel of judges comprising senior executives from DBS, NEA, and other industry partners. Each team will be awarded up to SGD 25,000 from DBS Foundation to run a six-month pilot programme with a partner of their choice (see Appendix A for details). The funding will go towards helping the teams to implement and scale up their innovations during the pilot – such as by procuring equipment, improving operational efficiencies, or deepening research and development efforts. Project consultations with NEA will also be available to the teams, to help their progress.

5        Karen Ngui, Group Head, DBS Strategic Marketing and Communications and Board Member of DBS Foundation, said, “We congratulate the five winning teams who represent the most promising ideas from the DBS Foundation X NEA Hungry for Change challenge. Singapore is home to many young, bright minds who care deeply about the deteriorating state of the world we’re living in and are developing meaningful solutions that can make an impact and drive change. We look forward to empowering this new generation of impact makers as they enhance and scale their business ideas in the coming months, so as to help Singapore to become more food resilient.”

6        Lim Yuin Chien, Group Director, Public Engagement Group, NEA, said: “DBS Foundation and NEA’s partnership for this challenge has generated many interesting and bold ideas addressing the important issue of food waste in Singapore. Through this collaboration, we want to empower youths in Singapore to continue advancing national sustainability efforts, under NEA’s Youth for Environmental Sustainability (YES) movement.”

7        The DBS Foundation X NEA Hungry for Change Challenge is part of broader efforts by DBS Foundation to drive food security and resilience – a key mandate under its Community Impact Chapter, which focuses on preparing communities for the future and enabling them to face it with confidence. The Challenge also builds on the bank’s regional ‘Towards Zero Food Waste’ initiative, which was started in 2020 to rally its stakeholders – including employees, customers, ecosystem partners, and the wider community – to play a part in paving the way towards a more food secure and resilient future. To date, DBS’ ‘Towards Zero Food Waste’ initiative has generated over 2,000 tonnes of food impact across Asia.

8        For more information on the winning teams, and the DBS Foundation-NEA Hungry for Change Challenge, please visit: DBS Foundation-NEA Hungry for Change Challenge | DBS Foundation

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Details on the Winning Teams of the DBS Foundation X NEA Hungry for Change Challenge


Represented IHLs




ChangeX aims to empower F&B outlets to utilise surplus ingredients with a smart menu feature through a new app that will be powered by artificial intelligence. The app will prompt merchants of soon-to-expire food, whilst alerting nearby users who may be keen to purchase these at a promotional price.

Divert for 2nd Life


Divert for 2nd Life currently rallies volunteers to redistribute surplus food from F&B businesses to communities across Singapore, be it for consumption or other uses such as composting. For the pilot, the team will work on automating their volunteer management process to achieve greater operational efficiencies. They will also look into developing a waste and impact analytics dashboard.



Through innovative fermentation, Jiro-meat saves commonly discarded okara (soy pulp), a by-product of tofu production, from manufacturers and upcycles it into an alternative meat that offers a natural meat-like texture and flavour. The team’s pilot will focus on scaling up production.

the moonbeam co.


the moonbeam co. collects brewer’s spent grains (BSG), by-products of the beer-brewing process, from local breweries and upcycles them into bakeable grains, which can be used in foods such as granola. The team’s pilot will focus on scaling up production.



The team converts surplus vegetables into high-value functional food ingredients through their proprietary valorisation technologies. They have developed a flavour catalyst, VEME™, that will improve the look, cook, smell and taste of plant-based meats. The team is looking to scale up the production of VEME™ for their pilot.