MSM battles in SDG-Challenge finals: stimulating healthy food choices


Friday, 19 March 2021, the MSM Master in Management (MM) SDG team battled in the grand final of the yearly Soapbox University SDG-Challenge. The mission of the SDG-Challenge is to inspire and mobilize students in Universities, throughout the Netherlands, and companies to work together on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.The MSM SDG students teamed up with Albron and worked on a solution to stimulate Albron’s customers to make more sustainable food choices.

About Albron
Albron is a catering company with more than 4.000 employees, operating at almost 1.000 different on-site catering locations in the Netherlands. Every day, Albron creates valuable moments from a positive perspective for all involved. Albron cares about the planet and society. They serve their customers with delicious, healthy and sustainable food, while also providing work to people that are structurally unemployed for various reasons. To ensure that they keep on making progress on these topics, they want to stimulate customers to make more sustainable, plant-based food choices. That is the main reason for Albron to participate in the SDG Challenge.

MSM’s solution to stimulate making sustainable food choices
During the ‘sprint day’ – a special day organized to prepare the students teams for the finals – the MSM SDG team proposed several innovative ideas of which Albron choose the best one. Ritu Sen, part of the MSM SDG teams explains: “Albron choose the one which was a combination of social media, marketing and engaging the customers. The idea was to connect the customers emotionally with the brand by triggering their social desirability and awareness roles, to develop a habit of sustainable eating. It started with an idea to provide the experience and eventually moved to the overall journey which would later become a green food movement from this green food journey. Social media campaigns will function as an interaction medium between the brand and its customers. Competitions related to culinary photo/video/customer of the week recognitions in the most sustainable food categories - based on the different online-competitions and other interactive campaigns – will be organized.”

Femke de Boer, employee Sustainability & Health at Albron, thinks the green food experience solution of the team is very well thought through and has many interesting aspects: “We are mainly a B2B company, so a social media campaign targeted on our customers is something that we have not done yet, in that regard it is very original. We love the idea of a positive movement and community that helps customers see that plant-based food is actually very attractive and tasty."

The grand final

During the finals on 19 March, sixteen Dutch SDG student teams pitched their innovative solutions in front of a professional jury. People from home were able to join the finals via live stream. For Ritu the SDG challenge was one of the best experiences from all the MSM experiences so far: “Right from being selected for the MSM SDG challenge till the finale on 19th March, it has been an incredible journey. All our team members have different cultural and professional backgrounds with different strengths. We learnt from each other about different working styles in an efficient way. The 5-minute presentation where Nihal and I presented in front of the camera was another top-notch practical experience, including the days we interacted with different global Dutch companies.”

Although the journey was full of excitement the MSM SDG team also faced some challenges. Ritu explains: “Each step throughout the journey had to be formulated practically and needed to be aligned with Albron’s goal and situation. This asks time and dedication. Furthermore, working in a team, means working with several different opinions which is great, but if you need to finalize something it can be difficult.  Last, managing the challenge along with regular classes and thesis was altogether a different challenge in itself.”

An experience to never forget
Being part of the SDG grand final already makes you a winner, but of course only one team can be the absolute number one. At the end the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen together with Vitens – the largest drinking water company in the Netherlands – were declared as the winning team. Although the MSM SDG team did not win, they did not regret their participation a single moment: “The most valuable lesson for me during the whole SDG challenge was that to enjoy the journey (ongoing process) is more important than the destination (Finale) itself. The experience of working together with the team to develop the ideas and bringing it toa   real possibility that has the potential to have an impact for global good was a proud moment” according to Ritu.

Femke de Boer could not agree more with the words of Ritu: “The team was very enthusiastic and creative. It was great to work with a young team with so many different backgrounds and ideas."

On the question if Albron will implement the solutions and how Femke answered: “Together with our marketing team we will discuss how we can implement this green food experience. Currently, we are developing our guest-app so hopefully we can integrate their fun ideas into this app.”

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