Challenge 2: Sustainable Agritech

The winning solution will receive a proof of concept with the relevant M&S business area with the potential for full implementation and scalability.

person name

target markets

Farmers and Food & Beverage Producers across the United Kingdom.


M&S is seeking data-driven solutions to optimise the end-to-end process of its agricultural supply chain.


As a business that has been around for 137 years, we know how important it is to look to the future. M&S has been built on a belief that caring about our impact on tomorrow’s world as well as today’s is not just good citizenship, it’s good business. We launched our sustainability programme, Plan A, in 2007 and became the first major retailer to reach carbon neutral status in 2012. The Plan A programme has a singular focus on becoming a net zero Scope 3 business across its entire supply chain and products by 2040. To achieve this, we need to optimise our end-to-end processes with the particular focus of this brief on the agricultural supply chain. M&S Food sells sustainably sourced products of exceptional quality and value. Over the past two years, we’ve been reshaping our Food business to broaden its appeal. Our strategy has been to protect the magic of M&S – fantastic quality, high levels of innovation and close relationships with our suppliers – while modernising our supply chains and the way we sell to our customers. We are now focused on identifying solutions that can ensure end-to-end process efficiency and promote sustainability across the full agricultural supply chain.

The Opportunity

As a business we are looking for your help to step change our approach to sustainable farming, allowing us to manufacture fantastic products with minimal impact on the environment and protection of our valuable resources. We have shared some thinking below on some great examples of what we are looking for but please don’t feel limited by these topics as the full agricultural supply chain is in scope.

• Innovation to reduce the carbon footprint of farming systems

• Innovations that improve animal welfare or technologies that do real time welfare assessments (Quality Behavioural Assessment) so that we can measure and improve animal welfare across our select farms.

• Innovation that improves biodiversity and wildlife on farms

• To develop and use science and precision testing to understand and quantify the key product and environmental measures that allow for successful product storage.

• To gain greater understand in the specific physiology of key produce that drives shelf life, which will allow us to use and develop methods to extend shelf life.

• To develop next generation ripening that can sense and consistently measure key parameters (e.g. maturity) and then be able to alter ripening to achieve high quality consistent ripe and ready to eat produce.

• To explore and challenge the opportunities beyond leaf and herbs for vertical farming, especially on crops that are currently imported but could potentially be grown in the UK.

• To investigate the opportunities for resistance management in produce. Utilising both varietal development and fungal control technologies. Developing both sensors and targeted treatment of product and also next generation past harvest t

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