ICA Innovation

A global study in biodiversity & waste

ICA innovation team has the mission to future proof ICA’s private label assortment with sustainable and healthy innovations. As a major player, ICA has a great responsibility but also a great opportunity to influence. The Innovation team works constantly to have the latest insights about emerging needs & trends which helps them be proactive in forming the future. We helped gather global insights and form opportunity platforms for ICA to act on. 



The amount of food around the world has shrunk to just a handful of crops. This sea of sameness is a threat to biodiversity, of nearly every ecosystem. Regenerative practices increase biodiversity, enrich soils, improve watersheds, and enhance the health of livestock and wildlife. Retailers play a crucial role building awareness and exploration of regenerative production, to help nature thrive again.


Today, up to 30% of all the food produced in the world goes to waste. How might we reduce and/or take care of waste or side streams from food production or consumptions. To date, the majority of initiatives in this space have been adopted by start-ups and smaller players. However, the approach is starting to gain attention from larger manufacturers.


A wide and deep global monitoring of what is happening in the market to improve biodiversity and waste problems. Through hands-on research and creative workshops, we translated the insights into 5 innovation platforms, for ICA to act on.

Global trends

We performed a vast global trend search and analysed these insights into 9 global trends within biodiversity and waste. Each trend comes with consumer insights, design principles and inspirational cases.

Signal search

To get truly deep insights we used local design researchers in Japan, Colombia, India & US. They help us with signal gathering, local market immersion and on the ground support. A signal is local, unpredictable & has scalable impact. In total we gathered 343 signals which were narrowed down and turned into a handful ICA themes.

Expert interviews

We interviewed 4 experts, one circular economy enthusiast from Norway, one former vegetarian, nutritionist and co-founder of the ethical butcher, one Australian instagrammer living plastic-free in Japan since 2018 and one senior consultant at a sustainability consultancy specialising in biodiversity. These experts helped us enrich the themes and our hypothesises.

Innovation platforms

Through iterative work of innovation themes, expert enrichments and creative workshops, the final outcome was 5 innovation platforms for ICA to act on.

The outcome: 343 early signals, 9 global trends, 5 innovation platforms, 30 inspirational cases

Design team: KDV Design Studio in collaboration with Industry of Us