The SISTERS project aims to reduce food loss and waste in the main stages of the Food Value Chain in Europe through innovations targeted to each stage of the chain. It will be a key EU project addressing the problem in a holistic way, reducing Food Loss & Waste by 27.4% and CO2 emissions by around 20% in the case studies.
The project proposes the creation of the first European online platform for farmers and the primary sector to sell the surplus of their productions and, thus, favour the local economy, as well as facilitating access to nutritious and healthy food for the most disadvantaged social groups. For example, this space will include fruit and vegetable crops that do not meet the standards of size or appearance required by the market for their subsequent commercialisation, but which are perfectly suitable for consumption.
SISTERS will also design smart food containers that help to minimise food losses during transport, keeping both bulk and packaged food in optimal conditions thanks to the installation of advanced sensors that will allow precise control of the environment in which the product is being transported or preserved. Thus, among other parameters, the temperature, humidity, and gas composition of the environment will be measured.
To improve the maintenance of food quality, a series of bio-based packaging will also be developed, using biopolymers based on polyesters and polylactic acid (PLA) that can be composted at home, thus reducing the negative impact on the environment. Additives extracted from agricultural waste will be added to these materials to extend the useful life of the products. On the other hand, a second additive will also be used to favour the biodegradability process of the final product.
As a complement to this global strategy, SISTERS will create a seal of excellence that aims to promote sustainable retail practices. It will provide consumer information through a QR code and dynamic labelling in order to increase sustainability awareness for both customers and retailers.
Thanks to these cross-sectoral innovations, SISTERS expects to achieve an ambitious environmental and economic impact on the current dynamics of the food system in terms of production, processing, logistics, marketing, and consumption, contributing to the reduction of food waste at all stages of the process and changing the mentality of consumers about their less sustainable behaviour.
The SISTERS project started on November 1st, 2021 and is scheduled to end on April 30th, 2026 (4.5 years). The consortium is formed by 18 partners and 3 linked third parties from 8 different countries around Europe: Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Sweden, Croatia, Ireland and Switzerland.
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