Digital infrastructure for a transparent and resilient food system
Fair market for all food producers and biodiverse food affordable to everyone
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
Dagens is a multidisciplinary team consisting of 5 people.
Hafdís Sunna Hermannsdóttir: MSc Service design.
10+ years experience from food innovation projects across the Nordics.
Maximo Graesse: MSc Business & Economics.
15+ years international kitchen experience (Michelin restaurants, hotels, canteens).
Stian Petlund: MSc Robotics and Intelligent systems. Experience from machine learning and classifieds marketplace startups.
Kristina Gardli: MSc Plant scientist with extensive knowledge about food and produce.
Kristoffer Torheim: MS Finance & Management. Ex- Accenture. Built up the operations of Shippeo - a successful French SaaS startup.
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Oslo, the capital of Norway, and rural areas in approximately 500 km radius. Whole Norway is 385,203 km².
What country is your selected Place located in?
Norway, Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
I live in Oslo, and Oslo and rural areas are the testing market for my startup, Dagens. This place is important to me as it represents some of the most biodiverse areas in the whole Nordic region, as its territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The total number of species recorded in Norway is around 44 000. I believe the Nordic countries are frontrunners when it comes to values, and therefore I think Norway can be a good best practice example, inspiring other countries. The Nordic values are: democracy, freedom of speech, equality, mutual respect, and trust.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Aerial view of Oslo during summer.
Oslovian environmental group ByBi designed the world's first urban bee highway to help support bees living in city environments
Summer in Oslo. Swimming in Oslo fjord, right besides the Oslo opera designed by the renowned Snøhetta.
Urban farming at Losæter in the middle of Oslo.
Urban farming at Losæter in the middle of Oslo.
Oslo won the European Commission’s prestigious title of European Green Capital 2019, which cemented the city’s reputation as a great location for sustainable living, leisure and business tourism.
Oslo is a modern, busy capital, yet more than two-thirds of the municipality’s acreage is protected forest, waterways, and agricultural land. This means 95% of inhabitants have a park or open green space within 300 metres of their homes, many of them linked by convenient paths. Norwegians study and work hard during the week and the year – but are also good at resting and relaxation. An average working week consists of five seven-and-a-half-hour workdays. The average Norwegian takes every weekend off – and has five weeks paid vacation per year. Good health and an active lifestyle are important. Evenings and weekends are often filled with activities, from theatre performances and concerts to outdoor activities and sports.
Oslo’s aim, put simply, is to be the most sustainable city in the world—and to inspire others to follow in its footsteps. The city has implemented some of the most effective climate and environmental measures in Europe. In 2016, Oslo set itself some highly ambitious goals, including an emission reduction of 95% by 2030. In 2017, the city’s first, ground-breaking Climate Budget was implemented, requiring authorities to "count carbon the way we count money." The city’s Business for Climate network was founded in 2010 and currently consists of over 100 business partners working towards the achievement of Oslo's climate goals.
Oslo claims to be ‘the electric vehicle capital of the world’. One in five private cars here is now electric and when it comes to new car sales, two out of three new private purchases have been electric so far this year. Oslo Port is taking a lead in developing emission free solutions, aiming to reduce its emissions by 85% by 2030 and become emission free by 2050.
Foodies looking to be as green as their environmental values are certainly spoilt for choice in Oslo. Urban farming is active in Oslo, the newest one is the urban farm of Losæter, with its therapeutic ‘sensory garden’, chickens and beehives. The number of restaurants in Norway are rising, and offer almost every kind of national food culture – from Japanese and Vietnamese to Mexican and Somali. Norwegian cuisine has also regained its status. The new Norwegian cuisine is often described as ‘Neo-Nordic’ or even ‘Neo-fjordic’ due to the focus on taking a fresh approach to local ingredients – especially seafood delicacies. The Michelin star restaurant Maaemo is highly respected and has had strong influences on Norwegian food culture into the direction of local food, organic, biodynamic, and wild produce. In 2012 it was awarded two stars in the Michelin Guide, the first time a Nordic restaurant has been awarded two stars in its first mention in the guide, and in 2016 it was awarded three stars, at the same time as the Danish restaurant Geranium, the first Nordic restaurants given three stars.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Current challenges (2020)
With industrialized agriculture, the world’s food production has changed from being biodiverse to focusing more on monoculture - a few selected crops.
Even though an optimized and monocultural production may yield good return on investment today, it is a short sighted strategy that our ecosystems already have started to pay the price for. Loss of biodiversity is one of the biggest environmental challenges we face today, and the current food system is making it worse. A biodiverse food production is more resilient to rapid and unexpected changes, including climate change. Yet, only 9 plant species account for 2/3rd of the total crop production.
Small scale food producers who support biodiversity are going out of business every day. Because today’s system is rigged for buying and selling few products in large volumes, bigger and specialized production is taking over. You do not need to be a farmer, or in any way be schooled in this topic to see the evidence, just look at the shelves in your local grocery store. All vegetables are within the weight and size measure of what is expected for each category. For meat and dairy, only products the consumer is familiar with and demands are found on the shelves. The season is global.
The food supply chain is still dominated by few gatekeepers with highly centralised market power preventing independent food producers and buyers to trade directly and thereby be in control of what is produced and how prices are set.
Norway predominantly has a small-scale farm structure. For centuries, most smallholdings have survived by combining income from farming, forestry and off-farm activities. Along the coast, agriculture and fishing was a common combination. Despite this the shelfs here in Oslo are also global. Farms are being shut down every day, meaning loss of diverse food production and cultural heritage.
