The second additional call is targeted on Advancing Resource Management, Market and Socioeconomic aspects in the Blue Bioeconomy Value Chains
The scope of the call is to fund projects that aim to facilitate research and innovation to underpin sustainable and circular management and use of natural resources and to also address the market and socioeconomic aspect of the value chain.
9 funding organisations from 8 countries have contributed a budget of approx. 8 million EUR to the additional call. The following partner countries will provide funds: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Malta and Norway. All projects are open to partners from all countries, as far as they bring their own funds and provide a letter of commitment stating this as part of the full proposal submission.
Each project must include at least three partners from three countries and at least one industry partner.
There is an option to find partners on European level.
Last week, the FarFish consortium attended the fourth and final FarFish annual meeting. The meeting, which was originally scheduled to take place Brussels, was eventually held online for the second time in a row due to covid related travel restrictions.
FarFish key researchers and stakeholders from all over the world used the three-day event to discuss achievements and progress of the project. As the FarFish project recently got a 6-month extension due to covid related-restrictions, the event was further used to carefully plan for the final 6 months of the FarFish project.
Just like last year, the FarFish consortium was forced to rely on their internet connections for the forth and final FarFish annual meeting which took place on 25th-27th of May. Due to covid and related travel restrictions, FarFish partners unfortunately were not able to travel to meet in person as originally planned, but were sat down in front of their computers for the three-day event. The first day was dedicated to various working group meetings, as well as discussions on theFarFish CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA), which is currently under development. The CWA standard, named Good practice guidelines for developing management recommendations for the EU fleet operating outside European waters, is one of many FarFish’s outputs. The second draft of the CWA document will be published July 1st, after which, all interested stakeholders get the opportunity to review and comment on its content by 1st September 2021. The publishing of the draft and information about the commenting phase will be advertised through FarFish’s website and other main communication channels. Further details are available on the official CEN page of the project.
For the remaining two days of the annual meeting, researchers and other participants, including FarFish case study leaders, discussed the progress made and organised the work and tasks for the remaining 6 months of the project. Apart from delivering many key research outputs of the project over the coming months, the consortium will also organise and host various exciting events and conferences. This includes theconference on The External Dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy, which will take place this week, June 1st and 2nd, an online workshop on small-pelagics and environmental forcing West of Africa at the end of June, and the Final Symposium, which will be held in Brussels in November.
Without seeing each other’s faces for over a year, the FarFish consortium is extremely excited to come together in Brussels in November to share their exciting results with the rest of the world!
The aquaculture unit at Matís takes part in variety of research and innovation initiatives, including experimenting with alternative protein sources and functional additives in fish feed. Matís is equipped with a research aquaculture station, chemical-, microbial-, genetic-, texture-, and spectroscopy laboratories, as well as sensory analysis experts which makes Matís uniquely competent as a partner in development of aquaculture feed.
Many of the largest feed producers in the world are among Matís’ customers in this field, as there are relatively few parties in the world that can offer growth and digestibility experiments, measurements of the effect of feed on the chemical and physical properties of the fish, and sensory evaluation. One of Matís’ customers in this field is the Austrian company Agrana, which produces a wide range of food and feed. Among the products they are currently developing is Betaine, which is mostly made from sugar beets, and it is claimed to have positive effects on the growth and quality of animals, including in aquaculture. Agrana has now obtained a patent for the active ingredient ActiBeet® and this winter it contracted Matís to run trials with ActiBeet® as ingredient in feed for white-legged shrimp (warm-water shrimp). The results of the experiment were positive and now Agrana is in the process of disseminating the results among feed and aquaculture producers around the world. This establishes how Matís’ research has an impact around the world and contributes to increasing value for partners, and improving food security, food safety and public health for society as a whole.
Further information can be found on Agrana’s website and there you can register for the online presentation that will take place at Arana on May 19th.
The results from the Icelandic marine monitoring activities in 2020 on undesirable substances in seafood have been made available in an online report. The monitoring has been an ongoing project since 2003 and Matis ohf. collects and disseminates the data.
The main aim of this project is to gather data and evaluate the status of Icelandic seafood products in terms of undesirable substances and to utilise the data to estimate the exposure of consumers to these substances from Icelandic seafood and risks related to public health.
