FOODIS – Cross-Border Ecosystem for Innovation and Sustainability in the Food Value Chains

Efficient Resource Management: Interreg Project FOODIS

At the Department of Business / Marketing at Paris Lodron University Salzburg (PLUS), a new innovative EU project in the field of food value chains was launched at the end of 2023.

This cross-border project will run for 26 months and aims to combat food waste while creating added value for the region.

Approximately one-third of all food is discarded between the field and the plate. Simultaneously, millions of people around the world suffer from hunger. It is of paramount importance, indeed a necessity, to promote circular economy principles across all sectors and industries. Thrift, innovation, sustainability, and solidarity should be interconnected within efficient resource management. In the context of food supply chains, this means exploring alternative options such as reuse and recycling before discarding food.

Holzkiste mit Gemüse
Foto ©

The Current Situation

In the EU, approximately 20% of food ends up in the trash. This translates to 173 kilograms per person per year. In Austria alone, there are 791,000 tons of avoidable food waste annually. The majority of this waste comes from private households, gastronomy businesses, and food production. For example, in the state of Carinthia, 25 kilograms of food per person are discarded each year, with 27% of that being potentially usable fruits and vegetables..

This trend must be countered. One of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is to globally minimize food waste. By 2030, it should be halved in both retail and private households.

The FOODIS Interreg Project

The Italian-Austrian Interreg project FOODIS, launched at the end of 2023, aims to make the food systems of both Friuli Venezia Giulia and Carinthia more sustainable and resilient. To achieve this, Carinthia and Friuli Venezia Giulia collaborate in this cross-border cooperation project, pooling their expertise in agriculture, IT, logistics, transformation, and food security.

Goals and Pilot Initiatives of FOODIS

The main goal of FOODIS is to create a collaborative cross-border ecosystem to drive intelligent, sustainable, and integrated changes in food value chains.

Through joint consulting services, competencies, and modern logistics structures, companies in both regions will be supported in cross-border operations, gaining access to new European markets. The planned ecosystem will be tested through two pilot actions within the project—one led and executed by Carinthia and the other by Friuli Venezia Giulia. These pilots aim to support sustainable and fair-trade supply chains

The pilot project that LCA Logistik Center Austria Süd GmbH intends to implement within the Interreg project in Carinthia includes not only digitally mapping the Carinthian food value chain but also developing a digital platform. This platform will enable the collection of expired food and food waste deemed unsuitable for the market.

The goal is to intelligently and sustainably manage surpluses, collective transport, and storage in the planned Alps Adriatic Food Hub in Fürnitz. The platform will also explore ways to enhance goods innovatively and recycle them into new products. This involves promoting circular business models, such as processing fruits and vegetables into new food items like fruit juices or spreads. The project also aims to advance the digitization and optimization of surplus food management and redistribution through the development of a modular and scalable digital platform.

Ultimately, the project aims to create a reproducible model of a collaborative cross-border ecosystem. This ecosystem will support companies in the food and logistics industry by systematizing competencies and services. For Carinthia, this means providing greater visibility for the important regional food industry and creating new market opportunities.

Project Partners

  • Foundation and Cluster Agrifood & Bioeconomy FVG
  • LCA Logistik Center Austria Süd GmbH
  • ASUGI Azienda Sanitaria Universitaria Giuliano Isontina
  • Paris-Lodron University Salzburg
  • WU Vienna University of Economics and Business
  • Insiel S.p.A.
  • Carinthian Regional Government (Associated Partner)
  • University of Applied Sciences Salzburg GmbH (Associated Partner)

Project Leadership (PLUS)

Project Duration

December 1, 2023 – January 31, 2026

Project Budget

The project is funded with a total of EUR 900,000 from ERDF funds under the Interreg Italy-Austria 2021-2027 program, along with national funding. It has a duration of 26 months.