Research project promises 30% food waste reduction

The Institute of Food Research (IFR) is a new key partner in an EU funded multinational research project that will help reduce food waste by 30% by 2025.

Resource efficient food and drink for the entire supply chain (REFRESH) is an EU horizon 2020 project which runs from 2015 to 2019, involving partners across the EU, as well as China.

Professor Keith Waldon, director of the IFR Biorefinery Centre, will be leading work aimed at identifying key waste streams across the EU, and finding ways of adding value to them by turning them into other products. The work will evaluate technological feasibility, economic viability, legislative compliance and environmental sustainability through four European pilot countries as well as in China.

Paul Finglas, head of the food databanks national capability, will be developing a pan-European database to evaluate the composition of food waste components for nutrients, bioactives, allergens, enzymes and microbiologiclal safety, in collaboration with Professor Jozsef Baranyi.

The work also involves innovative approaches to getting value from food waste by deriving fuels and chemicals from putrescible food waste, producing new fibre-rich food ingredients from food processing co-products, and creating new animal feed products.

“With 100 million tonnes of food waste each year, its imperative that we take an EU wide, comprehensive approach to reducing avoidable waste, and finding better use for what can’t be avoided.

“One of the key societal challenges in horizon 2020 is sustainable food consumption with reduced waste, which this new project addresses,” explains Finglas.

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