We are hacking the cocoa value chain. Are you in?

Join us during the 24 hour cocoa MAKEathon and together with others disrupt the journey from cocoa to chocolate. Within 24 hours, you will get necessary inputs from experts and engage in discussion to develop creative solutions to the most pressing challenges that the chocolate industry is facing today. Together with students, entrepreneurs and chocolate professionals you can contribute to more sustainable chocolate. Be amazed as to how much we can achieve together in only one day!


The 24 hour cocoa MAKEathon takes place at Student Project House on ETH Hönggerberg campus. You can easily reach it with the Bus 37, 69 or 80.

The Student Project House is the perfect location since it has a well-equipped Makerspace including 3D printers, laser and CNC cutters for you to prototype your solutions.

Address: ETH Hönggerberg, HPZ F-Floor, John-von-Neumann-Weg 9, 8093 Zürich.

The Challenges

These exciting challenges are waiting for you and your creative solutions.


Most of the time cocoa production is the only source of income for the cocoa farmers. As they do not have alternative sources of income and the ratio they get from the entire cocoa value chain is rather a small amount, farmers live in poverty.

Providing cocoa farmers alternative sources of income that make use of resources already available to them (such as the entire cocoa pod including shell or the cocoa fruit) would financially empower them, reduce their dependence and consequently improve their living conditions.

Solutions can (but don’t have to) focus on:

  • Generating additional sources of income
  • Usage of side streams (the entire cocoa pod)
  • Rethinking what other resources farmers already have available
  • Empowering and educating farmers


Due to the lack of information throughout the stages of cocoa supply and trade (from farmer to middlemen to manufacturers), the cocoa arriving in the chocolate factories cannot be traced back to its origin farm.

The ability to trace the cocoa back to its origin farm would allow not only a more transparent cocoa value chain but also ensure the maintenance of high-quality chocolate production. In addition providing full transparency to the consumers may be crucial in a period where people demand more and more information about what they eat.

Solutions can (but don’t have to) focus on:

  • Generating solutions to trace cocoa from the farm to the factory or even to the bar.
  • Make use of new technologies such as blockchain.


Sugar is an important ingredient of confectionary products. However, sugar is also associated with a vast variety of health issues such as obesity and diabetes.

Therefore novel processing methods of sugar and/or cocoa or novel ingredients are required to reduce or eliminate the sugar content whilst preserving its great taste, texture and quality.

Solutions can (but don’t have to) focus on:

  • Novel processing methods to reduce sugar in chocolate.
  • Finding new ingredients which can replace sugar in chocolate.

Sign up

Would you like to join us on this journey? Sign up here!


Friday October 11th

16.00 Registration and Check-In
16.30 Welcome and Introduction
17.00 Makeathon Start!
19.00 Dinner
20.00 Various Workshops
23.00 Midnight Yoga
0.00 Midnight Snack


Saturday October 12th

8.00 Breakfast
12.00 Lunch
17.00 End of the MAKEathon!
18.00 Pitches
18.30 Award Ceremony
19.00 Apéro

This program may be adapted slightly over the course of the next few weeks.

No, definitely not. The purpose of a hackathon is to create something completely new within 24 hours.

Yes don't worry, you can either sign up as an individual or in a group. If you sign up as an individual, we will make sure you will find team mates to work together. If you are signing up as a team, you are more than welcome to join all together, just please make sure that every team member signs up individually to ensure everyone's participation during the MAKEathon.

The tickets will be given away on a first come, first serve basis, so hurry up and sign up today!

No, of course you don't have to. However, we do encourage you to get a once-in-a-lifetime hackathon experience and stay during 24 hours.

No, there is no cost for you. EIT Food provides funding for the organisation of the MAKEathon.

We will make sure that you don’t run out of energy during intense hacking! Besides dinner and midnight snack on Friday and breakfast, lunch and apéro on Saturday, there will always be coffee and snacks provided in the refreshments corner. If you have any special dietary needs, let us know in the application form.

No, we do not cover costs of travel to Zurich or accommodation. However, of course you are welcome to stay in the workshop room during 24 hours and work on your solutions.

Sign-up is binding. But if you can't make it after all, please let us know using the following link as soon as possible so we can give your seat to someone else.


If you have any questions, please contact us on

Partners & Supporters

The 24 hour cocoa MAKEathon is part of a series of MAKEathons delivered across Europe by the MAKE-it project under the consortium of EIT Food.


The MAKEathon at ETH is jointly organized by the Laboratory of Food Process Engineering and Student Project House.