The results show that in regard to the maximum levels set in the regulation, the edible parts of Icelandic seafood products contain negligible amounts of dioxins, dioxin like and non-dioxin-like PCBs. In fact, all samples of seafood analysed in 2020 were below EC maximum levels.
The EIT Food communication project Smart Tags came recently to an end. This was a one-year project that had the objective study and communicate the applicability of Smart Tags as means to increase consumer trust towards food products. These Smart Tags are “intelligent” labels that can provide consumers with information which regular food labelling cannot. Smart Tags can therefore contribute to sharing information about the food product value chain during the whole life-cycle of the product, enabling novel service concepts and interactivity between consumers and the food industry. Now at the end of the project it is worthwhile to review what was accomplished during the project and how the results can live on beyond the project lifetime.
The project was broken into six tasks, one on management, one on dissemination and the other four tasks were then interlinked; starting with a review of the available Smart Tag technologies and their usage in food value chains, which provided input to a task that focused on assessing consumers’ and other stakeholders’ needs and expectations towards Smart Tags. These then provided valuable input to a task that studied potential novel service concepts that rely on Smart Tag technologies; a task that resulted in identification of 19 Smart Tag enabled service concepts. The most applicable of these concepts were then pre-piloted in selected food value chains in the final task.
The task of reviewing the available Smart Tag technologies and their usage in food value chains was quite extensive. It focused on the available technologies in the domain of intelligent packaging and their enablers and barriers towards consumer acceptance and trust. Three main components of intelligent packaging technology were identified (indicator, sensor and data carrier) and synthesised their most widely found sub-components in literature which include time temperature indicator, freshness indicator, gas indicator, biosensor, gas sensor, barcode and RFID. The task concluded that despite a large number of research work being done in the domain of active and intelligent packaging, there are limited empirical studies that investigated consumer acceptance or trust towards intelligent packaging technologies. The tasks therefore also looked at the technologies proposed for supply chain traceability as it has a similar aim as intelligent packaging which is communication. The tasks also studied the main barriers for intelligent devices in food packaging, and concluded that consumers’ acceptance, legal constrains and some technical issues present a major barrier for wider uptake of Smart Tag solutions in food value chains. The results of this task will be presented in a peer-reviewed journal article that is planned to be published in 2021.
The task that focused on assessing consumers’ and other stakeholders’ needs and expectations towards Smart Tags was as well very comprehensive. It used results from the previous task as input and further analysed the needs and requirements of consumers and suppliers. This work included in-depth interviews with suppliers in nine countries, focus group sessions in five countries and a wide scale consumer surveys in eight countries. The project has in total received direct input on consumer’s and stakeholder needs and expectations from over 4 thousand people. The results of this work will be presented in a journal article that is planned to be published in 2021. The overall conclusion is that Smart Tags have the potential to meet with many of the consumer’s and supplier’s needs, and that there is a willingness amongst consumers to pay a premium for such solutions.
The task that studied potential novel service concepts that rely on Smart Tag technologies analysed in-depth the potentials, as well as Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Treats associated with the different Smart Tag solutions. The task identified and analysed in total 19 novel Smart Tag enabled service concepts. The results of this work will be presented in a journal article that is planned to be published in 2021. Building on the results of the previous tasks, the most applicable and promising solutions were pre-piloted in the final task. The Smart Tag solutions were selected based on different criteria, depending on the needs in the different value chains and the maturity of the available technologies. The smart Tag technologies pre-piloted were a Nitrogen Smart Tag indicator which was piloted by MATIS (Iceland), AZTI (Spain) and KU Leuven (Belgium) to indicate freshness of different food items. The technology showed particular potentials in seafood value chains, which will be further explored beyond the project. An NFC Smart Tag Temperature logger was also pre-piloted by VTT (FI) and MATIS (IS) but this technology allows consumers and suppliers to monitor temperature of food during logistics and transport. Many fresh and frozen food items are delegate towards temperature, which makes this technology very relevant. The NFC logger pre-piloted in this project was though believed to be more relevant for professionals in the value chains (business-to-business) than for regular consumers, as the temperature readings require expert knowledge to interpreted into quality parameters and shelf-life. The project did also pre-pilot Oxygen Smart Tag indicators which for example can inform consumers and other stakeholders if packaging is leaking. The oxygen indicators were pre-piloted by AZTI (Spain) and LU Leuven (Belgium). The final Smart Tag that was pre-piloted was a ‘Wine Cap’ Tag which provides a unique electronic identity for bottles and other containers. By scanning the label with a smart phone, the consumer can see when and where the wine was grown and bottled as well as get information such as tasting notes and food pairings. The label also includes a temperature indicator which lets the user know when the wine is the ideal temperature to drink.
