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Research_

Innovation in food supply chain

Improving the way we receive our food
We’re designing sensors and decision-making tools to understand food production and consumption with the aim to minimise food waste, improve health and innovate the supply chain.

Supply chains are the physical and information systems and processes used to deliver a product or service from one location or entity to another.

A food supply chain refers to the processes that describe how food from a small-sized enterprise, such as a farm, ends up with a consumer.

The processes include the production, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal.

Our experts: Professor Fariba Dehghani, Professor Robyn McConchie, Dr Sina Naficy, Dr Farshad Oveissi

Our Collaborators: Dr Rona Chandrawati (UNSW)

Colorimetric gas sensors that detect early release of gases from food spoilage are of great importance in food safety and food conservation. Yet, such sensors are not broadly implemented as they are incompatible with food packaging and non-functional at the low temperatures at which food is stored.

To achieve a suitable colorimetric food sensor, it is essential to optimise the extent of colour change, design the fabrication process to be suitable for large scale manufacturing, and fabricate sensors that are active at sub-zero temperature. Such sensors will be an invaluable tool for detection of food spoilage and will benefit packaging industry, consumers, and producers.

Our experts: Professor Fariba Dehghani, Professor Robyn McConchie, Dr Sina Naficy

On average 7.5 million tons of food is wasted in Australia every year, with householders throwing away in excess of $8 billion worth of food annually. It has been estimated that two third of the food waste can be avoidable if there were food sensors capable of evaluating the quality of food along the supply chain.

Such exacerbated wastages along with the exponentially increasing world population (9.8 billion by 2050) requires the food industry not only to produce enough food, but also to minimise the food loss, implement rigorous food safety regulations, and address the environmental side effects of their operations.

These newly evolved challenges in food industry can be addressed by biodegradable smart packaging where the package is not a simple passive barrier anymore but can monitor the quality of food over time, provide traceability and network connectivity, and is biodegradable with minimal environmental footprints.