The aim of this strategic priority is to address issues of food waste through increased efficiencies or interventions which prevent wastage, at any point in the food chain, from source to stomach. It also looks at potential alternative uses for food waste.
The aim of this priority is to address issues of food waste through increased efficiencies or interventions which prevent wastage, at any point in the food chain, from source to stomach.
This priority also includes the potential alternative uses for food waste, for example:
- using waste in bioprocessing
- using waste to make biofuel
- biologically repurposing waste into value-added products, such as bioplastic made using fish skins, and vegan leather made using fruit waste.
The priority includes research using novel biological agri-engineering approaches to:
- reduce waste through better manipulation of primary production to meet the needs of processors, retailers or consumers: for example, optimising product quality or harvest timing
- improve production efficiency through better understanding and management of relevant biological processes: for example, sub-clinical infections, maturation and chemical treatments such as fertiliser and pesticides
- reduce losses during harvest, transport, manufacture or storage, without detrimental effects on product quality or safety
- reduce post-harvest waste through better understanding and management of relevant biological processes: for example, prevention and early detection of spoilage, understanding microbial-food interactions, and controlling post-harvest maturation
- make safe and effective use of food-related bio-waste, from any stage in the food chain: for example, in alternative feed streams, as smart ingredients, from novel decontamination methods, or microbial digestion
- reduce, recover or re-use inedible co-products from food production.
This priority includes novel research to reduce waste from:
- food crops
- microbial food sources.
It also includes research addressing efficiencies both:
- on-farm, including planting, and pre and post-harvest losses
- post-farm gate, including during transport, storage, manufacturing, retail and in the home.
This priority also includes underpinning science that relates to the priority, where direct relevance can be clearly demonstrated.
What the priority does not include
This priority excludes work on refrigeration, non-bioactive packaging, transport logistics, producer and consumer behaviour, and food economics.
Research will inform future strategies for adapting the food system to be more efficient and sustainable as part of our wider strategy to deliver more sustainable, safe, healthy and affordable food.
It is anticipated that applicants proposing research under this priority area should demonstrate translation opportunities to the relevant industrial sectors. Where applicable, proposals should have due regard to the likely impact and uptake of their solution within the agri-food industry and any regulatory hurdles they may face.