There is a consensus today that human activities are having a massive impact on the climate system and biodiversity with unforeseeable consequences for our own livelihoods. Doing business sustainably means securing these foundations for future generations as well. Food processing and upstream primary agricultural production are closely linked to these far-reaching connections. The vision is that the required resources such as raw materials, soil, water, atmosphere and energy are used carefully and sparingly along the entire food value chain.
The range of measures that the Food Cluster of Lower Austria initiates in the industry in order to follow this vision is extensive. They range from the sustainable control of pests in the fields to the avoidance and recycling of residues at the end of the food life cycle. In order to increase energy efficiency and reduce the environmental footprint, every operational activity must be scrutinized. In addition to avoiding CO2 emissions wherever possible, adapting to changing climatic conditions is also of great importance, especially in agriculture.
Numerous building blocks have already been implemented to realize this vision:
- In the “MIKAP” project, microbiological alternatives to synthetic sprout inhibitors were tested in the storage of potatoes. Sponsor: The “Collective Research” program of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)
- The “Klimatech” project investigated whether changing climatic conditions can be taken into consideration by using alternative types of grain such as sorghum, millet and amaranth. Sponsor: FFG program “Collective Research”
- In the “Energy4Food” innovation camp for digital energy management, companies in the food industry gained qualifications in issues of energy recovery and the possible uses of digital measurement management. Sponsor: FFG
- The “AÖLI” project surveyed which food residues accumulate in processing companies in order to create the basis for new possible uses. Sponsors: Packaging Coordination Office vks
- In the “Stop Waste - Save Food” project, new paths were taken to reduce food waste with innovative packaging solutions. Sponsor: FFG program “Collective Research”
The current challenges include converting the often small-structured food industry into a sustainable production method and at the same time maintaining a secure long-term income base for agriculture and downstream areas that are severely affected by the consequences of climate change.