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Project name:

Networking of Short Food Supply Chains ensuring traceability of zero waste and low emissions from food production to consumption (ZEROW)

Status: In Preparation
Creation date: 13-07-2020

Project objectives:


This proposal will be submitted to the Green Deal topic "LC-GD-6-1-2020: Testing and demonstrating systemic innovations in support of the Farm-to-Fork Strategy" - subtopic E. Reducing food losses and waste at every stage of the food chain including consumption, while also avoiding unsustainable packaging (IA).

Transition towards zero waste and emissions from food production to consumption needs the involvement of all actors of society, along with their capacity to link and create suitable collaboration, data exchange and value sharing patterns. Hence, ways of inciting and facilitating collaboration within and across food eco-systems is key. Notably, Circular Economy (CE) success stories also evidence the need for an economic return on investment (ROI), in order to sufficiently motivate companies, stakeholders and investors[1], emphasising a shift in thinking about value propositions, as well incentives and benefits needed for all stakeholders including consumers.

ZEROW takes a cross sectoral view and focus in accelerating progress towards zero waste and carbon neutrality from food production to consumption by building on successful smaller-scale initiatives, effectively linking best practices, improving and augmenting them with supportive tooling, automation and financial ROI models to the point that they become viable and reproducible. This will be facilitated by DIHs that will accelerate digital transformation in the agri-food sector, especially regarding local food production and short food supply chain delivery, to further exploit innovative agri-food value chains, by:

  • providing technologies and platforms for: (i) increasing short food supply chain process and data exchange automation, (ii) increasing transparency in supply chains, (iii) enabling traceability of products and producers/farmers, (iv) product certification, (v) preventing fraud in local food supply, (vi) managing resilience;
  • exploring benefits of Big Data (creating data warehouses/lakes) from farmers and food producers and using data for reporting, visualization, analytics, decision making in short food supply chains or production processes;
  • simplifying exploitation of modern ICT technologies hosted by the Linked RDIHs by: (i) providing farmers with IT infrastructure as plug-and-play solutions, (ii) acting as data aggregator for all involved parties, making sure that data is being stored and processed accordingly, with data security and data ownership secured, (iii) providing technical and business development skills in advancing existing businesses and exploring new ones.

ZEROW will adopt a systemic and synergetic development approach that encompasses value and supply chains in their entirety and engages all stakeholders involved, including consumers.

  1. Food production optimization and control, supported by data driven financial and business modelling services as well as real time decision-making using predictive and prescriptive services for demand and supply matching, emphasising proximity to geographic markets and associated synchromodal transport options.
  2. Explore food waste by increasing shelf-life addressing complexities in supply chains and consumer behaviour
  3. Innovative packaging technologies and materials – smart packaging
  4. IoT-driven RES distribution optimisation in support of specialised food production chains
  5. Optimisation of short food supply chain process based on data sharing increasing transparency in and between supply chains
  6. Engage major food retailers in adopting and promoting the ZEROW approach
  7. New incentive mechanisms within individual short food supply chains platforms and for broader collaboration of food chain actors implemented in a ZEROW Data Marketplace
  8. Enable traceability of products and producers/farmers including its origins in terms of quality of natural resources and other sources of data
  9. Build in a carbon foot-print indicator for food items and promote alignment with interactions initiatives and standardisation
  10. Assuring proof of product certification, and preventing fraud in local food supply
  11. Support of all the above by networked Food DIHs across Europe providing novel tools to enable simulation based validation of technical and economic viability of innovation models and short supply chains

[1] Ghisellini, Patrizia, Catia Cialani, and Sergio Ulgiati. "A review on circular economy: the expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems." Journal of Cleaner Production 114 (2016): 11-32.