February 09th 2022

Creative concepts for increasing the use of organic food in gastronomy

Entrepreneurship & Tourism Master's students present innovative concepts in front of a high-ranking commission, including LHStv. Felipe and Mag. Gritsch from BIO AUSTRIA Tirol

Last winter semester, a course on increasing organically produced food in gastronomy was held under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Christoph Engl in cooperation with Mr. Lienhart from BIO AUSTRIA Tirol. The Master's students worked out options together with BIO AUSTRIA Tirol on how to increase and strengthen the small percentage of organic food in gastronomy. In comparison, more than 10% of food in the food retail sector comes from organic cultivation. The best four teams were then allowed to present their concepts in front of a high-ranking expert commission consisting of LHStv Felipe, Mr Kaltschmid (both members of the tyrolean parliament), Mr Gritsch and Mr Lienhart from BIO AUSTRIA Tirol, Prof. Siller (Head of MCI Tourism) and his team.

With their solution-oriented ideas, the Master's students showed all the urgent need for action and the importance of this topic for the province of Tyrol.

Taking into account criteria such as innovative ideas, feasibility and quality of elaboration, all concepts were evaluated in a preliminary procedure. Of the ten student groups, the best four were selected to present their ideas to the commission. The great diversity and thematic range of the four winning projects was astonishing. While the first group presented a step-by-step expansion of the organic offer in gastronomy with the offer of organic bread, the second group focused on wholesale. Their innovative approach started early in the value chain with an organic assortment. The last two groups pursued further different approaches: on the one hand by creating a position in the sense of a lighthouse, which in connection with the sustainability goal drives the activities centrally for Tyrol. On the other hand, the opposite approach, which aims to strengthen the topic in a decentralised way through cooperation with the individual destinations.

The great commitment of the students made the importance of this topic clear once again. Organic products, regionality and a fair strengthening of local farmers and food producers will have an enormous impact on Tyrol's tourism sector in the future. "It is essential that we pay more attention to the local gastronomy in the area of organic food and regionality. Our students showed with their innovative ideas that big changes are possible with little effort. As a tourism location, we want to create awareness and develop preventive solutions for future challenges," says MCI Prof. Dr. Christoph Engl. All in all, the project was a complete success and was awarded enthusiastically by the provincial government and BIO AUSTRIA Tirol.