Improving resource efficiency through designing innovative solutions to reduce food waste
According to the Food & Agricultural Organisation (FAO), 1/3 of all the food produced worldwide each year is thrown away. The Food Heroes project wants to offer solutions geared towards the first links in the chain, which are responsible for 60% of the waste in the EU.
The objective of this project was, in the first instance, to reduce food waste in the first links in the food chain and promote efficient use of raw materials. The focus was on developing, testing and implementing new food solutions that lead to waste reduction and high-quality valorisation of by-products.
Via co-creation in a transnational, multi-sector setting, the partners and stakeholders went in search of innovative solutions for reducing food waste in 6 pilot regions in North-West Europe. There were 3 common objectives in these regions:
The final objective was, via 15 innovative solutions, to reach a higher valorisation of:
All throughout the whole of North-West Europe.
Food Heroes was an interregional research and development project (Interreg North-West Europe) in which agriculture and food companies worked in co-creation collaborations with designers, consumers, chain partners, marketers, technology providers, researchers and other stakeholders to develop new types of products and new types of collaborations to reduce food waste.
Experiments with new technologies were carried out to introduce stakeholders to new ideas for innovative business models that can be applied. This was supported by trend analysis and feasibility studies of the developed concepts. The developed ideas were further developed via interregional collaborations.
In Flanders, 2 specific co-creation projects were set up linking companies in the chain with a food waste problem with partners from the creative sector.
Check out this short movie about the project
The first development project was rolled out in 2018 and 5 companies worked together with a design bureau. This led to 5 new, innovative ideas:
In the second trajectory, companies that already had a concept for reducing food waste received support in bringing their products onto the market. They were supported by a team of designers. 3 Flemish companies received support in this project.
15 innovative solutions were developed, tested and implemented in the three sub-sectors: fruits & vegetables, meat and fish. In Flanders, the focus was on a reduction of fruits and vegetable waste. The project developed demonstration workshops with best-practices and new solutions for preventing food waste.
The best ideas were awarded the Food Heroes Award. First prize was won by Envie, a Brussels start-up, that makes soups from vegetable by-products. The project will conclude with a true Food Waste Fest in Brussels on 8 December 2020.
Some of the ideas brought forward via the Food Heroes project offer great opportunities for further development. For example, the DEMETER project is a direct result of Food Heroes.
14 partners from 6 countries worked on this project.