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Collaborating toward solutions that are better for people, the planet, and business

Some food system challenges are too large for any one organization to solve alone.

The Circular Economy of Food CoLab is a membership-based coalition that enables like-minded changemakers to tackle these challenges together.

Through the CoLab, stakeholders pool risk and resources to explore new paths and prototype new solutions at speed. Our members and network include farmers, food companies, startups, NGOs, and experts in the circular economy and regeneration.

We believe

  1. Redesigning our food systems is a responsibility and an opportunity: the future of food can be equitable, regenerative, and nourishing for people and the planet.
  2. Collaboration is critical to building new solutions to our most urgent challenges, and designing the future of food is a matter of utmost urgency for the world.
  3. The diverse experiences and creativity of people is central to the future of our food systems. To accelerate systems change for the better, design must include, respect, and be grounded in the lives and needs of people.

Member Companies

    Designing the future together

    Since 2018, our network of members and partners has built 23 prototypes that promote a circular food system: where waste becomes a resource, natural systems and farming communities are uplifted, and all materials realize their highest value.

    Our focus areas include

    Scaling circular and regenerative food design

    How might we enable food designers to apply circular and regenerative design principles in their day-to-day?

    How might we shift towards plant-forward menus?

    How might we leverage food-as-medicine initiatives to accelerate a regenerative food system?

    Designing out waste

    How might we create viable infrastructure and business models to ensure food grown for people doesn’t go to waste?

    How might we design an e-commerce packaging solution that eliminates the need for dual and single-use packaging?

    How might we design reverse logistics infrastructure that is fast, cheap, and hygienic to advance adoption of reusable packaging and containers?

    Shifting eater behaviors

    How might we make biodiversity more accessible to a wider audience of eaters?

    How might we redesign kitchens to support behaviors that are healthier for people and the planet?

    How might we connect people to their values by offering information that’s understandable and useful?

    Leveraging data

    How might we leverage data to reduce food waste in homes?

    How might we incentivize data sharing between farms and buyers to offer competitive advantage in the marketplace while reducing farm-level food loss?

    How might we take a data-driven approach to designing reverse logistics infrastructure that is cost-effective and reduces emissions?

    CoLab enables us to develop our approach to systemic innovation by working closely with companies throughout the food chain towards circular solutions.


    CoLab has enabled organizations in our network to accelerate their efforts toward a circular economy. Working across disciplines, throughout the value chain, and even with competitors not only leads to new solutions for a circular economy, but also helps build the new mindset required to scale up circular design innovation.


    Join us

    Interested in joining the CoLab? Contact Rebecca Chesney at rchesney@ideo.com.

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