Future challenges (2050)
Challenges seen in 2020 will continue in 2050, but happening at a faster and more visible pace in areas without solutions. Loss of biodiversity will take different forms in different places depending due to change in weather conditions. Species will be moving from one place to another (already happening with the fish), and growing conditions will change. This will especially affect producers focusing on monoculture, as they have few crops to rely on.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Food supply chains are dominated by uniformity, non-transparency, high volumes, and low prices. The world needs a new transparent supply chain, where prices reflect the real cost of production, and farmers get paid for their efforts around biodiversity, animal welfare, soil conservation, and food security. Existing wholesalers - built on economies of scale and vertical integration - do not have the infrastructure to work with producers who have a diverse product-portfolio. Therefore, producers sell most of their produce via inefficient shadow markets. An ever increasing number of consumers want to source more sustainable and direct, but lack a professional and transparent sourcing tool.
Recent technology development has transformed most sectors, resulting in disruptive product- and service innovations, and new business models. This transformation has not been reflected in the food sector yet. Technology and new business models can be utilised to give the power back to those who make the food and those who buy the food. We want any food producer, big or small, to be able to compete on equal terms as wholesalers, and we want consumers to have the opportunity to buy directly from a wide variation of produce, and from the producers they trust and value.
Established wholesalers have built their monopolies around two USPs:
1. Matching supply with demand
2. Transportation of the sold goods
Technology can solve both challenges in a leaner way:
Infrastructure for a decentralised & data-driven supply chain can cater to individual producers at competitive prices, and the right product can be matched with the right buyer at the right price. Technology-induced transaction cost savings are redistributed in order to make new ways of producing, selling, procuring, and transporting food economically viable. The supply chain is built on the economic concept long tail, meaning that small quantities of many unique products can be just as economically viable as large quantities of the same product. Take Airbnb as an example; by designing infrastructure that made travelers belong anywhere, and hosts feel safe that their houses were in good hands, it is now possible to check in to this unexploited supply of housing. For the Dagens vision, it means giving consumers unexploited supply of biodiverse products.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
Easy access to unique products
Consumers have easy and reliable access to previously unobtainable products (long tail of food), direct communication with producers and full traceability around produce and production methods.
Control of production and prices
Producers gain market access and become professional sellers. They set their own prices, have access to transportation at viable prices and data driven pricing tool for transparent and fair pricing.
New infrastructure opens up for new actors on the market
Smaller food producers can now compete with the whales through infrastructure moving aggregated parcels instead of single pallets at competitive price. This decentralized infrastructure has opened up the market for more actors with many small transactions. Young people are taking over farms and planting seeds that have not been on the market for 1000 years - finally it is attractive and economically sustainable to be a small biodiverse farmer.
All resources are utilised
There is a market for every product and thereby all natural resources are being used - from the ugly carrot to grandma's honey on the garden rooftop. Dagens matching algorithm always finds buyer/seller, and the most resource effective ways to transport the goods.
New value system for food
There has been a paradigm shift, supply and seasonality are market drivers and there is a new value system for food. Prices are not only set by quantitative parameters, but also qualitative parameters such as soil healthiness, transport distance etc. Competitiveness within the food sector has been redefined - it is the era of small, independent and biodiverse producers.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Digital infrastructure for a transparent and resilient food system
Fair market for all food producers and biodiverse foodaffordable to everyone. Producers gain the power back and buyers trade with more than commodities, paying for the maintenance of ecosystems and biodiversity, local identity, animal welfare, rural job creation and food security.
The transport alternatives allowed to plug into Dagens’ infrastructure are electric cars only. They are not allowed to enter the city anymore, so produce coming from outside the city is delivered to city-hubs, where it is cross-docked and delivered further with bikes. More and more urban producers are being established, securing big parts of the consumption. Full capacity utilisation is ensured through data driven matching of the right produce to the right consumer at the right time. There is never need to drive the extra mile, the produce might be on your neighbours rooftop farm. There is never a wasted food resource and there is never a wasted mile.
All diets are based on natural resources available throughout the seasons. During the winter people will eat what has been preserved from summer and fall season, fermented fruits and vegetables. As Dagens’ decentralized infrastructure has opened up the market for more actors, it is possible to get access to new types of nutrients, proteins from seaweed, insects etc.
Technology-induced transaction cost savings are redistributed in order to make new ways of producing, selling, procuring, and transporting food economically viable.
Food producers are not disconnected anymore and food production has become a shared responsibility. Consumers are co-planning as they now have insight into the production, just as if they were sitting on the tractor together with the producers. Through planning tools that let producers and consumers collaborate from seed to fork, producers’ production risk is now reduced. This has especially given value for producers with highly seasonal products, that previously took a huge risk when they started their production every year, not knowing if their crops will be sold.
Actors along the food supply chain are connected to Dagens digital infrastructure that coordinates and curates flow of information and goods. New actors in new markets can easily be plugged into the infrastructure, thereby securing that the supply chain develops with changing needs, and updated technologies. This can for example be new types of cooling facilities, fermenting facilities, packing hubs etc.
Due to climate change regulations are becoming stricter on import (huge taxes) and transport of goods. Dagens’ infrastructure ensures that citizens in Oslo have access to biodiverse produce from producers outside and inside the city at viable prices.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?
From a friend