Finicky eating habits and wasteful processes have led to a system that discards millions of tonnes of food each year, but new approaches are salvaging the scraps we never see to make products that people will want to eat. The EU Research & Innovation Magazine HORIZON published an article on how innovations from REFRESH and other projects offer different possibilities to valorise by-products from food production.
From the increasingly-popular OERei™ to Friendly Fish™ sustainable fish food and Bloosom™ soil improver, Protix are processing insects – cultivated on fruit and vegetable residues – into a wide variety of products. "And there are many more applications in the pipeline," says Tarique Arsiwalla, founder of one of the first 'insect factories' in the world and a member of the Taskforce Circular Economy in Food (TCEF). The Taskforce is one of four national platforms launched within the REFRESH project.
From a magic box which allows consumers to buy surplus food from shops and restaurants, to an exclusive liqueur made from recovered apples, Dutch start-up entrepreneurs are driven and creative in the fight against food waste. Four of them tell their stories.
Crooked cucumbers, two-legged carrots, pears too big - or too small. In the Netherlands, more than 10% of all fruit and vegetables grown will not be sold, because they don’t fit the accepted norms. Kromkommer wants to change this perception of ‘beauty’. "We’re giving fruit and vegetables back their rights.", says founder Chantal Engelen.
A broad, cross-sector approach to halving food waste and optimizing the value of (unavoidable) residual flows is the keystone of the European program, REFRESH. "We gather knowledge and insights and make them available to other countries," says Toine Timmermans, spokesperson for the Dutch Taskforce Circular Economy in Food (TCEF), one of four national platforms launched within the REFRESH project.
Do not waste anything. That is the mission of the Helmond company, VanrijsingenGreen. "We sow, harvest and sell vegetables sustainably. And we create added value from what is left over, processing it into products such as carrot pulp and kale juice ", says Jan van Rijsingen, former director of the family business and now board member of the Taskforce Circular Economy in Food (TCEF). TCEF is one of four national platforms launched within the REFRESH project.
Entrepreneur Bob Hutten is convinced that the key to reducing food waste is cooperation. In the hothouse atmosphere of his THREE-SIXTY Innovation Center in Veghel, he brings together parties, inside and outside the food chain, to brainstorm new solutions. "We have to start thinking in terms of systems", says Hutten, member of the Taskforce Circular Economy in Food (TCEF). The TCEF is one of four national platforms launched within the REFRESH project.
How do we together reduce food waste and what are the challenges and needs of the different players? This was the question that engaged the almost 80 participants under the "Challenge Workshop on Food Waste " held at the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) Agrifood and Bioscience, Gothenburg, Sweden on September 27. The workshop resulted in the identification of 48 concrete activities.
From fruit liqueurs and carrot juice to fish food made with insects, Dutch entrepreneurs are launching one innovation after another in their fight against food waste. This was evident during the Taskforce Circular Economy in Food (TCEF) event, held, on 1 October 2018, for Taskforce partners and members of the European Food Losses & Food Waste platform. The Taskforce is one of four national platforms launched within the REFRESH project.
The REFRESH Spanish Platform has been cooperating with members on food waste reducing actions since 2016. Since then, pilot projects looking at whole supply chains, consumer acceptance studies, and food waste in hospitality have been carried out, alongside baselining and multiple meetings to share good practice and collaborate on open questions.
The REFRESH Community of Experts (CoE) is a knowledge-sharing platform which seeks to promote best practice, foster discussions and improve stakeholder engagement. The website compiles initiatives in food waste prevention and reduction, which are categorised and tagged for easy user accessibility. At the same time, the website facilitates dialogue and collaboration between stakeholders.
Tesco has been making efforts to reduce food waste in its stores and warehouses. A new report finds that in order to take further effective steps it is necessary to scan and measure where and how much excess food and waste is generated during its operation. The food saving activities of TESCO are closely connected to the REFRESH pilot project “Broadening the bridge”.
In September 2018, professionals from business, science, non-governmental and international organizations gathered in Beijing for the Food Waste Reduction-Action in China forum to advocate green consumption awareness and reduction in food waste.
The Food Waste Reduction China Action Platform is a partnership initiated by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, CCFA and CHEARI, guided by FAO, UNEP ‘Think, Eat, Save’, and supported by REFRESH, in the aim of supporting China to achieve SDG 12.3.
As part of the "Just Like Home" pilot project, participants prepared a guide that provides useful advice to event organizers who wish to organize the events with the least amount of food waste.
In February 2018, the Hungarian National Steering Committee met again. The meeting took place at the Ministry of Agriculture, and all members of the Steering Committee were present at the meeting. The Steering Committee reviewed the projects and the cooperation among the projects coordinated by the Committee.
REFRESH researcher Karen Luyckx featured on BBC1’s Countryfile, 30th Anniversary edition, arguing the case for lifting the ban on feeding surplus food to pigs, and how this can be done safely to avoid another outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.
Saturday 23 June 2018 Wageningen University celebrated its 100th anniversary with the World Wide Wageningen Alumni Reunion. His Majesty King Willem-Alexander officially opened the alumni day on Wageningen Campus. Representatives from the REFRESH pilot initiative “Verspilling is Verrukkelijk” took the opportunity to offer a gift to the Dutch King: a basket full of food surplus products.
Food and nutrition security (FNS) – having access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food – supports society and communities by ensuring good health, sustainable jobs and lifelong enjoyment. To ensure that future generations achieve FNS, certain global pressures, such as population growth, urbanisation, resource scarcity and climate change, must be addressed. For example, feeding an estimated global population of 9 billion by 2050 will require a near 60 % increase in food demand.