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Circular Agrifood

What is Circular Agrifood?

Circular Agrifood is a process of producing food, where there is a closed-loop system that optimises the use of resources and reduces waste. It involves reusing or recycling materials throughout the food production cycle. The approach focuses on sustainable agriculture, waste reduction, and circular economy principles in the production and consumption of food.

Worldwide one third of food produced every year (1.3 billion tonnes) is lost or wasted. Food waste has a global carbon footprint of about 8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans.

Waste occurs along the entire supply chain from farms to processing and manufacturing to shops, restaurants and at home. The first step is nearly always reduction, the smaller the waste streams the better. Next, new technologies, markets and collaborations can help farmers, producers, and retailers find innovative ways to repurpose their waste streams.

Increasingly, small scale operations seeking to repurpose waste streams have been cropping up. This offers encouragement that circular agrifood business models are gaining traction. However, the scale is still quite small, and many barriers exist. In particular, the high implementation costs are too much for individual stakeholders to bare alone. Although awareness for waste stream upcycling is growing, it remains uncharted territory resulting in general uncertainty and lack of commitment on the way forward. Also, conservative markets with traditional supply chains are unwilling to alter established, highly profitable methods based on cheap, though often unsustainable, raw resources. Foodvalley NL is currently exploring ways to accelerate the uptake of waste streams in food production.

Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative agriculture is an integrative farming approach that aims to restore and enhance the health of ecosystems and agricultural systems. It goes beyond sustainable farming practices by actively working to improve soil health, increase biodiversity and promote resilience to environmental challenges. Regenerative agricultural practices include, amongst others, minimised tillage, cover crops and the use of perennials.  

“We are at a starting point of a practice journey to a circular agrifood economy where regenerative sourcing, upcycling of sidestreams and using insects as upcyclers are elements that support this system. Come and innovate with us!”

Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel, Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood

The Upcycling Community

The Upcycling Community is an international and closed group of business partners that collaborate on the topic ‘upcycling of food losses’. The community setting creates a safe environment where organizations can share ideas, get inspired on new developments and insights from the market and research. The Upcycling Community exists of business partners who are ambitious about upcycling, come from various parts of the value chain, and vary from scale-up to SME and Corporate organization.

Get in touch! Caroline Duivenvoorden, Programme Manager Circular Agrifood.

Initiatives

Upcycled Food and Ingredients Position Paper  

Foodvalley is working with Upcycling Community partners and other stakeholders on a position paper on Upcycled Food and Ingredients. The position paper will seek alignment between various stakeholders on the definition of upcycled food and ingredients, their attributed values, and how these should be communicated in the industry — all the way up to the consumer.

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UPcycled4Food Initiative  

Upcycled products and ingredients should be widely adopted by food manufacturers, on supermarket shelves and food service offerings. That’s the ambition of the new Upcycled4Food Initiative, launched by Foodvalley’s Upcycling Community.

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Regenerative Innovation Portfolio

Relevant for
Regenerative Agriculture

We believe that the solution to transition agricultural practices by farmers lies in cross value chain collaboration, where all partners work together in facilitating the farmer, put in the central, to transition towards regenerative practices. This is not an agricultural transition but more a value chain transition that needs a collaborative approach to come to scale. 

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Insects for Food

Relevant for
Insects

Insects are a good source of protein and champion the valorisation of waste streams that are otherwise difficult to valorise. At the same time, insects as a raw material are not yet economically viable to use and legislation currently often still prohibits their use for human consumption. Therefore, Foodvalley is working to set up a successful showcase that is possible within legal boundaries.

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Dutch Protein Farmers

Relevant for
Protein self sufficiency

This initiative seeks to improve the economic viability of locally produced crops in the Netherlands by bringing together protein crop farmers, creating critical mass and increasing valuation by the end users. This approach helps to organise a better value chain position for the farmers by, for instance, exploring the cooperative selling of their product as well as equipment sharing. This would result in a first national cooperation of growers of leguminous crops moving from niche to critical mass.

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S3Food

The aim of the pan-European Smart Specialisation Strategy Food (S3Food) Partnership is to set-up a platform and supportive business ecosystem between agri-food clusters and clusters representing technology and/or digital solution providers, relevant RTOs and other stakeholders. Foodvalley NL takes part in the S3Food partnership to accelerate the digital transition. In combination with the research organisation One Planet, research & development and business communities are connected.

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BioeconomyVentures

Foodvalley’s Bioeconomy Ventures program connects startups and established businesses in the bioeconomy sector to resources that help accelerate their growth and success, including access to funding, industry networks, expertise, and facilities, in order to drive the development of a sustainable bio-based economy. In addition, Foodvalley organises two Expand & Explore Workshops. These are workshops where a number of startups from Foodvalley’s ecosystem are given the opportunity to pitch their innovation in front of investors.

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FAQ Circular Agrifood