• 28Mar

    Two PhD studentships on Packaging Development for the Kiwifruit Industry are being advertised by Massey University. One project specifically deals with volatile flux patterns in kiwifruit packaging and the other project deals with model-based packaging design for kiwifruit. The projects are a collaboration between Massey University (NZ) and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium).

    Stipend: NZ$26,500 (tax free) + university fees ($7500) for 3 years + a one off $5000 travel assistance package (for required travel to study in Belgium).

    For those interested, please contact Dr Andrew East at Massey University: A.R.East@massey.ac.nz

  • 21Mar

    If you have some good ideas about how to improve water efficiency and recycling, what to do with biosolids in waste and how to harvest water in businesses and industries in Victoria (or elsewhere), you may be interested in this note.

    The Smart Water Fund is a joint initiative of the Victorian water industry and the Victorian Government to invest in innovative water solutions.

    The Fund is now accepting applications for innovative water management projects under the Open Innovation Stream. To be considered, projects needs to be in the range of $100,000 to $500,000.

    Projects proposed should deliver new or enhanced knowledge, products or solutions that contribute towards sustainable urban water management. Proposals must answer a demonstrated need and show benefit to the Victorian water utilities and the customers they serve. Applications with wider national or international relevance are also encouraged.

    Past recipients in the food industry include Nestle,Cadbury, TetraPack, Tatura, Murray Goulburn and Butler Market Gardens.

    The call for proposals can be accessed here. It is open until April 8, 2001.

  • 15Mar

    I will be presenting a seminar organised by UNISA School of Management and the Logistics Association of Australia.

    The seminars’ contents include a broad review of the drivers propelling the use of innovative technologies in cold chain logistics and case studies of the application of emerging technologies in:

    a) Tracking, traceability and monitoring for safety and quality (including RFID).
    b) Innovation in refrigerated transport.
    c) Innovation in thermal packaging for vaccines and foods.
    d) Innovation in value adding services.

    Examples will include the management of chilled and frozen foods and pharmaceutical products.

    To attend this event, please book through the LAA’s website .

    LAA Seminar in cold chain for food and pharma-Silvia Estrada-Flores
    Silvia Estrada-Flores. Food Chain Intelligence-LAA seminar

  • 10Mar

    The Economist recently published a report that condenses food security issues to a manageable reading size:

    “Not just calories” deals with the question of nutrition vs calories. Is the problem of feeding the world a consequence of our distortion on what a good diet means?

    “The 9 billion-people question” discusses ways to boost yields of the main crops, considers the constraints of land and water and the use of fertiliser and pesticide, assesses biofuel policies, explains why technology matters so much and examines the impact of recent price rises.
    “How much is enough?” discusses the shift of dietary changes towards increasing quantities of meat.

    Other sections include a discussion on the politics of food, the growth of the biofuels industry and its effect in food production, food waste,the feasibility of increasing efficiency in farm production, and others.

    Unfortunately, this 16-page resource is not freely available (however, try this link for a free preview). Highly recommended for those who want a quick run down on the current state of global food security.

  • 01Mar

    Two recent reports were released in the VEIL’s website, discussing the effect of food freight in Australia.

    The first work entitled “Understanding Victoria’s Fruit and Vegetable Freight Movements” maps out Victoria’s fruit and vegetable freight movements from production to fork and analyses the greenhouse gas emissions produced through these movements. The analysis is focused only on transport (including refrigeration within transport where required), but it is not an entire LCA.

    Some results from this report highlight the following:

    1) The overall performance of the Victorian fruit and vegetable distribution resulted in around 133.8 kg of CO2 emissions produced per tonne of fruit transported, and 134.5 kg of CO2 emissions per tonne of vegetable transported. Overall, the supply chain was estimated to produce 134.3 kg of CO2 emissions per tonne of F&V moved.

    2) The overall transport emissions for processed F&V were estimated at 190 kg CO2 per tonne, and exceed that for unprocessed F&V. This can be attributed to the additional transport legs to and from the processing centres.

    3) Taking uncertainties into account, the carbon footprint from farm-to-fork distribution of fresh F&V consumed in Victoria and sold through greengrocers and supermarkets is likely to fall within 82,214 and 318,976 tonnes CO2 per annum. These results reflect a large data uncertainty –and the extent to which changes in the variables selected for testing in the sensitivity analysis affected the resulting emissions.

    4) In the farm-to-fork analysis, the most significant factor in transport GHG emissions for fruit and vegetables was found to be the consumer travel necessary to purchase these goods.

    5) The significance of the consumer trips is largely driven by the households located at distances over 5.5 km, despite the fact that these are a minority (less than 20% of the total Victorian households analysed). If the travel distance (or number of trips) of this
    minority of households were decreased, this would lead to a substantial decrease in the total F&V carbon footprint.

    The authors of this report were Dr Leorey Marquez (CSIRO), Dr Andrew Higgins (CSIRO) and Dr Silvia Estrada-Flores (Food Chain Intelligence). Two scientific publications are being prepared as a result of this report.

    The second report is entitled “Best Practice Food Distribution Systems” and discusses measures to drive GHG emissions out of food supply chains by the following players:

    · Farmer and consumer led initiatives (e.g. farmers’ markets; coops; online hubs etc);
    · Food retailers;
    · Food manufacturers and marketers;
    · Third party logistics providers; and
    · Local councils, State and Federal Governments.

    Thirty eight different initiatives were studied and results were extracted for each category, regarding:
    · Drivers and motivations;
    · Innovative aspects and opportunities;
    · Obstacles and challenges; and
    · Lessons learned - applicability to future initiatives.

    This report highlights a wide range of alternatives that can help to decrease GHG emissions derived from food distribution systems. Rather than advocating for a unique approach to be used to drive emissions out of food supply chains, this report shows that each player in the chain can have a significant role in developing sustainable food distribution systems in a local, national and international level. The opportunities for abatement are significant.

    The authors of this report were Silvia Estrada-Flores (FCI) and Kirsten Larsen (VEIL).

    The projects received funding support from the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, Sustainability Victoria and Regional Development Victoria, CSIRO and in-kind support from the Department of Transport.