Mercabarna and the UPC create a university chair to fight against food waste

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The wholesale fresh food market Mercabarna and the UPC are creating a university chair to study how to prevent and reduce food waste in the stages of production and wholesale and retail distribution of the food chain.

Through the Barcelona School of Biosystems and Agri-Food Engineering (EEABB), the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) will be responsible for carrying out the project with Mercabarna that the university won in a call for public Catalan universities.

The chair, called the UPC-Mercabarna chair to fight against food waste, will have an annual budget of 30,000 euros and a length of 3 years that can be extended.

Innovative research to boost food use 
The objectives of the chair are focused on five strategic areas:

  • Diagnosis and study – Indicators will be identified and established that can be used to quantify food loss and waste in stages of the food chain from production to the consumer, from field to table. In addition, research will be carried out to find technological and innovative solutions that will improve food use.
  • Good practices – A ten-point list of good practices will be created to prevent and reduce loss and waste in stages of the food chain.
  • Meeting point – Synergies, partnerships and meeting points can be created with key stakeholders in sectors involved in the fight against food waste and loss.
  • Training and transfer – knowledge and training will be transferred to obtain the maximum possible food use.
  • Communication and awareness raising – Studies that are undertaken will be disseminated through the media and spaces specialized in the subject area. Awareness-raising strategies must be defined and developed among the population in relation to the problem of food waste and its social and environmental effects.

The chair’s team 
At the UPC, the chair will be organised by teaching staff from the Barcelona School of Biosystems and Agri-Food Engineering (EEABB), with which Mercabarna has been working for years in various areas of research and training. The chair will be managed by professor Josep Maria Gil, who teaches Agricultural Economics at the UPC and is director of the Centre for Agrifood Economics and Development (CREDA) of the UPC and IRTA, where he is responsible for the research area. The deputy manager for training will be Anna Gras, a PhD holder in agricultural engineering and director of the EEABB. The lecturer Eduard Hernández, a PhD holder in agricultural engineering and expert in food industries, will be in charge of the section on technology and research of technological solutions for food use to reduce food waste.