New idea to keep fruit and vegetables out of the waste bin

Monday 23 Oct 17


Henning Høgh Jensen
Head of Division
National Food Institute
+45 40 25 12 22
A container that provides optimum conditions for storing fruit and vegetables so they stay fresh for much longer has won first prize in a competition at DTU. The National Food Institute is co-organizer of the competition, which challenges students to find innovative solutions to societal challenges while establishing relations between students and businesses.

Fruit and vegetables that become soft and overripe or start rotting before they are eaten are the biggest culprits in Denmark’s food wastage figures. The Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark has calculated that businesses and consumers in Denmark discard more than 700,000 tonnes of edible food a year, of which fruit and vegetables account for 40 per cent, making them the largest component by far.

Keeping micro-organisms in check

To save some of the fruit and vegetables from the waste bin, four DTU students have, in connection with the Open Innovation X (Oi-X) initiative Oi-X FOOD at DTU, developed the storage solution FreshNest.

FreshNest is a plastic box for the fridge which provides ideal conditions for fruit and vegetables so they stay fresh for up to three times as long as usual. At the finals in October 2017, the invention has won first place and a prize of DKK 25,000 (EUR 3,400).

The transparent plastic storage box contains a filter that absorbs much of the oxygen in the box that would otherwise help rotting micro-organisms to multiply. Another filter has antibacterial properties, which help to keep the microorganisms in check. The box also has built-in humidity control, which also helps to slow the ripening process.

The group sees people who would like to help the environment and save money as potential FreshNest buyers. The group is in the process of preparing a plan for the next stage of the development process, and looking into whether the concept can become a commercial success, and how it can be expanded so it can be used for other food types such as meat and fish.

Read more

Oi-X (Open Innovation Challenge) Food is organized by DTU Skylab in collaboration with the National Food Institute. The competition is sponsored by Arla Foods and the Ingredients Forum at the Danish Food and Drink Federation. The participants have developed solutions to one of the challenges facing society regarding sustainable food production which were set by the sponsors.

Read more on the competition's website and check out the 14 ideas which have been competing for the first place. The team behind the winning idea—FreshNest—comprises Camilla Düsterdich Hansen, Martin Johansen, Andreas Robertsen, and Emma Stenholt Østergaard.
16 APRIL 2021