CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Waste reduction and quality improvement of fruits and vegetables via an innovative and energy-efficient humidification/disinfection technology

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FRESH-DEMO (Waste reduction and quality improvement of fruits and vegetables via an innovative and energy-efficient humidification/disinfection technology)

Berichtszeitraum: 2016-03-01 bis 2017-02-28

Around 160 Mt/year of fruits/vegetables are distributed in Europe. The long distribution pathways and the lack of technologies for appropriate transport&storage lead to food waste as well as lower quality products arriving to consumers. Innovative humidification/disinfection technology enhancing their shelf-life and hygienic properties could help to solve this situation. FRESHDEMO evaluated the benefits of cool, humid and germ-free climate by means of ultrasonic humidification (UH) as well as natural sanitizers to preserve and enhance the quality&freshness of products along the entire post-harvest supply chain. The market potential was demonstrated through real case studies.
Objectives were met: the eco-efficient FRESHDEMO system was introduced into the logistics of EU food sector by 6 case studies; increased handling efficiency during storage, transport&sales due to less packaging required and longer shelf-life; dissemination on the sustainability of vegetable/fruit distribution; enabling market introduction of the system in Greece, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands and successively in the EU-28 (on-going); and use cost saving potentials and increase the competitiveness of EU fruit/vegetable sector (SMEs) (on-going).
In conclusion, FRESHDEMO system offers better product quality and lower food waste generation (33% food-waste reduced at the supermarket van Gurp); it is easy to install, handle, operate and maintain; a better production stability and process homogeneity is achieved due to the longer shelf-life (e.g. up to 5 days for table grapes); costs are reduced: lower energy (up to 1,440€), reduced labour (up to 2,140€) in the supermarket van Gurp with a large display, as products can remain on the display and do not need to be stored in the cold room at nights; the environmental impact can be reduced by 10-20% compared to conventional supply chains (specially on the high amount of water saved).
WP1: end-user&target groups requirements were defined regarding products storage, quality, resource efficiency, legal and administrative issues. Technical ones to implement case study sites were established. WP2: the best natural sanitizer (Formula 5) was selected among 5 formulas after research/tests on several fruit/vegetables, and the UH unit was adapted for application in cold storages/displays, and a complete new UH was developed for transportation in trucks with a dosing unit with Formula 5. WP3: all components of prototypes (excl. UH) were up-scaled based on technical requirements. Components were assembled according to drawings/simulations/functional tests. Complete systems were implemented and lab test programme was developed. WP4: systems were adapted, tested and optimised under industrial conditions at distribution facilities. Prototypes were installed at the case study sites, test were implemented (strawberries, table grapes, nectarines, peaches, cauliflower, escarole, asparagus and lettuce) and several demo workshops were undertaken. Overall performance was determined and system process reliability analysed. WP5: environmental and economic performance of post-harvest supply chains (peaches, table grapes, strawberries, asparagus) were assessed using process-based, hybrid LCA & CBA; the environmental one compared to conventional supply chains for a wide range of scenarios in EU (transport distances, geographic location of waste disposal, produce losses and UH efficiencies in reducing them). The economic assessment considered potential costs&benefits from increasing sales, reduced waste disposal, energy and labour savings, transport benefits and monetary costs/benefits associated with environmental burdens. WP6: a detailed exploitation plan and marketing concept was developed with a business plan optimised to boost the market entry of technology. Permissions/authorisations needed for large-scale production, installation and application of systems and natural sanitizers were obtained for EU countries (Greece, Netherlands, Germany). Training materials (handouts, presentations) were prepared for workshops provided to potential clients, catalysts for dissemination and installation companies. WP7: commercialization/exploitation of FRESHDEMO was facilitated with activities and materials for dissemination of results to stakeholders in the food industry (publications, presentations at fairs and symposia or production of video). Dissemination activities were monitored by the IP committee before implementation. WP8: comprised project management: monitoring EC obligations, administration of EC financial contribution and distribution in accordance with GA/CA, efficient/correct communication and reporting with the EC, knowledge and IPR management.
12 prototypes installed and 6 testing activities
21 workshops organised and 8 attended, attendance to 15 fairs (10 with a project stand), presentations at 6 conferences, published articles, press releases, newsletters, flyers, manuals, posters, banners, promotional videos, website and social media
Net present value up to 500,000€ for a supermarket’s display of 25 m2 with fruit/vegetables sold in 15 years when applying UH in the post-harvest; 25% of food-waste reduced at van Gurp, 3.35%-2.25% of the total turnover of products
Better appearance of the humidified products with Formula 5 than non-treated products, longer shelf-life and higher nutrients content
Environmental impact reduced up to 27% compared to conventional supply chains, especially on climate change impact, on excess amount of nutrients in water bodies and fine particulate matter emissions.
The project outcomes have led to launching into the market a new product (Mobile UH, Dosing unit & Tank unit), new process (Transport of humidified fresh products from farm to/and including the supermarket) & new method (Using antimicrobial additive in humidifiers).
Current available atomizers are typically characterized by a low humidification rate, but the FRESHDEMO technology has an energy consumption of approx. 95% lower and requires around 50% less water.
The outcomes of FRESHDEMO contribute to the following impacts: Scale-up, demonstrate, and test affordable humidification/disinfection systems in the entire post-harvest supply chain of fruits/vegetables, achieving waste reduction of 33% (5.200€/year) measured during 4 years in a supermarket with 30m2 displays with fruit/ vegetables and a process optimization by using less labour, less energy and getting a higher turnover; in total for this supermarket a profit of 45€/day or 15.000€/year; Improvement of competitiveness of EU businesses (SMEs) active in production, logistics, and retail by securing high quality products with more cost efficiency due to outcomes above presented; The performance and long-term viability of the simple handling, O&M was verified in real cases from an integrated point of view considering technical and operational aspects (systems are easy to handle, normal cleaning and once a year maintenance by the service department of the producer of the equipment), economical aspects (profit of 15.000€, a year for one supermarket), environmental (very positive due to 33% less waste), social and health aspects (better quality of products and a longer shelf life); Real case studies were performed for industrial partners via 21 workshops and 10 fairs (including stands), informing about the project development prior entering the market.
Mid-term meeting in Malaga
FRESH-DEMO demonstration case study along continuous food suplain chain
FRESH-DEMO van for transport furing the demonstration case studies
Trial with humidification in strawberries after 4 days
Final meeting in Berlin
Technical meeting in Athens