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.

Swiss case study implementation workshop

Swiss case study implementation workshop

Various experts of the agri-food sector gathered in the Implementation workshop of FAIRCHAIN’s Swiss case study. They discussed the risks and opportunities in using vinegar made of apple by-products as detergent for fruits or industrial equipment, or as « phytocament ».

Co-creation workshop for the Swiss case study

Co-creation workshop for the Swiss case study

The first co-creation Workshop of the Swiss case study took place today! More than 30 participants discussed about how to generate new value propositions for SMEs and other regional food chain actors through improved valorisation of co-products.The main topics addressed during the workshop will be: co-product valorisation in the fruit & vegetable sector to develop alternative cleaning agents or crop protection products, increasing added value generated per unit of fruits sold, reducing the ecological footprint and improving the cooperation between farmers and processors.