A key component of InnoFoodAfrica project is to provide bio-based packaging solutions to guarantee sufficient shelf-life for food products. This will be done by valorizing biomass residues including food waste and by-products to produce biocomposite packaging. This will also contribute to the reduction of food losses and increase the efficiency of identified crop value chains. Additionally, the bio-based packaging solutions will contribute to the replacement of plastic consumer packaging, where possible and reduce its littering in the environment including the amount of microplastics in the seas.
So far, this work that is being conducted by Work Package 5 has successfully conducted farmer and value chain surveys in the four project countries of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and South Africa. The survey results will be used to produce the first biocomposite sample materials at the VTT Polymer Processing Pilot in Finland.
Work Package 5 will achieve its objectives by:
- Conducting food chain analysis (quantity & quality) in partner project countries in Africa. The analysis is essential in quantifying the amount of losses and increasing efficiency and value addition.
- Developing and valorizing bio-based and biodegradable packaging materials and ingredients from agro side streams of high volume and low value (e.g. antimicrobial, antioxidative for packaging purposes and hydrocolloids for foods) and producing them at pilot level at the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland.
- Sharing the knowledge within the consortium for future use.