The Smart Tags project was classified as a communication project, which means that one of its kay objectives was to communicate to consumers and stakeholders in food value chains what Smart Tags are, how they can be used, what tags are already available and what tags are in development, how they can add value etc. The project met this objective by interacting directly with over four thousand consumers and suppliers, reaching close to seven thousand people as ’media audience’ and over 40 thousand through ’online media impressions’.
The project is now officially finished, but the project’s legacy will still live on through further research & innovation, as well as through scientific peer-reviewed papers as at least four papers are planned to be published in 2021, based on work done in the Smart Tags project.
Fifty students with various study backgrounds from all around Europe participated in the Venture Creation School that took place between October 23 and November 14.
A total of 8 teams were formed around 5 main topics reflecting the innovation focus areas of EIT FOOD: Alternative protein, Sustainable agriculture, sustainable aquaculture, Targeted nutrition and Circular food system.
The teams went through the different stages of innovation and entrepreneurial mindset throughout the 3 weeks from the framing of the challenge, ideation and brainstorming, solution selection, business canvas introduction and finally pitching the idea.
The ideas where reviewed by a jury composed of Kristjana Björk Bjarðdal, Antoine Harfouche and Lauri Reuter.
We also had the chance to have local speaker from Iceland sharing their entrepreneurial journey with our students, like Þór Sigfússon from the Ocean cluster in Reykjavík and Renata Bade young entrepreneur and CEO of GreenBytes.
The winning team of this small competition has one member located in Reykjavík, James McDaniels, and they are very eager to have their idea seeing the light of the day: Wabi-sabi!
The Smart Tags EIT food project is a one-year communication project that is about to finish in few days. The project was set to increase consumer trust towards food products by sharing information about the food product value chain during the whole life-cycle of the product, enabling novel service concepts and interactivity between consumers and the food industry. Now at the end of the project the coordinator, Kaisa Vehmas from VTT in Finland, looks in the rear-view mirror to give a constructive overview of the project’s progress and its successes, as well as challenges.
What a year!… When we started the SmartTags project on Feb 2020, we did not know what kind of year was head of us. We kicked-off online, started to know each other step-by-step, even if it was very different compared to face-to-face meeting.
The Smart Tags communication project was set to increase consumer trust towards food products by sharing information about the food product value chain during the whole life cycle of the product, enabling novel service concepts and interactivity between consumers and the food industry. Our aim was to screen and evaluate the suitability of different technologies available in the market and understand the needs and expectations of consumers towards how and where interactivity is valued.
The SmartTags consortium included partners from seven different countries: Finland, Belgium, Iceland, Israel, Poland, Spain, and UK.
We planned to meet different people from the food value chain. But, most of the year we have worked remotely, from home. However, we have done a lot. Due to the communication type of project, we were not aiming to develop any novel technologies but we gathered our knowledge and implemented a literature review to find if there are other solutions that we are not experienced yet.
We define smart tags as items that will dynamically change their status in response to a variety of factors and will be seamlessly tracked during their lifecycle. We have divided them in three groups: sensors, indicators, data carriers.
Indicators are devices that convey information associated with the presence or absence of a substance, the amount of the substance, or the degree of interaction between two or more substances (Chowdhury and Morey 2019).
Sensors are used to detect a wider range of chemicals inside food packages with greater functionalities. Sensors provide continuous output of signals.
Data carriers are used as a medium to support traceability of products.
Time temperature indicators Freshness indicators Gas indicators Nitrogen indicator
Biosensors Gas sensors
We interacted with stakeholders, by interviewing totally 24 company representatives from all the different participating countries. These interviews were conducted to find out the opinions and experiences of experts regarding Smart Tags and issues related to them; new technologies, consumer communication and consumer trust. According to stakeholders, the biggest motivator for using smart tags is cost, with the benefits of traceability and proof of freshness. In addition, the smart tags should create additional value for consumers.
