New Network in the UK Aims to Reduce Food Waste
A new GBP500,000 UK network, jointly led by scientists at the Cranfield University and the University of Reading, will link researchers with the industry in a bid to tackle food waste across the supply chain and improve quality in horticultural and potato crops, reports Business Weekly.
In the UK, 51% of food waste happens before it even reaches consumers, during agriculture, post-harvest, distribution, and processing.
Globally over one-third of food producers across the whole chain is wasted. A significant proportion of food loss relates to the inherent physiology of the crops, poor control, and post-harvest biology, and the efficacy and appropriateness of the control systems applied.
Cranfield’s Plant Science Laboratory is a postharvest research group working to improve food supply chains with international partners.
Current projects include modified atmosphere packaging to extend the shelf life of fresh produce, controlling dormancy and sprouting in potatoes and onions, to name a few.
“Cranfield University has a long history of reducing postharvest food losses and we are delighted to be leading this network with UKRI and the University of Reading. The network will allow us to better harness our national scientific talent to help achieve the goal of halving per capita global food waste and reduce food losses,” said Professor Leon Terry, director of Environment and Agrifood at the Cranfield University.
The network is launched by the UK Research and Innovation’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and will commission a diverse range of projects.
Membership is free and open to all researchers throughout the UK, who will be able to apply for funds to pump-prime new collaborations that develop research ideas and solutions with relevance to industry.
The BBSRC Quality and Food Loss Network outputs will attract researches from multiple disciplines to apply novel expertise to the challenges facing businesses from across the entire supply-chain while developing the next generation of researchers to address food security.