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Sustainable Food Systems Means Improving Production and Processing

By: , Posted on: August 31, 2017

Until the end of the 20th century, food loss and disposal of food waste were not evaluated as matters of concern. The prevalent policy was mainly to increase food production, without improving the efficiency of the food systems. This fact increased generation of food lost or wasted along supply chains.

In the 21th century, escalating demands for processed foods have required identification of concrete opportunities to prevent depletion of natural resources, restrict energy demands, minimize economic costs as well as reduce food losses and wastes. Besides, recent changes in the legislative frameworks and environmental concerns have stimulated industry to reconsider their management policy and in some cases to face the concept of “recovery” as an opportunity.

This tendency is becoming a major item for the food industry around the world, as resources become more restricted and demand grows. Indeed, food industry is increasing attention towards sustainability, which has been has been developed into a trendy word characterizing a frame of advances and modernization in the years to come. However, sustainability is neither easy to specify nor to implement.

In theory, it reflects the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. For instance, food processing ensures that the resources required producing raw food materials and ingredients for food manufacturing are used most efficiently. Responding to this goal, sustainability requires the maximum utilization of all raw materials produced and integration of activities throughout all the production-to-consumption stages.

To maximize the conversion of raw materials into consumer products, efforts begin at the production stage, with activities to reduce postharvest losses and increase use of by-products streams (waste). Efforts continue, through food manufacturing and beyond, to ensure that energy, water, and other resources are used most efficiently and environmental impacts are minimized. Refrigeration of fresh produce is an example of an action that reduces loss and increases the edible life of the product.

Sustainable Food Systems from Agriculture to Industry: Improving Production and Processing covers the latest developments in this particular direction by providing certain solutions for industrial sustainability in spite of processing, production and waste management. It covers important aspects of the sustainable food production and processing, at all relevant stages.

The book consists of 3 parts and 12 chapters. Part A (Sustainable Food Production) includes 5 chapters. Chapter 1 provides an overview of current food production methods and describes options for making healthier foods with reduced environmental impact. Chapter 2 highlights the importance of earthworms and reveals their role in sustainable agriculture, whereas Chapter 3 elucidates the use of local plants and animals for food production, reflecting many of the challenges related to the industrial and sustainable use of biologic resources. Chapter 4 evaluates the environmental, economic and social sustainability of agro-food systems through Life Cycle approaches, whereas Chapter 5 explores the sustainability and corporate social responsibility in the food supply chain.

Part B deals with Sustainable Food Processing in 4 Chapters. Chapter 6 analyze energy saving in food processing through the use of innovative technologies (e.g. in pasteurization, sterilization, extraction, evaporation etc). Chapter 7 focus particularly on sustainable drying and chilling/freezing methods of perishable foods in the organic sector in order to maintain their high nutritional values. Chapter 8 discusses existing and alternative packaging solutions, with an ultimate goal of denoting weaknesses and opportunities to improve sustainability efficiency of the food sector. Chapter 9 describes sustainable cleaning in the food industry, highlighting Electrolyzed Water as an interesting and ecological clean-in-place reagent, whereas Chapter 10 explores the possibilities of applying microbial biosurfactants in food sanitation.

Finally, Part C (Sustainable Food Waste Management) consists of two Chapters (11 and 12) dealing with food waste reduction and recovery, respectively.

The ultimate goal of the book is to inspire the scientific community, professionals, and enterprises that aspire to optimize the efficiency of food systems and reduce environmental impact of involved industries. It is intended to support researchers, specialists, agriculturalists, chemical engineers, professionals and strategy developers working in the agro-food industry, from farm to fork.

It could be purchased by University libraries and Institutes all around the world in order to be used as a textbook and/or ancillary reading in graduates and post-graduate level multi-discipline courses dealing with sustainable food systems, agricultural and environmental science, food processing, bioresource valorization, and chemical engineering.

charis galanakis

About the author:

Charis M. Galanakis is an interdisciplinary scientist with a fast-expanding work that balances between food and environment, industry, and academia. His research targets mainly the separation and recovery of functional macro- and micromolecules from different food by-products, as well as their implementation as additives in food and other products. He is the research and innovation director of Galanakis Laboratories (Chania, Greece) and the coordinator of Food Waste Recovery Group of ISEKI Food Association (Vienna, Austria). He serves as an editorial board member and subject editor of Food and Bioproducts Processing and Food Research International, and he has edited 6 books from Academic Press: Food Waste Recovery: Processing Technologies and Industrial Techniques (2015), Innovation Strategies in the Food Industry: Tools for implementation (2016) and Nutraceutical and Functional Food Components: Effects of Innovative Processing Techniques (2017), Olive Mill Waste: Recent advances for the Sustainable Management (2017), Handbook of Grape Processing By-Products: Sustainable Solutions (2017) and Handbook of Coffee Processing By-Products: Sustainable Applications (2017).

Read more articles from Charis Galanakis, Director of Galanakis Laboratories

See his full portfolio of books here.

Follow Dr. Galanakis via Twitter – @CharisGalanakisLinkedIn or ResearchGate.

Join the Food Waste Recovery Group on LinkedIn or the Food Waste Recovery Page on Facebook.

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Food Science & Nutrition

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