It is estimated that one third of the EU's total agricultural production is lost as "ugly" food, although of perfectly good quality. To avoid this waste, ugly food needs to be identified early, its quality needs to be guaranteed and its shelf life needs to be assessed.
This Living Lab is focused on the production stage of industrial sectors such as Tropical Crops (avocado) and Horticulture (tomato and cucumber), aiming to develop a Living Lab environment that will enable the grading of vegetables and fruits at an early stage, using non-destructive and multi-attribute analysis techniques, applied to a single fruit/vegetable or a whole lot.
The problem is late identification of ugly food
The current state-of-the-art regarding the processing of "ugly food" could be described as late selection of food that is often done manually or with outdated technology, creating a huge food loss problem.
Two major obstacles have been identified when it comes to growing vegetables for the retail industry:
- Identification of ‘ugly food’ or non-compliance to retail requirements at a late stage reduces the possibilities for alternative valorisation.
- Marketing and logistics decisions towards reducing FLW are difficult, as reliable information on food shelf-life losses and alternative opportunities are missing.