Fresh on Demand
The fruit and vegetable sector faces the paradox challenge of keeping product quality as high as possible and at the same time ensure food safety and reduce environmental impact. At the same time consumers demand tasty, healthy and food-safe products sourced from a sustainable supply chain. In order to promote consumer consumption, it is necessary to continually optimize fruit and vegetable chains. The industry is constantly striving for a sustainable supply chain and guaranteed product safety, while also guaranteeing product quality. Further chain integration and greater insight into the intrinsic chain quality is needed to deliver consistently high quality, as well as limit losses in the chain. How can chain links best respond to current consumer wishes and requirements, and thus deliver ‘Fresh on Demand’? These developments create contradictions between quality preservation, food safety and sustainability measures. A good balance must be found between optimum quality, taste and risk of product loss due to safety and sustainability requirements. The aim of this project is to optimally attune fresh produce chains to consumer needs, taking into account food safety and sustainability requirements. In this way, the project contributes to the desired increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.
The project covers a wide range of fresh product and chains. Depending on the product-chain combination, the project will contribute specifically to achieve high product quality, improve food safety and reduce environmental impact. Moreover a good balance must be created between optimal quality (ripe and tasty products) and the risk of product loss in the chain (safety and sustainability requirements). Finally, the strong position of the Dutch fruit and vegetable sector is not self-evident, and may be strengthened if the sector can properly cope with the above paradox.
The quality of fresh products as fruit and vegetables is very complex and meeting the chain, food safety and sustainability requirements of the current business and societal context makes it even more challenging. Moreover, how can fruit and vegetable chains optimally adapt to different consumer groups and changing consumer wishes and demands? The contradictory implications of some of these aspects require finding a good balance to successfully deal with the current challenges. However, at the moment there is a lack of knowledge, robust measurement methods and appropriate chain solutions to address all these levels of complexity and enable the right product quality to the right consumer. The Fresh on Demand project goals and implementation plan contribute to finding this balance and increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
The project will provide the following results:
• knowledge on physiological quality and postharvest technology
• measurement and detection methods (focus is non-destructive methods and sensor) for a wide range of quality issues (from spoilage to taste) for different products
• smart, targeted use of quality information and other information from the chain to improve chain performance
• tools to meet current and future food safety and sustainability needs.
This project is a connecting factor for various chain parties thereby strengthening cooperation and providing appropriate chain solutions for the sector challenges. A sound communication within the project and disseminating of results are also an important result of the project. A newsletter is issued twice per year to share the project progress and results. Also project meetings are held each 3-4 months to support the cooperation and knowledge exchange within the project.