World Food Day is an opportunity to promote healthy eating more actively, to organise support campaigns and to remember everyone’s contribution to tackling the world’s food challenges.

The portfolio of the Lithuanian Business Support Agency (LBSA) includes innovative projects aimed at ensuring food security, and the export of Lithuanian certified healthy products supported by EU investments.

According to Aurimas Želvys, Director of the LBSA, the problem of food waste, deprivation and counterfeiting exists worldwide. ‘All of this affects people’s health and national economies. In this situation, the Agency finances projects eligible for EU investment to develop systems to detect food adulteration and determine its freshness, and to support the export of healthy Lithuanian food,’ said Želvys.

Improve quality, increase exports

There are a number of projects where business and science come together to develop innovative solutions to improve food quality and promote exports through certain measures. Examples are ‘Intelektas. Bendri mokslo-verslo projektai’ (Intelligence. Joint Science-Business Projects), ‘Ikiprekybiniai pirkimai LT’ (Pre-commercial Procurement LT), ‘Prioritetinių turizmo plėtros regionų e-rinkodara’ (E-marketing of Priority Tourism Development Regions) and ‘Verslo klasteris LT’ (Business Cluster LT).

UAB Ars Lab has received over EUR 298,000 to develop sensor array systems integrated in refrigerators to detect the level of freshness and spoilage of food in refrigerators. The concentration of volatile particles emitted during food spoilage will be detected by sensors. When the level increases, the consumer will be informed that certain products are no longer fit for consumption, or close to it.

UAB Rūta, which received EUR 268,000 in EU investment to implement the project, is developing prototypes of functional food to meet the specific needs of different groups of people.

At the same time, the Lithuanian Rural Tourism Association promotes Lithuanian traditional healthy food and culinary heritage exports to the world under the measure, while the Lithuanian Food Exporters Association, which  brings together 20 companies, has contributed to the innovation and export of Lithuanian food producers through five projects jointly financed by the EU and the LBSA.

The companies of the Association export products worth almost EUR 350 million to 60 countries every year. The geography covers all continents of the world – Lithuanian products can be found in New Zealand and South Africa, India and Peru, Iran and Nigeria, Chile and Algeria, and of course, throughout Europe.

Statistics make us respect food

World Food Day has been celebrated annually on 16 October since 1979. It was proposed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and endorsed by the United Nations (UN).

According to the UN, nearly a third of all food produced worldwide is lost or thrown away, with 1.6 billion tonnes of food waste each year, compared to 88 million tonnes in the EU.

It is estimated that each person in the EU throws away around 173 kg of food each year, while each person in our country throws away around 60 kg of food that could still be consumed.

Rotting food waste releases harmful methane gas, which traps heat in the atmosphere and is 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 10 people in the world get sick every year from eating contaminated food. Unhealthy diets are a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers, and according to the UN over 1.4 billion people in the world are overweight.

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