Every year, 1.3 billion metric tons of food is produced for human consumption in the world. A third of it never reaches the consumer’s plate. To achieve UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12, we need to halve global food waste by 2030. In developing countries, food waste can be up to 50%. Even in developed countries with a “cool chain”, post harvest losses can still range from 4 – 8%.
Cooling is not the complete answer to postharvest product loss. Any new solutions should be non-chemical, energy efficient and cost-effective to meet demands for safe, nutritious, and affordable food.
At ADAS, our goal is to develop and trial new solutions to help businesses increase their productivity by reducing food waste. We work with stakeholders across the supply chain, from primary production through to retail, by acting as an essential link between industry and the research community.
The ability to suspend ripening is key to being able to smooth out the peaks and troughs of grower supply to meet consumer demand. It works effectively in commercial supply chains and can extend shelf life for up to 7 days compared with cool chain alone. The technology can also extend shelf life in higher climates. For example, it has been used to produce cut flowers in Kenya.
For a project in Nigeria, we investigated low energy, cost-effective ripening suspension methods to extend the shelf life of tomatoes. Effective solutions discovered included:
Our CleanG trial site in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire is a commercial pack house facility that can be used for direct industry scale trials or investigations. It allows us to monitor the condition of all types of fresh produce and test out new methods of post-harvest management.
For past projects, we have used the facility to: