In the period 14th – 17th of May, 2018 partners and stakeholders of the FoodChains 4 EU project met in Varna, Bulgaria to discuss approaches for development of ‘Good quality innovative and sustainable food chain’ in Bulgaria. At the peer review, partners and stakeholders got to hear about commercialization of innovative products and the possible support through OP Innovation and Competitiveness managed by the Ministry of Industry in Bulgaria. Professor Mollov from University of Food Technologies in Plovdiv presented approaches for innovation management in the food chain. ““Think deep” for intellectual satisfaction but “create on request” for business satisfaction!” was concluded to be the best approach in the dynamic development of the Industry 4.0 Era.
Jana Velichkova from Association of Soft Drink Industry presented the efforts of their members to follow the principles of the circular economy, where the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible. Waste and resource use are minimised, and when a product reaches the end of its life, it is used again to create further value. The innovations used in food and beverage operations for the sustainability in hospitality industry was presented by Irina Petkova, Varna University of Management.
As part of the peer review in Varna and the region, partners and stakeholders had the opportunity to visit a number of innovative companies in the region. The first visit was to LIDL where a good practice for food waste management in the retail chain was presented. Well-designed MSMO system (MaxStock and MinOrder Quantity) allows LIDL to generate less than 1% food waste of the total stock turnover. The peer review team enjoyed a tasty food served by the chefs’ and students of Varna University of Management as part of the visit to laboratory designed for cooking experiments at the university.
On day two, the peer review started with visit to the bakery “Dobrudjanski hliab”, which is regularly developing new bakery products The company got a support by the OP Innovation and Competitiveness in their efforts to introduce product innovations. This was an opportunity to see how the innovation process is managed on company level. The second day continued with visit to a small new state of the art brewery in Varna. The company Microspekter Ltd is running unique microbrewery for the production of Gallagher live beer. For the beer production, neither pasteurization process nor preservatives are used. It preserves the fresh taste of malt and hops, and looks more dense and turbid.
The food waste management and quality food production in the hospitality sector was demonstrated during visits to Black Sea Rama Golf Club and “Docker’s Club” Restaurant.
On the last day the Peer Review Team presented during a dissemination workshop first findings and recommendations with regards to the two main areas: (i) support for commercialisation of innovative products along the food chain; (ii) business models for partnerships and coordination to reduce the food waste along the food chain.
The partners and the stakeholders from Bulgaria had lively discussions on the findings, which will help the Peer Review Team to structure the report in the most workable and applicable format and content to be used as a basis for the Action Plan in Bulgaria. As stated by Mrs. Poli Karastoyanova, Executive Director of the National Tourism Management Board “The presentations of the findings and recommendations were very interesting and contain a valuable know how. We as stakeholders are interested to receive the presentations and to share them among our companies, other stakeholders and organisations along the food chain”.