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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

Water Scarcity in South

Water Scarcity in South

EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Digital, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing, Athena Research Centre and BioAzul joint forces to face the real challenges around water scarcity.

DACWEED: Detection and ACtuation system for WEED management

DACWEED: Detection and ACtuation system for WEED management

Enabling more effective and efficient weed control

ThermoBlue

ThermoBlue

Developing a natural blue food colouring

MIDSA - MIcroencapsulated Diets for Sustainable Aquaculture

MIDSA - MIcroencapsulated Diets for Sustainable Aquaculture

Developing a sustainable, economically viable feed for bivalve shellfish

EcoFoodMap Leuven: mapping the food system in and around Leuven

EcoFoodMap Leuven: mapping the food system in and around Leuven

The Eco food map of Leuven is a user-friendly digital food system mapping tool that will allow a thorough understanding of the complexity of the food system in and around Leuven.

Hapje Tapje: Kitchen of the Future

Hapje Tapje: Kitchen of the Future

Hapje Tapje is a consumer event and a culinary feast in the city of Leuven. Every year, EIT Food presents innovative ideas, drinks and foods to the general public.

Get Wasted: Circular food platform that fights food waste

Get Wasted: Circular food platform that fights food waste

EIT Food West and Growzer launch a circular ecosystem against food waste in the catering and food industry. From a circular perspective, the waste of one player is the raw material for another.

CleanFruit - Standardisation of innovative pest control strategies to produce zero residue fruit for baby food and other fruit produce

CleanFruit - Standardisation of innovative pest control strategies to produce zero residue fruit for baby food and other fruit produce

Fruit crop protection is heavily dependent on chemical pesticides but consumers and fruit processors are increasingly interested in residue-free fruit.

HarnessINg Seaweed to Produce Iodine-forRtifiEd organic milk (INSPIRE organic milk)

HarnessINg Seaweed to Produce Iodine-forRtifiEd organic milk (INSPIRE organic milk)

Iodine (I) deficiency is the greatest single cause of preventable brain damage, resulting in impaired intellectual ability and reduced school/work performance globally.

Energy-to-Feed (E2F)

Energy-to-Feed (E2F)

E2F will develop a sustainable source of protein & lipid from omega-3 rich microalgae cultivated using clean power sources (Geothermal/Hydro) & natural CO₂.

Consumer and Manufacturing Driven Alternative Packaging Solutions from Agrifood Waste Streams

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 led to strong consumer demand for producers & retailers to remove single use & reduce hard-to-dispose plastic.

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

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 the consumer demand for healthier, more natural and bettertasting products.

Fermented seaweed based novel feed additives - SEAFEED

Fermented seaweed based novel feed additives - SEAFEED

Seaweed biomass is a promising, abundant but underutilized resource for industrial bioconversions.

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

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 the environment (CO2, particulate matter,….).

Dairy products with reduced saturated fatty acids

Dairy products with reduced saturated fatty acids

Saturated fat intake in most EU states still exceed the guidelines for reducing cardiovascular disease risk.

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

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

SeaCH4NGE aims to reduce methane (CH4) emission from cattle and increase product quality.

Constituent sensing of small grains

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.

EIT Food Digital Marketplace for Side Streams

EIT Food Digital Marketplace for Side Streams

A substantial part of the food industries' produce ends up to now as waste.

FUNGITIME

FUNGITIME

Application of fungi protein in the development of sustainable and healthy food products.

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

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 specific ice structuring proteins (ISP). So far, the only food-grade available ISP are based on animal or GMO sources.

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

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.

Our Nutritious Protein

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 -derived proteins, further increases the demand for new plant -proteins.

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

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 wide range of issues which include sustainability, ethics, food safety and nutrition.

VALOCAKE, Valorization of rapeseed press cake as multi-functional food ingredients and tasty food

VALOCAKE, Valorization of rapeseed press cake as multi-functional food ingredients and tasty food

It is a global challenge to ensure sufficient food to feed future generations while utilizing natural resources in a sustainable manner.

Metamorphosis – enhanced insect protein for aquaculture

Metamorphosis – enhanced insect protein for aquaculture

Metamorphosis focuses on turning organic waste streams into a valuable, next generation aquaculture feed ingredient.

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.