The FRESH-DEMO project, which aimed at waste reduction and quality improvement of fruits and vegetables along the entire post-harvest supply chain, was successfully concluded in February 2017
FRESH-DEMO has been a project financed by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, in which BIOAZUL has participated both as partner and administrative coordinator.
By means of ultrasonic humidification and a natural sanitizer for disinfection, a cool, humid and germ-free climate was successfully established to preserve the quality and freshness of fruits and vegetables (i.e. strawberries, peaches, nectarines, table grapes, cauliflower, escarole, lettuce and asparagus) along the entire post-harvest supply chain, which significantly contributed to the reduction of food waste.
The project – launched in March 2017 – has generated valuable results for the food industry (and the different phases in the food supply chain), including:
- Food waste reduction of 25% in the van Gurp supermarket (3.35%-2.25% of the total turnover of products)
- Longer shelf-life of the humidified products with Formula5 than non-treated products (up to 5 days with table grapes), better appearance and higher nutrients content
- Cost savings of 20% due to lower energy consumption in comparison with conventional cooling systems (up to 1,400€ in the selected supermarket) and reduced labour required (as products can remain on the display and do not need to be stored in the cold room at nights) (up to 2,140€)
- Net present value up to 500,000€ for a supermarket’s display of 25 m2 with fruit/vegetables sold in 15 years when applying UH in the post-harvest
- Environmental impact reduced up to 27% compared to conventional supply chains
- Experience in the installation of 12 prototypes and 6 testing activities
- Organisation of 21 workshops and 8 attended, attendance to 15 fairs (10 with a project stand), presentations at 6 conferences, published articles, press releases, newsletters, flyers, manuals, posters, banners, promotional video, time-lapses, website and social media
Furthermore, the positive project outcomes have led to launching into the market a new product (mobile UH, Dosing unit & Tank unit), new process (transport of humidified fresh products from farm to/and including the supermarket) & new method (using antimicrobial additive in humidifiers).
Among the activities performed by BIOAZUL, our team organised and carried out the international transportation of strawberries from Palos de la Frontera (Huelva) to Bremerhaven (Germany) applying the humidification technology. Moreover, our experts coordinated different tests with lettuces in cold rooms in two specific facilities of Valencia and Huelva. As well, BIOAZUL carried out all the tasks related to administrative coordination of the project.
Currently, BIOAZUL is working in the promotion and dissemination of the project results as well as in the introduction of this technology – widely spread in Europe – at national scale, creating synergies with other institutions interested and committed to improve the food supply chain efficiency and to reduce food waste. This will undoubtedly translate into the increase of competitiveness in the fruit and vegetable sector in Spain.