(Photo: Sverre Jarild)
After six years of a wide-range of activities, the programme has now been concluded. The thematic areas covered by this programme will become part of the recently launched large-scale programme on Sustainable Innovation in Food and Bio-based Industries (BIONAER).
Healthy, tasty and safe
“The primary objective of the Norwegian Food programme has been to promote research-based innovation to meet the needs of consumers, the food industry and society alike,” says
Anne Kjersti Fahlvik (Photo: Scanpix/Erlend Aas)
, Executive Director of the Division for Innovation.
Healthier, ethically produced food – yielded from sustainable, environmentally sound production cycles – is a high-priority item on the agenda for both consumers and authorities. The Norwegian Food programme has been instrumental in the many strides taken towards fulfilling these objectives in food production.
A list of successes illustrate what has been achieved: healthier farmed salmon, less food waste, healthier omega-3, fresher potatoes, more competitive fruit-bearing apple trees, improved packaging of seafood, healthier domestic animals, higher quality meats, pigs with a better quality of life, better organically grown berries, coffee containing fewer toxins, reduced emissions from agriculture, better quality water, healthier grains, enhanced growth strategies for local food producers and a more effective value chain for live scallops.
This represents just a few of the several hundred projects granted funding under the programme since its start in 2006.
The programme’s focus has covered the entire agricultural value chain and the aquaculture value chain from the point where seafood is extracted from the sea. The value chains end with the consumer.
“Activities under the programme to improve Norwegian food production are, of course, important to companies in the industry. But, in the end, it’s the consumers who reap the greatest rewards from this research. The summary of project results attests to our ability to follow up on politically based priorities and to deliver results that benefit most everyone,” states Ms Fahlvik.
The programme has provided both direct results for consumers, such as healthier cheese containing less fat, and important long-term results, such as reducing emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide from agriculture.
The Norwegian industrial sector has taken full advantage of the programme. One-third of the projects have been user-driven; that is, a company has served as the project owner.
(Photo: Sverre Jarild)
At the same time, a key objective of the programme has been to promote collaboration between companies and research institutions. Such collaborative constellations are essential to attaining the long-term objectives relating to globalisation, competition and the market, climate and sustainable production methods, food, health and well-being, and a secure value chain.
“Long-term knowledge-building in the realm of food is vital for Norway. Both the public authorities and consumers are concerned with food being both safe and healthy, that we have sufficient access to it and that food production is carried out with the environment in mind. As the work under the Food programme is continued under the new BIONAER programme, our task is to position ourselves to make even more out of the possibilities arising in the bioeconomy,” states Ms Fahlvik.
An international perspective
Norway attaches a great deal of importance to maintaining and further developing its role as an expert international player and collaboration partner, particularly in the seafood sector.
Iportant steps are being taken in the EU to take advantage of bio-based value creation. Here in Norway, we need to follow their lead – both on land and at sea,” concludes Anne Kjersti Fahlvik.
The Food Programme - video from the concluding conference (in Norwegian)