We all know about the leftover food at the end of the day in every supermarket. Throwing it away was the norm in the past, but fortunately today there are some alternatives. Popular services such as Too Good to Go provide excess food from restaurants and shops at a discounted price. This way the surplus food, completely edible and still fresh, is saved. The concept is clear and simple: such services create a “non-food waste” network between neighbours, shops and restaurants.
As Foodvalley puts it, we need sustainable, agricultural solutions to provide healthy and safe food for a world with 10 billion people by 2050. Their Circular Agrifood initiative suggests innovative ways to approach this through:
- Development of new/improved crops as a sustainable alternative to existing, less sustainable resources
- New protein resources like insects (check out some of the leading insect companies)
- Transform residual flows as resources for animal feed or other food applications
- Use new technologies (robotics, sensoring, AI) to define new processing methods.
When we talk about food waste, we must get to the root of the problem and tackle it with innovative solutions. Several companies are driven by this mission. Discover some circular solutions to fight food waste here.
PeelPioneers turns leftover orange peels into valuable ingredients, most significantly as essential oils and animal feed. The company estimates that 250 million kilos of citrus peel, mainly from oranges, is thrown away each year in the Netherlands. It created trouble for waste companies because regular trash was disturbed by this large volume of extremely sour waste. The PeelPioneers team developed a win-win solution, where it repurposes all parts of the orange peel into both edible ingredients (orange oil, citrus muffins, beer, lemonade, chocolate) and non-edible too (cleaning agents and cosmetics). In 2018 the circular scale-up opened its first production line, and now they have the largest peel-processing factory in Europe thanks to a 10€ million investment.
Orbisk’s monitors are the solution to food waste management in the hospitality sector. Through advanced technology, they can reduce food waste up to 50% by analyzing the trends in the kitchen. From day one, the monitor registers all the food waste, with no training required. The AI tracking recognises which product is thrown away and suggests, based on the data, how to optimize the supply. As a result, not only can restaurants reduce their food waste, but they can also save money. The CEO Olaf van der Veen predicted that by the end of 2021 Orbisk monitor will be present in 500 kitchens.
The Dutch brewery Bier Fabriek has recently opened “Stadshaven Brouwerij”, a brewery in Rotterdam with an eye on circularity. From the start, they implemented best-in-class brewery practices to save water and energy, installed solar panels to power their operations, and repurpose spent grain as feedstock to a neighbouring farm. But they keep on looking for ways to make their operation more sustainable, like creating beer ingredients from existing waste streams (like fruit peels), and reusing the spent grain to make new products (like flour for a rich in protein bread) or as a feedstock.
The Waste Transformers
The Waste Transformers found a creative way to “digest food waste” Their “Waste Transformer” device automatically converts biodegradable waste (such as kitchen waste and commercial waste) into clean energy, heat and natural fertilizer. The devices range in capacity, recycling from 350 to 3000 kg of organic waste per day. The team aims to “inspire people around the world to understand the value of their food waste, so that our society can transition to a low-carbon economy”. They currently operate in five regions and are planning to strengthen their global presence.
Globally, one third of the food we produce is wasted. This implies a huge loss of valuable resources, such as water, land and energy, and a needless production of greenhouse gas emissions. It also leads to large economic losses, and creates enormous waste management challenges.
But as we always say, every great challenge leads to a greater entrepreneurial solution. And we believe the answer will come from the companies that are able to scale their innovative solutions. At ScaleUpFood we work with those companies to tackle their most pressing scaling challenges. Head to the program page to learn more.
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