Circular Bioeconomy

Circular Bioeconomy

We are developing multidisciplinary approaches to encourage a circular Bioeconomy mindset, which reuses biproducts and waste, and increases the environmental sustainability of our food system. 

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. 

Current projects

Interplay between different wheat cultivars and novel biostimulants
Innovation

Interplay between different wheat cultivars and novel biostimulants

Improving European farmers' competitiveness through technology transfer and innovation integration is essential to address future challenges in the sector. Increasing wheat grain quality and yield and enabling sustainable intensification...

Consumer and Manufacturing Driven Alternative Packaging Solutions from Agrifood Waste Streams
Innovation

Consumer and Manufacturing Driven Alternative Packaging Solutions from Agrifood Waste Streams

We aim to design innovation led packaging for red meat, fish & poultry made from material derived from agrifood waste. The issue of waste plastic in the food industry has...

inPaper: Innovative paper-based packaging technology and pack styles for food products
Innovation

inPaper: Innovative paper-based packaging technology and pack styles for food products

Packaging needs to become more sustainable! China is restricting plastic waste imports. Some countries have raised taxes on plastic bags or a complete ban. Within the food and packaging industry,...

EIT Food Digital Marketplace for Side Streams
Innovation

EIT Food Digital Marketplace for Side Streams

A substantial part of the food industry's produce ends up as waste. The goal of this project is to enable companies worldwide to easily identify candidate side streams...

FROM WASTE TO FARM: insect larvae as tool for welfare improvement in poultry
Innovation

FROM WASTE TO FARM: insect larvae as tool for welfare improvement in poultry

The aim of this project is to test the effects of innovative ingredients (insect larvae) in poultry feeding to allow sustainable production, to improve animal welfare and to potentially meet...

METAMORPHOSIS – enhanced insect protein for aquaculture
Innovation

METAMORPHOSIS – enhanced insect protein for aquaculture

Metamorphosis will build on foundational work performed in Year 1 in regards to conversion of organic waste streams into valuable, next generation functional aquaculture feeds, utilising insect biomass conversion and...

Our Nutritious Protein
Innovation

Our Nutritious Protein

Consumer desire for protein-rich foods and beverages is driving growth and innovation in protein ingredients.The population growth together with the changes in the food consumption patterns away from animal...

MIDSA - MIcroencapsulated Diets for Sustainable Aquaculture
Innovation

MIDSA - MIcroencapsulated Diets for Sustainable Aquaculture

There is a global need to sustainably increase aquaculture production to meet the needs of a growing population. Bivalve shellfish aquaculture is highly attractive from a human nutrition, economic, environmental...

Fermented seaweed based novel feed additives - SEAFEED
Innovation

Fermented seaweed based novel feed additives - SEAFEED

Seaweed biomass is a promising, abundant but underutilized resource for industrial bioconversions. The aim of the project is to develop microbes and anaerobic microbial processes applying marine microalgae feedstock for...

GLAD - Green Last Mile Delivery: a more sustainable way for food home delivery tailored to consumer needs
Innovation

GLAD - Green Last Mile Delivery: a more sustainable way for food home delivery tailored to consumer needs

Consumers are looking for convenience. This is reflected in the growth of food e-delivery. However, the extra traffic causes problems in dense populated areas and has a high impact on...

Dairy products with reduced saturated fatty acids
Innovation

Dairy products with reduced saturated fatty acids

Saturated fat intake in most EU states still exceed the guidelines for reducing cardiovascular disease risk. Dairy foods are major sources of saturated fatty acids (SFA) in many EU diets...

Favuleux: Developing Fava bean as a sustainable source of high quality protein for food, through optimized genetics, farming & processing
Innovation

Favuleux: Developing Fava bean as a sustainable source of high quality protein for food, through optimized genetics, farming & processing

Demand is increasing for sustainably-grown protein sources for human nutrition. Fava bean is a grain legume which is welladapted to Northern Europe, and is relatively cheap to grow. Two million...

Seaweed supplementation to mitigate methane (CH4) emissions by cattle (SeaCH4NGE)
Innovation

Seaweed supplementation to mitigate methane (CH4) emissions by cattle (SeaCH4NGE)

SeaCH4NGE aims to reduce methane (CH4) emission from cattle and increase product quality. There is a gap in the market for products with lower environmental impact as consciousness among...

OLEOGELS – healthy and sustainable replacement for saturated fat and palm oil in spreads
Innovation

OLEOGELS – healthy and sustainable replacement for saturated fat and palm oil in spreads

Spreads are very popular. However, they consist of a high percentage of saturated fatty acids, often based on palm fat, sometimes also including trans-fat. Their base fat systems show a...

ISP - Isolation and Application of Plant-based Ice Structuring Proteins in Frozen Foods
Innovation

ISP - Isolation and Application of Plant-based Ice Structuring Proteins in Frozen Foods

Temperature fluctuations during storage of frozen foods result in big chunks of ice causing major quality defects of the product. A controlled deceleration of recrystallization processes can be achieved by...

Advanced technologies for beef & lamb composition, imaging & sorting
Innovation

Advanced technologies for beef & lamb composition, imaging & sorting

The project will expand, adapt & implement 3-D CT scanning technologies to digitise the beef & lamb food chain into a new Connected Food System. It will enable accurate...

The development of organic supply chains that drive fair, transparent and healthy options for the consumer
Innovation

The development of organic supply chains that drive fair, transparent and healthy options for the consumer

The organic food supply system in Europe must rank among one of the most important in terms of trust. Our citizens make purchasing choices around organic food based on a...

Constituent sensing of small grains
Innovation

Constituent sensing of small grains

Knowledge of the food constituents (e.g. protein, carbohydrates) is important for consumers as indicators of nutritional value as well as for the food producers concerning processing quality. Additionally, food...

Our other Innovation programmes

Inclusive and trusted food system

Inclusive and trusted food system

Discover how we are increasing trust in the food system by increasing the traceability and auditability of food quality, safety and authenticity, and catalysing an overall digitalisation of the food value chain.

Healthier nutrition

Healthier nutrition

Our innovation activities are helping to reduce the prevalence and diet-related risk of developing metabolic diseases through personalised nutrition services, including non-invasive tools, online information services and novel technologies, enabling people to make healthier decisions.

Connected and transparent system

Connected and transparent system

We are increasing the connectivity and transparency of the food system to improve the safety, real-time traceability, quality and sustainability of ingredients benefitting both the consumer and industry.