The circular economy in the fruit and vegetable sector

Paola Haiat
January 27, 2021

In a world where the debate around our resources and their usage is increasingly urgent, the circular economy becomes paramount.

"Closing the circle" is part of the European Union Action Plan for 2020 - joined by countries like France, Sweden, Finland, China, Japan, Canada and hundreds of companies around the world as a way to recognize that we must innovate our way of thinking about the production, acquisition and reuse of resources.

In our last post, areas of innovation in the agri-food industry we talked about the importance of sustainability. And it is that, until now, almost any industry had adopted an unsustainable linear economy system, where the life of a product followed a horizontal line from its production to its disposal.

linear economy
Image from atriainnovation

The proposal for a circular economy, taking up the definition of the Fruit Logistica Trend report 2020, is “based on the value of products, materials and resources being maintained for as long as possible by returning them to the product cycle at the end of their use, minimizing, in turn, the generation of waste”. Thus, instead of using a philosophy of produce and discard, it is sought that the product itself helps in future productions.

circular economy
Image from atriainnovation

What can be done from the fruit and vegetable industry to achieve it?

 

Develop new categories of the food product

The eco-innovation laboratory of Catalonia mentions it as a strategy and gives as an example coffee cherries, which had been taken as waste in the past and are now being used to create a flour with a high nutritional and antioxidant content.

 

Recreate debris

The industry has not stopped experimenting with materials that replace plastic, an area of​​opportunities that allows creating products as varied as shoes, bags or even packaging for other items made with fruit and vegetable waste.

 

Implement technology

One way of making our processes more efficient and recognizing the weak points in our chains, (which will assist in knowing where there opportunities are to incorporate the circular economy) is through the IoT (Internet of Things), although they are also Machine Learning, Blockchain or Artificial Intelligence. We have two articles about it if you are interested in knowing more: Advances in food traceability technologies (I). Sensors and part (II) IO and Blockchain.

 

This is only beginning, because in Consentio, we want to continue learning from all the points of view to answer: Why don't we allow the goods of today to be transformed into the resources of tomorrow?

 

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