The Assessment and Improvement of the Sustainability-Related Issues of Foods in a Circular Bioeconomy Context

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Security and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 6866

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-Food and Forest Systems (DIBAF), University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
Interests: environmental impact assessment; carbon footprint; food and beverage production and packaging; enzyme and fermentation processes; life cycle assessment; membrane processing; rheological behavior of foods and food gums; pasta cooking processes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Several estimates attribute food production as the cause of 22 to 37% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The expected global population increase implies a rising demand for food, which involves an increased use of habitable land, as well as energy and water resources, for agri-food production purposes. The growth perspectives of the food and beverage industry are thus challenged by an increasing lack of natural resources and higher costs for fuels and energy along with climate-related risks to assure food security. Food production is the leading industrial sector in the European Community (EC) with a key role in terms of turnover and total number of workers and enterprises. About 99% of all enterprises are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME), and most of them are unprepared to face the fast-changing, complex global challenges in order to achieve more sustainable development.

There is, therefore, an urgent need to transition to more sustainable forms of agriculture that provide land use optimization and the reduction of water and fossil-fuel consumption with the resultant reduced impact on resources, human health, climate change, and ecosystem quality.

The implementation of modified crop cultivation systems is desirable based upon strategies for a more environment-friendly and consumer-oriented approach to agriculture. From an agricultural water management perspective, this could be achieved by adopting water-conservation-oriented practices along with wastewater recovery into irrigation water, nutrient biosolids, and energy in a circular bioeconomy perspective.

Soil quality needs, however, are preserved along with the yield, quality, and safety of agro-foods, while making sure that future generations’ need for foods, fibers, nutrients, and other bio-based materials will be met in a holistically sustainable manner. In that sense, net-regenerative agro-food supply chains and diets can play a vital role as they allow for resource preservation and environmental pollution reduction.

In this context, the main aim of this Special Issue will be that of collecting papers dealing with the cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment of the production, packaging, and consumption of foods and beverages, with the final aim of contributing to the estimation and improvement of food products’ sustainability. Under this perspective, papers dealing with assessments of waste management, recovery, and valorization in a circular bioeconomy perspective, that are in some way connected with agriculture and foods, are also welcome.

By doing so, the Special Issue wishes to identify which eco-indicators are effective and to recognize their impactful stages of food and drink supply chains and life cycles, and which might be useful in suggesting potential mitigation actions as a starting basis for improving the sustainability of food and drink SMEs. 

Prof. Dr. Mauro Moresi
Dr. Carlo Ingrao
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Foods is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • food recovery
  • food waste
  • circular bioeconomy
  • life cycle assessment
  • environmentally friendly foods
  • sustainability of food and drink
  • climate change
  • food security

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 688 KiB  
Article
Mitigation Actions Scenarios Applied to the Dairy Farm Management Systems
by Giulia Rencricca, Federico Froldi, Maurizio Moschini, Marco Trevisan and Lucrezia Lamastra
Foods 2023, 12(9), 1860; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12091860 - 29 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1734
Abstract
The environmental impacts of the dairy industry, particularly global warming, are heavily influenced by milk production. Thus, there is an urgent need for farm-level actions and opportunities for improvement, implying mitigation strategies. The aim of this paper is to investigate five possible mitigation [...] Read more.
The environmental impacts of the dairy industry, particularly global warming, are heavily influenced by milk production. Thus, there is an urgent need for farm-level actions and opportunities for improvement, implying mitigation strategies. The aim of this paper is to investigate five possible mitigation actions at the dairy farm and which one the farmers were willing to adopt: management and distribution of livestock manure and fertilizers, anaerobic manure treatment, optimization of the herd composition, feed quality, and heat recovery. A life cycle assessment was conducted on 63 farms using the product environmental footprint approach. The latter was divided into four quartiles, from which four representative farms were selected. For each farm, three scenarios have been analyzed considering the reference impact (reference scenario), the application of the mitigation actions (best-case scenario), and what farmers would implement (realistic scenario). Overall, the most effective mitigation actions in the best-case scenario were anaerobic manure treatment and the management and distribution of livestock manure and fertilizers, showing a potential reduction in total environmental impacts of 7–9% and 6–7%, respectively. Farmers’ responses indicated a willingness to implement the latter mitigation strategy better. The optimization of the herd composition, feed quality, and heat recovery reported a range impact reduction between 0.01–5%. Full article
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27 pages, 2665 KiB  
Article
Environmental Profile of a Novel High-Amylose Bread Wheat Fresh Pasta with Low Glycemic Index
by Alessio Cimini, Francesco Sestili and Mauro Moresi
Foods 2022, 11(20), 3199; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11203199 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2140
Abstract
To improve glycemic health, a high-amylose bread wheat flour fresh pasta characterized by a low in vitro glycemic index (GI) and improved post-prandial glucose metabolism was previously developed. In this study, well-known life cycle analysis software was used in accordance with the PAS [...] Read more.
To improve glycemic health, a high-amylose bread wheat flour fresh pasta characterized by a low in vitro glycemic index (GI) and improved post-prandial glucose metabolism was previously developed. In this study, well-known life cycle analysis software was used in accordance with the PAS 2050 and mid- and end-point ReCiPe 2016 standard methods to assess, respectively, its carbon footprint and overall environmental profile, as weighted by a hierarchical perspective. Even if both eco-indicators allowed the identification of the same hotspots (i.e., high-amylose bread wheat cultivation and consumer use of fresh pasta), the potential consumer of low-GI foods should be conscious that the novel low-GI fresh pasta had a greater environmental impact than the conventional counterpart made of common wheat flour, their corresponding carbon footprint or overall weighted damage score being 3.88 and 2.51 kg CO2e/kg or 184 and 93 mPt/kg, respectively. This was mainly due to the smaller high-amylose bread wheat yield per hectare. Provided that its crop yield was near to that typical for common wheat in Central Italy, the difference between both eco-indicators would be not greater than 9%. This confirmed the paramount impact of the agricultural phase. Finally, use of smart kitchen appliances would help to relieve further the environmental impact of both fresh pasta products. Full article
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Review

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17 pages, 1673 KiB  
Review
Carbon Footprint of the Pork Product Chain and Recent Advancements in Mitigation Strategies
by Pan Yang, Miao Yu, Xianyong Ma and Dun Deng
Foods 2023, 12(23), 4203; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12234203 - 22 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2050
Abstract
The carbon footprint of pork production is a pressing concern due to the industry’s significant greenhouse gas emissions. It is crucial to achieve low-carbon development and carbon neutrality in pork production. Thus, this paper reviewed the recent studies about various sources of carbon [...] Read more.
The carbon footprint of pork production is a pressing concern due to the industry’s significant greenhouse gas emissions. It is crucial to achieve low-carbon development and carbon neutrality in pork production. Thus, this paper reviewed the recent studies about various sources of carbon emissions throughout the current pork production chain; feed production, processing, and manure management are the major sources of carbon emissions. The carbon footprint of the pork production chain varies from 0.6 to 6.75 kg CO2e·kg−1 pig live weight, and the carbon footprint of 1 kg of pork cuts is equivalent to 2.25 to 4.52 kg CO2e. A large reduction in carbon emissions could be achieved simultaneously if combining strategies of reducing transportation distances, optimizing farmland management, minimizing chemical fertilizer usage, promoting organic farming, increasing renewable energy adoption, and improving production efficiency. In summary, these mitigation strategies could effectively decrease carbon emissions by 6.5% to 50% in each sector. Therefore, a proper combination of mitigation strategies is essential to alleviate greenhouse gas emissions without sacrificing pork supply. Full article
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