Brainfood for thought – Fazer explores the connection between nutrition and cognitive performance at all stages of life


Brainfood for thought – Fazer explores the connection between nutrition and cognitive performance at all stages of life

The performance of our brain is important throughout the whole life span – all the way from child to senior. School children and students need brainpower to learn, working-age people to focus and create, and older people to enjoy vital senior years. Food and nutrition together with sleep as well as physical and mental exercise are the central factors of cognitive performance and brain health.

With its role in people’s everyday life, Fazer has a big responsibility and opportunity to continuously explore and improve healthy eating habits. Fazer Food Services alone has more than 1,200 restaurants that serve hundreds of thousands of guests every day. Based on this understanding, we at Fazer see a clear demand for supporting brainpower. This was also the starting point for our major research and business development programme called Brainfood.

In the Brainfood programme, we study the connection between food and cognitive performance and aim to create innovative solutions to maintain and improve brainpower and well-being at different stages of life. To reach the goals of the programme, insights and knowledge from various different parties are needed. Accordingly, we aim to create an ecosystem that renews the food industry and creates innovations via openly co-operating with universities, partner companies and start-ups. In this collaborative ecosystem, Brainfood will be one important area of interest.

To form such an ecosystem, we are actively seeking new partnerships and experimenting with new ways of working and finding new ideas. As an example, we at Fazer have been collaborating with Vertical health accelerator since autumn 2016 and the current 4-month programme is already delivering exciting results. We also look forward to meeting more innovative start-ups in Vertical’s spring 2017 programme and exploring opportunities for further collaboration. Slush also offers us an opportunity to find new angles to building a holistic ecosystem to support cognitive performance. We will be present in Slush Engine Room on the 30th of November in the afternoon. In addition to these initiatives, we invited international teams of scientists, developers and designers to a hackathon event called Fazer Brainfood Hack, which was held 28-30 October.

Hacking Brainfood to Explore New Ideas

We challenged 10 teams to come up with solutions to four identified challenge areas of interest: digitalising the plate model, disrupting workplace catering, developing the tracking of cognitive performance and improving cognitive performance of different age groups. The winning solution of the Fazer Brainfood Hack used technological tools to support people in choosing meals that improve cognitive performance.

The winning team Irtokarkit used technology and service design to nudge people in the right direction in several moments of the restaurant experience. The jury commended them especially for creating an innovative and tangible solution that can change people’s eating habits. Two runners-up were also awarded. Team Ilmaisa used the means of design and created a physical plate model “Simplate” to guide people towards choices that benefit them in their daily activities. Team Alfresco created a semantic analytics tool with many future uses for consumer insights.

Co-Developing Solutions to Improve Brainpower

The application period for the Vertical spring programme is open from the 28th of November to the 15th of January. The aim of the programme is to grow business ideas supporting well-being and healthy lifestyles together with us and other partners. By participating, you can be part of solving socially significant issues and truly make a difference – so don’t hesitate to apply!

We are also present at Slush, so if you want to learn more about Brainfood, meet us at Engine Room on the 30th of November between 15:15 and 16:15 and let’s have a chat! Otherwise, you can also contact us at

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