Consumer felt that the smart tags would add value to the food products by increasing trust and confidence. They liked the possibility to get more information about the food products, increased traceability and helping to decide what to buy. They saw the smart tags also valuable to people with allergies who need or want more information on processing or ingredients.
In the SmartTags project, we developed and evaluated different concepts that would benefit from using smart tags. Some of these concepts were for different food product categories, like fish, meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, beverages, and dairy products. These examples were mainly related to product traceability, and food parameters monitoring. However, there are also some other possibilities for smart tags. In addition, we defined concepts for warehouse management, and logistics, and they could help the stakeholders to create an interactive communication channel with consumers.
During the SmartTags project, we were able to pilot some smart tags solutions in the lab scale. We prepared the nitrogen and oxygen indicators at VTT. These are based on 2D bar codes that have colour-changing areas. Because these types of smart tags are sensitive to environmental conditions, they are dynamic, but they also enable context aware services, as each of them can be unique. Spoiling fish creates nitrogen that can be detected from the package headspace with indicators reacting to changes in environmental conditions (e.g. presence of nitrogen) with visual colour change. The blue bar at the bottom of the code appears when in contact with nitrogen. The reading software can detect colour change in the indicator area. The oxygen indicator is based on the same technical principle as the nitrogen indicator. The third pre-pilot was the temperature logger to monitor temperature history of package. This type of logger can be used to track the temperature of the packaged item to boost sustainable and safe transport as well as storage of temperature sensitive products. This solution is based on an extremely thin NFC temperature monitoring IC for logging and communication, and indicator LEDs for indication of logging and threshold temperature. Temperature data can be accessed via Android application as a user interface.
The results from all these topics are described more in detail in other press releases and reports that can be found from the project web site. Next, we would like to be able to test and evaluate the smart tags solutions in large scale, with real use cases. EIT Food SmartTags has been an exceptional project. During the whole project, we have not been able to meet each other face-to-face. Still, we have received a lot. Looking forward to continue this work in coming projects. Successful and happy New Year!
The SmartTags project has placed considerable efforts into exploring consumer needs and expectations when it comes to implementing Smart Tags solutions in food value chains. The project has been getting better understanding of what consumers consider added value enabled by Smart Tags. To be able to do this, we must put ourselves in scenarios that might be familiar with the consumer.
You are shopping in your local store and you intend to have fish for dinner. In the fish section there are variety of species on offer and you start browsing for what seems to be most fresh, but you struggle to valuate that. All the fish in the store is prepacked fillets and there is little information regarding how old or fresh the fish actually is, when it was caught or processed. The prepacked fish is only labelled by “use by” dates, as the regulation demands. You try to estimate the colour of the fillet through the packaging, but you can’t smell it and you can hardly feel the texture through the packaging. Moreover, since it is filleted, you can’t use the good freshness indicators of eyes nor colour of the gills.
Many of us are familiar with this scenario where the consumer has little or no indicators to estimate how fresh the prepacked fish really is, but there might be a solution around the corner. Methylamine compounds, particularly trimethylamine oxide (TMA-O), occur in tissues of marine organisms. With storage, that gets oxidised with help of microorganism to trimethylamine (TMA) which has been related to giving the typical fishy smell and to spoilage of the product.
But how can this be important to the consumer in the store? Well, in the SmartTag project we are looking into TMA indicators, that reacts to certain levels of TMA in the packaging and change colour. Not only change colour but direct the consumer to another homepage from the one that he gets directed to if the fish is fresh when the label is scanned by a consumer with a smartphone. Smart tags like this could support the consumer in making an informed decision when buying prepacked fish products.
The University of Reading has recently finished two feeding trials, one with dairy cows and another with beef cattle. Currently Matís personnel is in full force preparing and analysing the chemical and nutrient content of the meat and milk.
Additionally, the products will undergo sensory and texture analysis to investigate whether seaweed in the feed can affect these attributes. The University of Reading has already carried out sensory analysis of the dairy products where first results indicate that astute consumers might be able to taste the difference if these products were to enter the market. The remaining question is – will the trained sensory panel at Matís taste a difference of the meat?
With the project coming to an end soon the SeaCH4NGE research team is looking forward to compiling and scrutinising all the results from the project.
Below are some pictures from the research process.