Reducing Food Waste with Maths


In Europe, over 58 million tonnes of food are discarded annually: a staggering one-third of all produced food. This squanders the valuable proteins, sugars, and vitamins in these byproducts. Researchers have devised ground-breaking software to help the food industry pinpoint what byproducts can be recycled, and determine the most efficient method to do so.

For instance, a French Fry producer can generate three tons of potato peels every hour. Traditionally destined for pig farms, these peels can now be redirected to create medicines, cosmetics, and biofertilisers. The innovative software evaluates various processing methods, taking into account environmental, social, and economic considerations. For example, the optimisation algorithm diverts byproducts to anaerobic digestion instead of animal feed, which greater benefits in compost and biogas production.

By collaborating with universities and knowledge centres, the industry aims to maximize the value of these byproducts, transitioning towards a circular, biobased economy. Such initiatives are crucial for meeting EU targets of reducing food waste by 10% within seven years.

The Model2Bio project related to this research was completed in 2023.


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