9 living labs for zero food and waste

9 innovative Living Labs

Systemic Innovations Towards a Zero Food Waste Supply Chain

The global food system is a major contributor to climate change as it accounts for more than 30% of the global greenhouse gas emissions.
Approximately one third of the food produced is never consumed but either lost or wasted somewhere in the value chain.
This is a major problem that urgently calls for systemic innovation and the ZeroW project is working on developing just that through 9 living labs:

Factors affecting FLW

Research has identified a variety of factors affecting food loss and waste (FLW), including poor forecasting, demand-supply mismatch; inadequate harvesting, processing and logistics practices, low tolerance for “ugly” foods in retail, and problematic consumer buying habits.
Underpinning these factors, one can identify some of the main structural and behavioural lock-in effects of the current food system, including: 
  • Missing/fragmented FLW data (arduous/inaccurate data collection, largely based on subjective assessments and varied FLW definitions, not supporting effective reduction strategies); 
  • Limited food actor capabilities to reduce FLW especially in cases of diverse, seasonal & disruption-generated food surpluses or sub-standard products; 
  • Inability to steer consumer buying behaviour towards reducing FLW at the critical point that the purchase occurs;
  • Understanding of packaging as an unavoidable secondary waste stream rather than a FLW-reducing opportunity;
  • Unbalanced (unjust) allocation of FLW innovation cost/benefits among food chain actors.

Multitude of solutions to make a real impact to FLW

Food waste cannot be contributed only to excessive consumer behaviour as has often been the dominant perception in the past.
The problems listed above show that the problem occurs throughout the entire value chain and a multitude of solutions must be developed and implemented to make a real impact. 

Data for FLW reduction

One aspect that ZeroW will attempt to tackle is how to utilise data for FLW reduction.
To get a clear view of the amounts of waste along the food chain, we will outline a conceptual framework for measuring FLW and determining the economic effects.
Furthermore, we will work towards creating semantic interoperability which is the ability of computer systems to exchange data with unambiguous, shared meaning.
This will be done through a managed European 0FLW Data Space for the digital support needed for reducing FLW

9 Living Labs

ZeroW creates impact through the demonstration of innovative FLW reduction solutions in nine Living Labs along the real-life food chains to effectively address the multidimensional issue of FLW. 

Systemic Innovation Living Labs

The methodology that ZeroW uses to coordinate our multi-organizational innovation process is the Living Lab approach.

It is focused on a systemic co-creation methodology that involves the full scope of food chain actors and beyond: introducing social and governance dimensions to industrial partners in a real-life setting.

ZeroW has built up 9 real-life Living Labs embedding systemic innovations with the potential to lead to fundamental changes in both social dimensions (values, regulations, attitudes) and technical dimensions (infrastructure, technology, tools, processes) and, most importantly, in the relations between them.











What will come out of the 9 Living Labs?

End products/services

Get more information
about the ZeroW project

A European project about systemic innovations for zero food waste.

More about ZeroW

ZeroW project

Work Package Objectives

Modelling FLW economics from F2F


  • To outline a conceptual framework for measuring the economic effects of FWL along the food chain.
  • To develop a high-level economic model encompassing the food supply chain actors and validate it by the Living Labs.
  • To quantitatively assess various FLW interventions by running simulations with the FLW model.

Work Package Leader: Dusan Drabik

Data Space


  • To establish semantic interoperability through a managed European 0FLW Data Space for the digital support needed for reducing FLW.
  • To establish collaborative business and governance models for data sharing in 0FLW.
  • To establish a federating catalogue to ensure interoperability between data sources.
  • To support the SILLs in establishing interoperability, business models & governance.
  • To develop an integrated kit to ‘onboard’ 0FLW initiatives, both from ZeroW and non-ZeroW partners, during and after the project.

Work Package Leader: Frank Berkers

Data-driven near-zero FLW Smart Applications


To provide a suite of Data-driven Intelligence Services (see figure) consisting of 4 key components: 

  • Big Data Infrastructural Services.
  • 0FLW Application Enhancement and Integration Services in support of the SILLs solutions.
  • AI Analytics and Visualization Services supporting key aspects of FLW management.
  • SILL Actors Incentives Assessment and Optimisation Services.

Work Package Leader: Deirdre Kilbane

Systemic Innovation management & demonstration


  • To provide an enabling Living Lab environment for FLW Systemic Innovations to flourish.
  • To manage the SILL communities and steer their activities from ideation to demonstration, through learning feedback cycles.
  • To ensure a strong interaction between the SILLs and the impact assessment, scaling up, commercialisation and policy support activities of the project.
  • To ensure an evolutionary process of the SILLs from a baseline to a higher level of systemic innovation readiness.

Work Package Leader: Jovana Vlaskalin

Systemic Innovation assessment


  • To deliver a methodology for assessing FLW systemic innovations.
  • To assess the SILL impacts, risks, sustainability trade-offs & level of 'just' allocation.
  • To provide cluster-, place-, context- actor-, & gender-based consolidation & interpretation of results.

Work Package Leader: Debolina Paul

Fostering systemic innovation & building capacity


  • To support the scaling up of the FLW systemic innovation solutions and approaches in EU regions with high potential.
  • To organise capacity building activities for food actors & consumers aiming for increased value (economic, environmental, social) from FLW innovations.
  • To build up regional specific upscaling strategies to stimulate investment in FLW reduction by private and public actors.

Work Package Leader: Isabeau Coopmans

Exploitation, sustainability & commercialisation of project outputs


  • To advance ZeroW’s innovative solutions commercially.
  • To protect the commercially sensitive and strategic IP through 3 formal Patent filings; (3) to formulate a business- and market-relevant exploitation strategy with the end goal of self-sustaining revenues and a sustainable commercial trajectory; (4) to anchor the exploitation, business models, licencing models and go-to-market strategy through robust market sector analyses and commercial solution alignment imperatives.​

Work Package Leader: Kata Trifkovic

Policy recommendations for just transition to near-zero FLW


  • To provide alternative transition pathways towards near-zero FLW.
  • To define a 'just' transition pathway to near-zero FLW and intermediate targets.
  • To deliver short-, medium-term policy recommendations.

Work Package Leader: Antoine D’haese

Cooperation with EC services & other
projects and/or initiatives


  • To deliver an Action Plan for stakeholder & initiative engagement and cooperation with EC services.
  • To establish collaborative ecosystems with relevant stakeholders in different frameworks.
  • To engage with EU, National and global initiatives on a dialogue towards FLW policy, regulatory and commercialisation opportunities.

Work Package Leader: Angele Tasse

Visit ZeroW systemic innovation living labs

Living Labs


#1 FLW monitoring and assesment

#2 Innovative sustainable and smart packaging

#3 Wasteless greenhouse solutions


#4 Mobile food valorisation as a service

#5 Ugly food identification

#6 Data driven production process control

#7 Food bank network

#8 FLW valouration through algae production

#9 Informing and nudging consumers