The current environmental impacts of our food production are unsustainable, with approximately one third of all lost or wasted. We are developing integrated solutions to transform the traditional linear ‘produce-use-dispose’ model into a circular Bioeconomy.
A circular Bioeconomy involves re-incorporating production side-streams and residues as secondary raw materials i.e. finding another use for waste products. To do this, we are bringing stakeholders together from across the food value chain in close collaboration with consumers, policy makers and authorities. This will enable us to increase sustainability by developing alternative sourcing opportunities and by minimising agricultural, transport and consumer-driven losses as well as energy consumption.
To achieve this our innovation activities are focussed on the following key areas:
Tackling hotspots in the environmental footprint
Using next-generation technologies to target reductions in food waste, energy and water consumption across the supply chain. Including the development of new food manufacturing processes with quality standards and guidelines for zero-waste, diversifying the use of raw materials, reducing microbial/chemical contamination risks, as well as engaging consumers to enhance recycling and reduce food miles.
Increasing market penetrations of ingredients from sustainable, alternative sources
Facilitating industrial adoption of underutilised resources, alternative ingredients and sources of energy. We are addressing regulatory issues to support and enable science-based food innovations using new and sustainable ingredients, as well as enhancing sustainability of existing major nutrient and energy sources using biofortification, precision agriculture and sustainable intensification. This includes making primary production more efficient through new crop breeding, sustainable intensification, and use of big data for precision farming and aquaculture, while exploiting alternative genetic resources and protecting biodiversity.
Driving circular excellence
Exploring the integration of new efficient technologies for extraction, fractionation, conversion and purification of heterogeneous waste and side-streams into functioning value chains. This includes side-stream analysis in selected food value chains, as well as developing complementary partnerships and technological solutions for disassembly, reassembly, recycling and logistic strategies to mobilise new scalable value chains from supply of side-streams to commercially successful products.