Wageningen University is the only university in Holland to focus specifically on the theme ‘healthy food and living environment’, working in tandem with governments and the business community to make the world a better place. It has been named best university in Holland for 11 consecutive years and its students and professors are at the forefront of some of the most innovative projects and its Innovation Development Centre works extensively on processes of innovation and change through facilitating innovation, brokering knowledge and supporting capacity development.
Wageningen UR has kindly supplied the following four speakers for our seminar programme:
Phenomenal phenomics – new ways to determine quality
A collaborative research project is focusing on post-harvest, non-destructive quality assessments using robots, and modelling quality deterioration in the chain
Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research explores and develops advanced technologies for objective, automated, fast and non-destructive quality control of fruits, vegetables and other crops together with industrial partners. The key goal of the research project Quality Phenomics is to develop new methods to measure quality and predict quality deterioration of vegetable and fruit products. Rick van de Zedde, a senior researcher/ business developer for Computer Vision at the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research will explain the vision of the project, which is a close collaboration between three different fields of expertise within Wageningen UR and several plant-breeding companies, growers, fresh-produce processors and technology providers.
Reducing food waste is no pipe dream
There are a lot of shrugged shoulders and exasperated sighs when food waste gets mentioned. But research and development projects are shining a light on a less wasteful future.
The amount of good food that is wasted in Holland adds up to billions of euros per year and the biggest culprit is the final consumer. Roughly half of all of the food wastage each year happens in people’s homes, which means of course that the other half is wasted upstream somewhere along the supply chain. Joost Snels, Senior Scientist Supply Chain Management, Wageningen University & Research argues that this is not just a waste of money, but also a waste of the valuable resources that were used producing and transporting the food. Joost says that strategies that can have a real impact on minimising food waste often transcend the links in the chain and are there to be challenged. But research at Wageningen UR shows that reductions of 40-50% are not only possible, they are also well within reach.
Minimising waste in the supply chain – the importance of an integrated approach
Wageningen Research is building a mobile post-harvest research lab to raise the knowledge and practice levels in emerging countries
In many developing countries, a lot of time and effort is devoted to the production process, in order to increase yields. However, the post-harvest part of the supply chain through to the consumer is somehow forgotten, often leading to loss of product through a deterioration in quality. Peter Ravensbergen, programme manager, Food Security, at Wageningen UR, will explain why he wants to see more investment in quality-driven agrologistics, and highlight the tools Wageningen Research has developed to support governments and companies in the design and implementation of supply chain management strategies. The approach combines technology, (chain) organisation and knowledge development.
The glass half full approach to low fresh produce consumption
Rather than taking a pessimistic view of consumption levels for our products, the industry should be looking for ways to increase access and take advantage of healthy eating awareness levels.
Herman Peppelenbos, Programme Manager Customised Food, Wageningen University & Research, specialising in consumer-driven product development, with a strong focus on healthy and sustainable food. As in many counties, there is little correlation in Holland between the awareness that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy and actual consumption of the products this industry produces. Herman believes that with a new approach this problem can be solved. The key challenge, he argues, is to increase the availability of convenient and attractive products at non-traditional eating moments and at out-of-home locations. Recent studies have showed the potential of this approach and Herman encourages the produce industry to see low consumption as a big opportunity, rather than a problem.