#food

  • 29 June 2021

    Circular Economy for Food

    Franco Fassio dell’Università di Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo (UNISG) è stato nostro ospite in occasione di Hacking the City lo scorso aprile. Il suo intervento, riassunto in questo articolo, si è concentrato sulla necessità di partire dal cibo per cambiare il nostro attuale paradigma economico. Una tale evolluzione in chiave circolare permetterebbe di riportare l’attenzione sulla biodiversità, sulle comunità, sulla qualità delle relazioni e sulla sostanza dei comportamenti. Infatti, per comprendere i problemi che caratterizzano il food system, abbiamo bisogno di adottare un approccio sistemico, di analisi e progettazione. Il “thinking in systems” ci può aiutare a vedere le interconnessioni e capire le esigenze di tutte le parti coinvolte nel sistema. Già l’antropologo britannico Gregory Bateson  in Verso un ecologia della mente aveva sostenuto: “I maggiori problemi del mondo sono il risultato della differenza tra come la natura funziona (sistema) e il modo in cui le persone pensano (lineare)”. Secondo il Professor Fassio, dunque, il primo terreno da arare se vogliamo sostenere e promuovere l’Economia Circolare è la consapevolezza che siamo un unico sistema interconnesso e che un’economia sostenibile può essere solo un’economia della conoscenza. Istruzione, formazione e ricerca sono necessari per ripensare le ipotesi della società contemporanea  e mettere in discussione abitudini consolidate che a volte sono il vero ostacolo ad uno sviluppo sostenibile. La filiera agroalimentare estesa (comparto agricolo, industria alimentare, distribuzione e Horeca) è il primo settore economico del nostro Paese, con un fatturato di oltre 500 miliardi di euro e quasi 4 milioni di occupati. L’importanza di questo settore è tale che la pandemia di Covid-19 ha colpito il settore agroalimentare in maniera relativamente ridotta, con una contrazione del 4% in termini di valore aggiunto su base annua. L’importanza di questa industria è quindi tale da permettere di immaginare una ripartenza dinamica e sostenibile che sfrutti al meglio...
  • By Benedetta Esposito English Version The agri-food sector has been severely affected by many problems, such as resource scarcity, food loss and waste generation along the worldwide supply chain which, in 2019, counted approximately 1.3 billion tons, generating a cost of more than 1000 billion dollars per year (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2019). The decline in biodiversity and the improper management of resources and processes represent only some of the causes of such problems. Accordingly, a need has emerged to radically redesign the traditional linear economic path of production and consumption. In this scenario, Circular Economy emerges as a possible strategy that is able to overcome these critical issues, especially in the state of emergency generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, the need to adopt models and tools of Circular Economy in the agri-food sector is imperative to overcome these problems. Under this lens, the company’s performance should be guided towards consumption reduction, optimization of resource management, reduction of environmental impacts, waste reduction, and the reuse of leftovers. Moreover, the literature has shown that stakeholders’ engagement plays a pivotal role in catalyzing the shift towards the adoption of circular economy models, which is required at the supply-chain level rather than the individual company level. Indeed, one of the main barriers to circular economy implementation is the lack of information about the stakeholders involved in the supply chain. In addition to primary producers, numerous categories of subjects should be involved, such as customers and consumers, investors, public decision-makers, the process and transformation industry and distribution. Insightful information about companies’ practices can support sustainable business systems in the agri-food sector. Consistent with this statement, researchers have demonstrated that incorporating social and environmental considerations into the decision-making process and customers ‘reuse activities’ yields significant economic benefits. Therefore, sustainability commitments and the actions of...
  • English Version Italian version below A few months ago, we had the pleasure of hosting Ivan Calimani, founder of Krill Design, at our Re-think Circular Economy Forum, the event that we created as a meeting opportunity for those working in the Circular Economy sector. Krill Design is a startup, founded in October 2018, that puts design and technology at the service of the Circular Economy. In his speech, Ivan Calimani, first explained how the need to launch this startup was born from an understanding of just how critical it is that we redesign the way we think about waste. Every year in the world, hundreds of millions of tons of organic material are generated as waste and 98% of these materials end up in landfills to be incinerated or rot in open bins. European companies generate 88 million tons of waste per year, or 20% of all European food production, resulting in an economic loss of 143 billion euros per year. It is estimated that wasted food generates around 3.3 million tons of CO2 per year, representing about 8% of global emissions. This is why the food and beverage industry is looking for effective and sustainable solutions to recycle and reuse waste. In fact, food waste can be used today to realize raw materials for high-value products and help build a circular bioeconomy. Of course, new solutions often require a long phase of experimentation and don’t always prove beneficial to companies, but Krill Design has developed a Circular Economy model that starts and finishes within the same company, using the waste it produces to easily make a finished product. How does it work? How is it possible? Homogeneous food waste, such as peels, seeds, and shells, is transformed into a 100% biodegradable biopolymer. Through a 3D printer, it is then...
  • 27 April 2021

    Circular beer: Crumbs

    English Version Brave Brew is a Swedish company founded by three friends, Matt, Niclas and Julian, who were shocked to find out that 80,000 tons of bread are wasted every year in Sweden. They then asked themselves this question: what can you do with more than 200 tons of leftover bread per day? They came up with possibly one of the best answers: beer! This is how Crumbs was born: made from bread waste, Crumbs is a locally sourced, locally produced, delicious beer brewed using leftover bread which would otherwise be thrown away. Their motto is simple: “Less Waste, More Taste”. Brave Brew is not a brewery per se, but they work to collect bread that would otherwise be wasted and then they trust local experts to work their magic and turn this bread into delicious beer. Brave Brew has been running since March 2020. They started selling beer in June 2020 and have produced about 45,000 bottles of two different qualities of beer. The first one, Loafy Lager, has been produced in collaboration with Värmdö Brewery, a craft brewery from Stockholm. To produce this first beer, 30% of the grain count has been replaced with rescued bread. The result is a tasty, light lager with citrus notes and of course light bread. Brave Brew is now working with a new brewery with the goal to produce a third beer. The final objective for 2021 is to be able to systemise the bread collection to be able to scale production in other cities. Brave Brew is also working on the idea of producing a new beer using spent grain, which is a leftover of the brewing process. An ambitious goal Brave Brew also seeks to raise awareness on the issue of bread waste and to create an alternative circular and scalable...
  • 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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