Food

  • By Giovanni Colombo, Senior Public Affairs Manager at EIT Food – from ReThink 2020 English Version EIT Food is one of the eight Knowledge and Innovation Communities created by the EU under the umbrella of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and is building an ecosystem to generate innovative solutions to make the food system more circular and bring these solutions to the market.  The “Circular Food Systems” is one of the six Focus Areas. EIT Food, as Europe’s leading food initiative, is working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy, and trusted.  It works in synergy with Europe’s leading agri-food companies, research institutes, universities, and startups to transform the food system and tackle some of the big societal challenges such as food waste. In the EU, around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually, which represents 20% of food production and it is estimated that this could feed 200 million people. The production and disposal of this food waste generate 170 million tonnes of CO2 which accounts for 6% of greenhouse gas emissions of the European Union. The global cost is 870 billion euros. Today, the reduction of food waste is an opportunity because it could help to close the gap between the food needed to feed the planet in 2050 and the food that was available in 2010 by more than 20%. This has been recognized also by the UN SDGs target n° 12.3 which asks us to halve the food waste by 2030. In the European context, food waste covers food loss and food waste and it occurs at all stages of the value chain. Even though in Europe food waste occurs mostly at the consumption level, synergic efforts should be addressing the problem of food waste at all stages of the value chain. Colombo...
  • By Luca Bertolasi English Version Lac2Lab is a start-up currently under the constitution, whose project started in 2019. The team is made up of 4 co-founders, with different backgrounds: Paride Acierno and Luca Bertolasi for the economic-business area, Lorenzo Ippolito, and Arianna Palladini for the R&D and production area. Cell cultures are a laboratory technique that aims to reproduce biological phenomena through the growth of certain cell lines within laboratory slides, in a controlled artificial environment. The growth and proliferation of cells are guaranteed through nutrition, given by the FBS (Fetal Bovine Serum), which has various problems concerning the ethical, economic, and qualitative sphere. First, FBS is produced by killing bovine fetuses, and about 2 million of them are killed each year. Furthermore, the FBS has a considerable cost, and the cheaper variants are produced in South America, where herd control isn’t comparable to Italian standards. An ethical and sustainable product The purpose of Lac2Lab is therefore to place on the market a substitute product for FBS, totally ethical towards animals, obtained by reusing a material that would otherwise be wasted: cow’s milk. Indeed, approximately 116 million tons of milk and dairy products are wasted every year around the world. An in-depth analysis of the dairy market was conducted, in particular by examining the relationships between producer, distributor, and the final consumer. This analysis highlighted how to milk waste is an intrinsic problem in the supply chain. The Lac2Lab product is born from the requalification of expired or expiring cow’s milk, no longer destined for food consumption, to be used in Life Science technologies. This guarantees production based on a circular and sustainable economy. The whey, suitably transformed through original processes and replacing the FBS within the cell cultures, also reduces the distances between the additive manufacturer and users: the...
  • 19 March 2021

    Circularity from Farm to Fork

    By Francesco Cagnola English Version Once you get to know the functioning of the food system, it is possible to realize that the global dimensions and the complexity of the relationships between the stakeholders involved in this field have become extremely difficult to understand and analyze. Furthermore, paying attention to the transition required for a more sustainable food system that is in harmony with nature, it is clear that this is an environmental as well as an economic-social problem. In order to succeed in this paradigm shift, it is important that this complexity is understood as much as possible by everyone. Although it is a fundamental aspect, the management of organic waste is only one of the necessary actions to be implemented: to reach lasting benefits over time it is necessary to deal with reduction and reuse, as well as focus on recycling processes. On the other hand, understanding the system at the micro level – individual consumers and/or individual companies, meso level – industrial poles, and macro level – city, region, nation, is difficult for everyone. The same is true when trying to understand the management of some thorny situations – or trade-offs – that must be faced during the transition to sustainable systems (for example, the debate regarding the production gap of biological techniques, which have a lower production at equal size cultivated with respect to industrial techniques). Three principles for a circular food system Below, in an attempt to clarify the complexities mentioned above, we refer to the 3 principles introduced by the Ellen McArthur Foundation, and we will follow the path that leads from the producer to the consumer. The latter is explicitly mentioned in the title of the new EU strategy (“From Farm to Fork”, that is “From Farm to Fork”), but few of the non-experts...
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