Eight active partners representing six different countries : Croatia (university of Zagreb), Denmark (university of Aarhus), France (Actia, AgroParisTech, L'Institut Agro Dijon, LNE, university of Bourgogne), Germany (Fraunhofer), Portugal (catholic university of Portugal), Spain (CSIC).
One associated partner: Switzerland (Food Packaging Forum)
BEGINING OF PROJECT
Food packaging is often necessary or even essential for protecting food, keeping it safe and thus preventing substantial food losses. It can help to enable the preservation, transportation, distribution, and preparation of food. However, food packaging today is strongly associated with both environmental and health risks for the consumers. To help packaging professionals address this challenge, the Fitness platform was created to provide both general and in-depth training courses on the design of responsible packaging. This includes learning to optimise many sometimes contradictory criteria across all aspects of food packaging from its production and use through to its reuse, recycling, and disposal.
The European Green Deal and the new circular economy action plan are game-changers for food production and retailing. The food and drink industry is the largest manufacturing industry in the EU (EU Food Drink Industry Data and Trends 2019) and, therefore, a top contributor to Europe’s economy. It generates the highest turnover (15%), added value (13%), and employment (15%) ahead of other manufacturing sectors. Despite these significant economic contributions, the sector faces numerous challenges associated with insufficient preparedness and the lack of harmonised regulations and standards. Education programs need to be reshaped to accelerate the transition to sustainable production and stimulate innovation, especially in new material recovery infrastructures, open and closed-loop recycling, composting, biodegradability, food quality preservation, food loss minimization, supply chain optimization, improved materials, better processing, and packaging strategies.
The current open-source platform Fitness is one of the largest e-learning platform on food packaging globally (3 months worth of lectures are online). It is accessible without needing an account, and anyone can duplicate it.
The ambition of the new Fitness 2.0 project is to reach a broader audience in the food packaging value chain, from the chemical industry to recyclers and to offer certified courses validated by online tests.
Fitness 2.0 will contribute to accelerating the digital transformation of education and training systems by bridging education, research, and innovation, as well as by creating a global community within the field and offering new training paths for current and future professionals.
In addition to expanding the current set of courses, Fitnessw 2.0 is committed to implementing two new innovations to reach the main target groups (food and packaging engineers, recycling and processing professionals, circular economists) on a broad scale:
- multilingualism (translations of original Fitness courses),
- personalised learning (using an artificial intelligence-based assistant and guided curriculum).