The agri-food supply chain is responsible for high GHG emissions. In industrial food processing, there is potential for reducing environmental impacts. In the case of apricot jam, several practices for realizing the finished product can be adopted. If, on the one hand, the scientific literature provides detailed studies on the economic aspects of the existing practices, on the other hand, a comprehensive assessment of the most common production practices from an environmental perspective is not provided. Apricot jam production can be based on two different kinds of raw materials: fresh fruit and the so-called “semi-finished product”, which is obtained by treating fresh fruits with mechanical and thermal processes. The most extended shelf-life of the semi-finished product allows for the adoption of more flexible production practices, leading to increased production performance and ensuring more efficient transportation strategies. In environmental terms, the convenience of this approach compared to adopting fresh fruit is questionable. The aim of this paper is to compare the environmental impacts due to these two different production and transport practices of apricot jam. Consistent with this end, a Life Cycle Assessment methodology has been adopted to evaluate the environmental impact of each step in the apricot jam supply chain. Research results suggest that the use of fresh apricots in the production of jams has a lower environmental impact (about 50–65% without considering transport activities) than the use of semi-finished products, and that losses due to the short shelf-life of fresh fruit limits the transportation distance of the raw and fresh material, also depending on the transport mode adopted (in the range of 875–4450 km). This highlights the need to adopt more clean and sustainable practices in the current industrial food processes.

Life Cycle Assessment in the Agri-Food Supply Chain: Fresh Versus Semi-Finished Based Production Process

Boenzi, Francesco;Digiesi, Salvatore;Facchini, Francesco
;
Silvestri, Bartolomeo
2022

Abstract

The agri-food supply chain is responsible for high GHG emissions. In industrial food processing, there is potential for reducing environmental impacts. In the case of apricot jam, several practices for realizing the finished product can be adopted. If, on the one hand, the scientific literature provides detailed studies on the economic aspects of the existing practices, on the other hand, a comprehensive assessment of the most common production practices from an environmental perspective is not provided. Apricot jam production can be based on two different kinds of raw materials: fresh fruit and the so-called “semi-finished product”, which is obtained by treating fresh fruits with mechanical and thermal processes. The most extended shelf-life of the semi-finished product allows for the adoption of more flexible production practices, leading to increased production performance and ensuring more efficient transportation strategies. In environmental terms, the convenience of this approach compared to adopting fresh fruit is questionable. The aim of this paper is to compare the environmental impacts due to these two different production and transport practices of apricot jam. Consistent with this end, a Life Cycle Assessment methodology has been adopted to evaluate the environmental impact of each step in the apricot jam supply chain. Research results suggest that the use of fresh apricots in the production of jams has a lower environmental impact (about 50–65% without considering transport activities) than the use of semi-finished products, and that losses due to the short shelf-life of fresh fruit limits the transportation distance of the raw and fresh material, also depending on the transport mode adopted (in the range of 875–4450 km). This highlights the need to adopt more clean and sustainable practices in the current industrial food processes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11589/243840
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