How can sustainability lead to efficient agri-food value chains? This was the topic of a hybrid event co-hosted by Euro Coop and Cooperatives Europe on 31 March. Organised in the framework of the EU-funded Co-Fresh project, the event showcased four innovations in agri food value chains – in terms of technology and from a social, organisational, managerial and institutional point of view.
An interventional research project, Co-Fresh brings together farmers, food producers, co-operatives, consumers, and experts to develop techniques and tools to redesign agri-food value chains based on best practices.
The project focuses on co-creation and aims to implement changes in seven pilot cases to test effectiveness. These are Florette Iberica (Spain), La Terre di Zoe (Italy), Foodvelley NL(Netherlands), EKOOWOC (Poland), Pilze Nagy (SME in Hungary), the Chamber of Agriculture in Pays de la Loire (France) and Coexphal (Spain).
The 203 proposals were put through a voting process and feasibility studies, which left 19 selected for implementation (nine technological, four regarding the development of new food products, nine operational/organisational tools and five market-oriented).
The project also led to the development of a reflective tool that classifies innovation and examines collaboration within the value chain and a methodology which could be shared with others. The partners involved are also working on a certification mark /scheme that could give agri food businesses more recognition.
During the event four out of the 19 innovations under development were presented:
- Porcs fermiers de la Sarthe, a collective of over 30 farmers, developing a governance tool to develop the use of sustainable local pig feed
- Food Valley NL developing quality protein from fava beans tempeh using sensory evaluation
- Le Tierre di Zoe using biotechnology to turn leftover clementine juice parts into useful food ingredients (UNIBO)
- Future Intelligence, an IT company working with agri co-ops to develop digital agriculture solutions to optimise the use of resources at the crop production stage
In his closing remarks, Todor Ivanov, secretary general of Euro Coop emphasised how food sustainability can be achieved with multistakeholder co-operation, traceability and innovation.