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Ulster University is playing an important role in reducing food wastage across North West Europe thanks to an innovative €4.8m project which adapts and applies existing innovative technology to food supply chains.

‘REAMIT’ - Improving Resource Efficiency of Agribusiness supply chains by Minimising waste using Big Data and Internet of Things sensors - is an EU project led from the University of Bedfordshire which aims to reduce food waste and improve resource efficiency. Ulster University have been integral to the project having secured funding through the EU Interreg North-West Europe Programme.

Ulster’s Dr Joan Condell leads an interdisciplinary team from the university, including Professor Elaine Ramsey (Department of Global Business and Enterprise) and Dr Ruth Price (Trials Manager) alongside Dr Bryan Gardiner, Dr Daniel Kelly and Dr Pratheepan Yogarajah (all from School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems).

With a budget of €4.88m, the project will run for 42 months until 2023, with partners coming from various organisations and companies in the UK, France, Ireland and Netherlands.

Reducing food waste is of highest priority for the EU, having committed to halving food waste by 2030 by focusing on all stages in the supply chain. REAMIT focuses on foods typically wasted in large quantities such as fruits, vegetables, meat and fish within the supply chain of farms, packaging sites, food processors, distribution, logistics, wholesalers and retailers.

The project’s aim is to adapt existing technologies to best fit the needs of the food supply chain management system in this region of Europe. Through testing and adaptation, these technologies will continuously monitor and record food quality and signal potential food quality issues. This analysis will then help to inform decisions that minimise food waste, such as redistribution to nearby customers.

Joan Condell, Senior Lecturer in Computing at Ulster University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems, said:

“Though technologies exist to reduce food waste, these technologies have not been applied to food supply chains.  REAMIT, through Ulster University, will focus on completing pilots and analytics for reducing food wastage in the Northern Ireland region and across Europe.  In particular Ulster University are working alongside a meat producer to reduce food waste in the meat supply chain, both in production and transportation.  In this way REAMIT in Northern Ireland is providing excellent opportunities for local food producers to test, trial and analyse new technologies to reduce their waste, alongside key local and regional stakeholders across Europe.”