In a fast growing world where sustainability and the environment are becoming pivotal to our survival, the EU is looking for ways to enhance food production and distribution. The EU-funded SUSFOOD (Sustainable food) project researched how to create more sustainable food systems. The project investigated ways to streamline production and reduce food waste while minimising the impact on the environment. To achieve its aims, the project strengthened research collaboration between EU Member States and Associate States. It addressed issues such as malnutrition, obesity, social inequality, and competitiveness in the agro-food industry. Espousing a multi-disciplinary approach from food engineering to biology, it studied the complete farm-to-fork food supply chain which involves processing, packaging, transport, retail, storage and purchase. In more detail the project team promoted collaboration among organisations to advance research through better asset exploitation, combining resources, knowledge transfer, and support for competitiveness and economic growth. It particularly encouraged research and collaboration with small and medium-sized enterprises, in addition to recommending a four step approach to this end. The approach involved information exchange, elimination of overlapping, consolidation of a common vision, and calls for proposals for joint research. Two calls for proposals emerged from the project involving topics such as resource efficiency, innovative food processing, consumer behaviour and use of new raw materials for food products. SUSFOOD also established a Meta knowledge base for collecting, mapping and analysing relevant data for countries from Europe and beyond to post related research. New innovation and research in this field is likely to help not only Europe but the rest of the world in embracing a more sustainable future.
Sustainability, sustainable food systems, waste, malnutrition, food supply chain