Thick, crooked, or otherwise irregularly shaped carrots are just one example of a resource that is lost in the step between production and grocery trade.
Shells, irregularly shaped vegetables, and meat by-products are only a few examples of resources in Swedish primary production and food industry that are underutilized. For instance, half of the meat by-products from beef and pork are used for biogas or feed, even though they could become food for humans. Significant volumes of vegetables are discarded before they even reach the store – because of appearance, e.g., incorrect size. The reason for this waste of resources is often the low profitability of these types of raw materials. This is due to, for example, a lack of infrastructure and logistics, the fact that buyers have high standards of appearance, or that some by-products are difficult to process.
In the Blood & Roots project, Axfoundation is working with partners to map and assess the potential of raw materials that have previously become waste, biogas, or feed. The project, led by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, investigates the risk, profitability, and environmental impact of various underutilized resources in vegetable farming and meat production.
At Torsåker Farm, Axfoundation’s center for the sustainable food systems of the future, new foods will be developed from raw materials or resources that are safe and environmentally sustainable. The ambition is to contribute to tasty and healthy food served in the public sector, for example in schools or retirement homes.
Almost a third of all food produced globally is currently wasted or lost along the food chain. This is an enormous waste of resources that also causes major environmental impacts and climate emissions.
– Elvira Molin, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute
Veronica Öhrvik leads Axfoundation's efforts in the Blood & Roots initiative.
At Torsåker Farm, Axfoundation’s innovation and development team will focus on developing new food products, putting emphasis on the products’ taste and consumer acceptance. The total nutritional value and environmental impact will also be considered. The work will be done in close collaboration with sensory experts at Ipsos to develop products that suit the project’s target groups – younger and older people. The development is still in its infancy, but the ambition is to produce new foods in 2024.
Thanks to our test kitchens and our strong innovation and development team at Torsåker Farm, we are well-suited to develop products that can be used by, for example, school kitchens or retirement homes.
– Veronica Öhrvik, Project Manager Future Food, Axfoundation
The project is run by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and is carried out in collaboration with Axfoundation, the association Matsvinnet, Ipsos and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) / Department of Energy and Technology.