Case study update: Life Cycle Assessment for co-product valorisation

Case study update: Life Cycle Assessment for co-product valorisation

By: Kavitha Shanmugam, RISE and Anne Verniquet, dss

The Swiss case study aims to analyze co-product valorisation and generation of enriched added value for SMEs. This is done via two sub-cases within the Biofruits value chain:

  • Developing a new alternative cleaning agent (vinegar) via bio fermentation of co-products unfit for consumption (pulp from Biofruits);
  • Sharing of equipment to valorise co-products like fruit pits: the Swiss CS will pilote a regional scale regenerative agriculture and CO2 sequestration strategy via a pyrolysis-based innovative business model

The partners of the Case Study are Biofruits, Cogiterre (Fruits & Vegetables SME) in Switzerland along with dss (previously Sofies), INRAE and University of Ghent. RISE assisted with the Case Study.

The aim of the environmental assessment performed by RISE 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. LCA was performed for a current scenario: Fruits & Vegetables which are unfit for consumption are sent to a local biodigester; Biofruits has to pay to eliminate these co-products. Moreover, fruit pits are not valorised locally nor transparently. A screening level LCA was performed for pits from Biofruits to investigate different handling technologies (compost – current, combustion and pyrolysis).

Various positive externalities are expected from pyrolysis and vinegar used as a cleaning agent. But the business models require some process improvements and deeper knowledge to reach a successful demonstration during the project. LCA will be used to compare the new value chain to the current one and then to quantify environmental benefits.

Focus on food waste

Focus on food waste

Fruits and vegetables and roots and tubers are the most common food to be wasted, 45% of them become waste

According to the FAO, global food waste represents a third of total food produced for consumption, ~1.6 billion tons per year, at a cost of € 730 million/year. Both food losses and food co-products are rich sources of nutrients and other bioactive substances that, once extracted, can be valuable ingredients in functional and nutraceutical foods (among other products).

The FAIRCHAIN Swiss case study is using apples that are not fit for consumption by developing vinegar-based cleaning products and fertilisers.

Focus on whey

Focus on whey

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is responsible for the color of whey.

Whey is the serum phase of milk, or the liquid remaining after removal of fat and casein, which contains mostly soluble components, including lactose, soluble salts, and globular proteins, among others. With the increased demand of dairy products, especially Greek yogurt, the yields of acidic whey increased and researchers are looking for ways to valorise it.

The FAIRCHAIN French case study is valorizing whey by developing whey-based drinks.

Focus on European blueberries

Focus on European blueberries

Also known as European blueberries, Swedish blåbär is the most abundant berry in Sweden. They’re not the same as their North American counterparts; European blueberries are slightly smaller, have less sugar and are a deep crimson color inside. European blueberry bushes are found all over Sweden and cover close to 20% of the land. They’re also consumed in large quantities as a European blueberry soup (blåbärssoppa) during Vasaloppet, the oldest cross-country ski race in the world.

Within the FAIRCHAIN Swedish case study, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and researchers at SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå developed a special App for mapping the forests and for creating guiding maps for the berry pickers.

The Sustainable Food System Innovation Platform now available for you!

The Sustainable Food System Innovation Platform now available for you!

We are all part of the food supply chain! If you innovate in the agri-food sector then the Sustainable Food System (SFS) Innovation Platform is for you!

Here you will find the Innovation inventory, with the latest in technological, social and organizational advances, the Initiative Inventory, including successful food supply chain activities throughout Europe, and training materials like short e-learning courses where you can earn a certificate.

If you register you can take full advantage of the platform – add innovations, initiatives, publications and weblinks and have access to special pages and services. Registration is fast and easy and your profile remains private.

FAIRCHAIN and CO-FRESH launched the SFS Innovation Platform in January 2022, and they maintain and grow it by:

  • Sharing project information on food supply chain innovations;
  • Publicizing through the Platform Initiative Inventory;
  • Generating training materials on best practices to innovate in the food supply chain;
  • Ultimately engaging more and more stakeholders in innovative food supply chains.

Your project is also invited to contribute to the SFS Innovation Platform! Contact the Platform organizers to start your collaborative adventure with the SFS Innovation Platform.