Interreg Food Heroes

Food Heroes

The task at hand: food waste. According to the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization), a third of the food that produced worldwide, is wasted. This is an enormous loss of valuable resources, especially in light of a growing world population and environmental problems.

Each year in the Netherlands, 150 kg of food per person is lost. The last couple of year the attention for the food waste topic has increased, mostly focusing on the end of the production chain, at retailers and consumers.

However, also at the very beginning of the production chain, during agricultural production and processing, many losses occur. Examples are second and third grade fruits and vegetables, male animals and by-products. Oyster mushrooms are entirely edible, but the stems are being used as animal feed; apples and pears that don't have the right size and colour, won't be sold in the supermarket as fresh produce; the meat of young male goats are not sold to consumers; day-old male chickens of the layer-type, are hatched, but sorted and killed immediately.

Solutions for waste streams

Currently, the larger part of the food production chain focuses on first grade produce that can be sold in the supermarket. Anyting that doesn't comply with the quality demands of the retail, is hardly appreciated, while often it still are perfectly edible products. This focus on a very small part of the production makes that farmers are aiming to produce as much grade A products and have little to no interest in second or third grade items, let alone by-products. These are percieved as mere costs.

In order to start using the 'lesser' products, solutions that create added value for these items are much needed. We need a change in thinking to convert the one-sided appreciation of our food. Parties that do want to start working on these kind of solutions, are swimming upstream against current efficiency-believes. That's why we call these parties 'heroes'. They're the 'Food Heroes' of our time and the people we want to support with this INTERREG supported Food Heroes project. We want to help them find unexpected ideas and valuable innovative thoughts, together with the creative industry.


Food Heroes project

International project

For 3.5 years, In Ovo works together with a wide range of agricultural, creative and scientific parties from different European countries. We share similar problems and expect to benefti from each others experience and together work on solutions for sectors 'Vegetable and fruit', Male animals' and 'Fishery'.

ZLTO is leadpartner, other partners in this project are (NL) province of Noord-Brabant, Dutch Design Foundation, In Ovo, Greenco Packing, (BE) Innovatiesteunpunt, Flanders Food, Flanders DC, (DE) Spessart Regional, Fachhochschule Fulda, (FR) AC3A, Laval Mayenne Technopole, Technopole Quimper Cornouailles, (United Kingdom) Lincoln University, (Ierland) Irish Fishery Agency, Clean Technology Centre.

Steering committee LIB is co-financier.

Food Heroes Award

In 2019, In Ovo was awarded with the Food Heroes Award in the category male animals. During an award show in Rennes during the CFIA Expo 2019, audience and the finalists, dressed as actual superheroes, listened to EU commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, who explained about the importance of food waste reduction. As head of the Food Heroes jury, he announced the three winning Food Hero projects. We're verry eggcited and proud we won this prestigious title!