Feasibility Studies launched to tackle food waste through social innovation

18th March 2014

European food waste prevention project, FUSIONS, announces the launch of seven social innovation feasibility studies to help deliver action on the ground.

FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimising Waste Prevention Strategies) is working towards achieving a more resource efficient Europe by significantly reducing food waste. The project runs for 4 years, from August 2012 to July 2016, is funded by the European Commission framework programme 7 and coordinated by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research

Social innovation has huge potential to complement existing research, technological and communications activities, and using it to tackle food waste is a specific challenge set by the European Commission for FUSIONS.  It brings people together to create solutions and take action. The feasibility studies are a great delivery tool which will deliver real-world findings that are easily diffused.

For the purpose of the pilots, social innovation is described as innovations that are social in both their ends and means[1]. As such, they simultaneously meet social needs and create new social relationships. The UK partner, WRAP (1), is leading the work to identify, implement and evaluate the FUSIONS feasibility studies.

Thirty-nine proposals responded to the call for ideas between February and November 2013 (2). Seven will be delivered by FUSIONS’ Partners in countries around Europe. Over the coming months, these projects will be supported and evaluated so that FUSIONS can discover the potential of social innovation, and some of the key barriers and opportunities to its delivery.

FUSIONS feasibility studies (http://www.eu-fusions.org/social-innovations#social-innovation-category-5)


Partner: The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology, Sweden

The study tackles canteen food waste by transforming traditional ways of working within the food service sector. It will develop and implement a web-based tool to provide school kitchens and business canteens with accurate information about the numbers of lunches to serve.

 Surplus Food

Partner: Stop Wasting Food, Communique, Denmark

The study tests a decentralised system to connect surplus food with those in need via the internet or an SMS service that connects local food producers, retailers, restaurants and catering outlets with local shelters, crisis and refugee centres, women shelters, etc.

 The Gleaning Network EU

Partner: Feeding the 5000, UK

Gleaning Network EU aims to disseminate best practice guidance and support for the creation of national gleaning networks to redistribute wasted fruit and vegetables from farms to charities. The study will provide a model for collaboration between growers, grassroots volunteers and charities across Europe, as well as giving specific support to groups initiating gleaning networks.

 Food Service and Hospitality Surplus Redistribution

Partner: The Hungarian Foodbank Association, Hungary, BIO by Deloitte, France

This Feasibility Study will develop new social relationships between the food service sector and food banks in Hungary, as well as providing a model for collaboration that can be replicated across Europe.

 Disco BôCô

Partners: Feeding the 5000 (UK), Bio by Deloitte (France)

Disco BôCô aims to organise collaborative and festive events to bring people together to cook and preserve discarded fruits and vegetables. The project will mobilise local communities to connect and make use of food surplus by developing domestic preservation skills.

 Advancing Social Supermarkets

Partners: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Austria), Bio by Deloitte (France)

This Feasibility Study supports the implementation of “social supermarkets” in the EU based on the experiences of already established markets in France as well as in Austria.

 Cr-EAT-ive Schools

Partners: Anatoliki (Development Agency Thessaloniki), Greece

The project aims to develop food waste prevention methods and practical tips to encourage behaviour change in the families of preschool children (aged 3-5 years) at home and in the food services of the crèches and kindergartens. This will be achieved through the development of a series of innovative educational tools and activities that will involve parents, children, preschool educators and cooks.

[1] http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/policy/social-innovation/index_en.htm


(1) WRAP is leading on the delivery of the Feasibility Studies (FUSIONS work package 4)
WRAP’s vision is a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. Working in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency. www.wrap.org.uk

Reports documenting the process undertaken by WRAP to develop the inventory and evaluate potential project ideas are available at: www.eu-fusions.org/publications

(2) To support the call, FUSIONS Partners contributed to the development of an inventory of existing food waste prevention initiatives (www.eu-fusions.org/social-innovations). The inventory enabled FUSIONS to demonstrate what it means by social innovation and catalyse new ideas. From studying existing examples, it’s clear social innovation has huge potential to complement existing research, technological and communications activities, and positively impact on food waste. It brings people together to create solutions and take action, and is therefore highly emergent and easily diffused.For further information contact:

BIO by Deloitte, leading on FUSIONS Dissemination Work Package 5
Clementine O’Connor cloconnor@bio.deloitte.fr
WRAP, leading on FUSIONS Feasibility Study Work Package 4
media.enquiries@wrap.org.uk, 01295 819 677 or 01295 819 695

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