Effective food management has become a matter of vital importance that significantly influences our daily lives. It has been observed that one-third of the total produced food is lost or wasted, amounting to approximately 1.3 billion tons of food, costing the global economy around 940 billion annually. The discarded food represents not only an economic loss but also a significant waste of natural resources, contributing to an increase in environmental footprint. Therefore, efficient food management advocates for the promotion of environmentally friendly consumption for a more sustainable society.
Recognizing the emerging environmental issues, Innovation Hive, through the UglyFruitsNot project, promotes sustainable development and consumption. The focus is on addressing the challenges arising from the indiscriminate rejection of fruits and vegetables considered somewhat “unusual” in appearance. This initiative presents solutions aimed at raising awareness about the importance of preserving these products in the economy, contributing to the reduction of food waste.
As part of the project, extensive research was conducted to gather the opinions of consumers and professionals regarding food management and food waste. The State-of-the-Art Report includes data from questionnaires distributed to professionals in seven countries: Poland, Portugal, Germany, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, and Bulgaria. The research emphasizes the attitude of food supply chain professionals towards the problem, collecting data from 25 professionals per country. The research team focused on highlighting best practices while also collecting data revealing consumer behavior regarding the consumption of “ugly” fruits and vegetables.
The research results indicate that the lack of information about these foods redirects consumer behavior. Through substantive education, we can promote the understanding that these items possess the same nutritional value as more conventional forms, enhancing sustainability in the field of food and waste management.
With a focus on reducing environmental impact and shaping a sustainable society, Innovation Hive, through its participation in the project, addresses challenges in the field of food management and opens a dialogue for the adoption of best practices on a pan-European level.