By Luminita Ciolacu, Katherine Flynn, and Luis Mayor (ISEKI-Food Association, AT)
In fact, the definition of IVFC is a matter of discussion and essential and optional characteristics were recently proposed by the FAIRCHAIN project.
An IVFC combines the best characteristics of the typical long food value chains and the more innovative short food value chains. FAIRCHAIN partner Fraunhofer Institute for System and Innovation Research identified essential and optional characteristics of IFVCs. Based on these, they formulated a definition. Dr. Bärbel Hüsing and Tanja Kaufmann gave a webinar on this to the FAIRCHAIN consortium in October 2021. The webinar included an introduction to the concept and background of food value chains, real-life examples of IFVCs as well as the pathways to be used towards IFVCs.
Short and engaging videos (5 to 8 minutes each) from the webinar are now available on FAIRCHAIN’s YouTube channel.
By: Caroline Pénicaud, INRAE and Geneviève Gésan-Guiziou
The French case study aims to develop and distribute an innovative drink based on the use of whey, a coproduct of cheese dairies. Whey is currently valorized into whey or protein concentrates when produced in large volumes. However at small scale, its valorisation is limited and whey may go to wastewater treatment (depending on the whey acidity and volume produced).
The partners of the Case Study in France (Sodiaal, Laboratoires Standa, Actia, Petrel, and INRAE) start to assess the baseline of the Case Study in Eastern France.
The aim of the environmental assessment, performed by INRAE, was to provide a basis for comparing the environmental performance of the developed innovation with the current situation. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is recognized to be the method of choice when measuring environmental impacts (climate change, resource depletion, etc. ) of a product, process, or service. The LCA analysis done here used a cradle-to-grave approach, i.e. from raw milk production to cheese products and current whey valorization.
Results show that milk production and whey drying are the main hotspots in the environmental impact and that transport of whey from cheese dairies to valorization sites is not negligible. Thus, to be an environmentally friendly innovative solution, the whey drink should generate less environmental impact than whey drying and be produced as close as possible to the cheese dairy. LCA will be used to compare the new value chain to the current one and then to quantify environmental benefits.
By Andreas Papadakis, SYNELIXIS
Local dairy production can have competitive advantages, including the use of locally produced milk, compliance with traditional processing methods resulting in richer taste, maintenance of nutritional value, and possibilities of customized products. Such intermediate food chains are typically characterized by more active human involvement, and the potential for transparency in the role of the stakeholders. Challenges also exist, related to the limits of economy of scale, the dependence on local production and conditions, and the difficulties in ‘proving’ the competitive advantages to increasingly demanding customers. The last challenge is the rationale of the Greek Case Study of the FAIRCHAIN project.
SYNELIXIS, a high-tech SME providing innovative ICT solutions and platforms in smart agriculture (SynField) and other areas, and STYMFALIA a local dairy producer with established products offered in Greece and abroad, will employ the Ethereum Blockchain technology to capture operational information to ‘vouch for’ the competitive advantages of local dairy production. This information will be offered to consumers and other interested stakeholders in a trustworthy manner.
The case study involves the production of Feta cheese, a well-known Greek product of protected origin, defined by the national legislation framework and offered locally and abroad, as well as a special type of sheep-milk yoghurt. The (infrequent) cases of fraudulent feta cheese production, identified nationally and abroad, reinforce the need for trustworthiness.
The two partners are carefully analysing milk collection and cheese processing operations to capture data related to high-level characteristics appreciated by consumers. Blockchain, a technology being piloted in the food industry, presents a set of challenges including the need for near real-time data extraction and processing, the need to rationalize the level of data fine-graining, the inevitable overhead upon internal dairy processes and the presentation of the info to consumers in a meaningful and comprehensive manner. The Case Study already had a successful goal-creation workshop, in June 2021, validating the need for such a solution and providing insight for adaptation and improvement of the requirements and the specifications.
By: Roger Uddstål, RISE
The forest berry value chain is long and international. In Sweden, local berry picking has almost disappeared and been replaced by foreign berry pickers in collaboration with large wholesalers. There is a local market for wild forest berries, and more local value chains could be created if important obstacles can be overcome. One such obstacle for the berry-pickers is to find the berries in sufficient amounts.
FAIRCHAIN collaborates with RISE and researchers at SLU in Umeå to create knowledge that will make it easier for less experienced pickers to find the best places to pick. A special App has been developed that will be used for mapping the forests and for creating guiding maps for the pickers. The first test of the App was carried out during summer 2021 in an area south of Umeå. Now the information from the survey will be processed to create general models to predict where to find the berries.
During the autumn of 2021, the project will develop strategies for the coming years on how to demonstrate the potential of the App and how it can support an intermediate value chain. We are looking for partners who want to be involved in picking, cleaning, and selling berries in a new value chain. During the autumn, we will start investigating whether we can find a good location for a pilot study.
The first FAIRCHAIN general assembly was held at INRAE headquarters in Paris from 23 to 25th November 2021. During the meeting project partners provided an overview of the key achievements during this first year, points of improvement were discussed, and plans were made for the work process in the coming year, with particular attention on collaboration and cross-fertilization between case studies.
Overall the first year of the project was rich and stimulating. FAIRCHAIN partners developed technological and organisational innovations with special focus (but not only) on: a flexible filling machine, new whey-based drinks, blockchain technology and ‘zero waste’ distribution modes. The co-creation process started with assessment of current value chains and involved stakeholders in Goal-defining workshops. Working groups with other European projects and European bodies’ meetings contributed to sharing work on sustainable food systems. Soon, in collaboration with the CO-FRESH project, the updated “Sustainable Food System Innovation platform” will be launched!