Circular economy against food waste: ’CEFoodCycle’ award presented

© moling photography
© moling photography
According to a study by the United Nations, more than one billion tonnes of food ends up as waste worldwide every year. That is almost a fifth of global production. This is where the EU project Interreg Alpine Space "CEFoodCycle", led by the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, comes in. The international research project is committed to taking action against food waste. As part of the project, the ’CEFoodCycle Award’ was presented last week to companies pursuing new ideas in the circular food economy.

’The CEFoodCycle project aims to connect stakeholders in the food sector and support them on the path towards a circular economy. For this reason, we created the CEFoodCycle Award to showcase flagship projects in the Alpine region to a broad public,’ explains Eva Lienbacher, who is in charge of the entire project from the Department of Business & Tourism at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences.

Companies, start-ups and initiatives that are planning or have already implemented a project in the food sector to reduce food waste were eligible to take part in the award. A total of 35 projects were submitted from the five participating partner countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and France). One winner was selected from each country and the award ceremony took place on 22 May in the Hofburg in Brixen, South Tyrol.

The race for the Salzburg-Bavaria region was won by the innovative cooperation between Stiegl and easyVEGAN. The startup easyVEGAN uses the spent grains, which are a by-product of beer production, as the main ingredient for plant-based balls, thalers and burger patties. The meat substitute products made from natural spent grains are the first of their kind on the market worldwide and are produced in a particularly climate-friendly way. Thomas Reuter, CPO at Stiegl, accepted the award on site and emphasised: ’We are delighted about this wonderful award for our innovative cooperation in the Salzburg region. It shows once again that the circular economy is the future.’

The award itself was also created sustainably in the spirit of the circular economy. Felix Prändl from the Department of Green Engineering and Circular Design at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences created the award from a spent grain casein material coated with cornflower blossoms.

Circular Food Hubs bundle efforts towards a circular economy

In the five countries participating in the EU CEFoodCycle project, circular economy centres known as ’Circular Food Hubs’ have been established. The Circular Food Hub Salzburg - Bavaria supports regional companies in identifying potential to combat food waste and reduce CO2 emissions. All measures are aimed at stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in food cycles, such as manufacturing companies, retailers, the hotel industry and energy providers. Among other things, they benefit from the transfer of expertise, networking and the use of a digital, intelligent decision support system based on life cycle assessment indicators.

Research in the CEFoodCycle project is interdisciplinary and international. At Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, the Departments of Business and Tourism and Information Technologies and Digitalisation are working together. In Salzburg, the University of Salzburg, Chair of Marketing, is also represented alongside the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences.

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The winners of the CEFoodCycle Award 2024

  • Austria and Germany, Circular Food Hub Salzburg-Bavaria: The winner is Stiegl, which produces meat substitutes from natural spent grains in collaboration with easyVEGAN.
  • Italy, Circular Food Hub Alto Adige: Garum project. The start-up produces a sustainable, healthy seasoning ingredient for catering and industry by fermenting by-products.
  • Italy, Circular Food Hub Piemonte: The Horizon 2020 project FUSILLI aims to transform the urban food system through the implementation of Innovative Living Labs.
  • Slovenia, Circular Food Hub Gorenjska: Award winner Souvenir L.t.d. House Linhart is working in the tourism sector to ensure that all’ingredients are consumed and composted.
  • France, Circular Food Hub Alpes-Maritimes: The winner is the start-up Tripluch, a digital platform to promote the recycling of organic waste.

More about the EU project Interreg Alpine Space CEFoodCycle:­project/ce­foodcycle/