Future sensors and digital twins to improve perishable food quality

Published on
November 2, 2021

Together with 12 partners, imec and Wageningen University & Research participate in an innovative international cooperation. Their aim is to improve the performance of current supply chains of perishable food products in terms of product quality, greenhouse gas emissions and food waste prevention. In this project, two prototypes of digital twins will be implemented with three use cases.

To actually improve the performance of current supply chains of perishable food products real-time access to supply chain conditions and product information is needed in each stage of the supply and production chain in order to make optimal decisions.

What is needed, to realize this?

  • Advanced IoT sensor systems to monitor products in the supply chain,
  • Realtime data access and data integration to create the full picture of what is going on in the supply chain,
  • Relevant models that allow for prediction of product characteristics at each moment of its lifetime.

With these elements in place, a digital twin of the product in the food supply chain is created and continuously updated. The digital twin allows for simulation of future behavior in various scenarios, and thereby enables chain actors to make optimal decisions at each moment in time.

Prototypes and use cases

In this project, the consortium will implement two prototypes of digital twins with three use cases. The digital twin of the fresh supply chain, in which the emphasis lies on the long transportation and quality development of tropical fruits such as bananas and avocados and on non-destructive quality sensing of glasshouse vegetables such as tomatoes. And the digital twin of the meat production chain, in which the emphasis lies on individual quality monitoring of carcasses.

Real-time decision support

The project has economic and societal impact by reducing food waste, increasing product quality, reducing greenhouse gas emission, and increasing the profitability of the food chains. The project shows how the digital transformation can take place in practice and what its benefits are. Use of the innovative sensor systems and the digital twins results in real-time status information and decision support. This opens possibilities for advanced quality-based control allowing for more efficient food chains with better matching supply and demand, more insight in the quality of the food products and less food waste.

Consortium and One Planet

The project is a close collaboration between system and data integrators, sensor developers, use case partners and the research institutes Wageningen University & Research and imec as part of their collaboration in OnePlanet Research Center. OnePlanet Research Center is an innovation center for chip and digital technology in agri, food, health and environment. It is a collaboration between nano-technology R&D institute imec, Radboud University, Radboudumc and Wageningen University & Research.

Members of the consortium

The consortium consists of Agro Fair Benelux, A.P. Moller – Maersk, Westfalia Marketing Africa, ESA, Sas Institute, Centaur Technologies, Sciosense, Bayer Crop Science, Vilmorin&Cie, Vertigo Technologies, Gautier Semences, Food Valley, Imec and Wageningen University & Research (institutes Wageningen Food & Biobased Research and Wageningen Plant Research)