In 2030, the world will need 50% more food than in 2010 – and that food needs to be produced sustainably. For years, Luke has been active in research related to developing the entire food system from field to fork. From soil health to plant protection and crop and animal genetics, our expertise covers the entire primary production as well as R&D and diagnostics of new food products. We are aiming at sustainable, circular and resource efficient solutions to enhance the competitiveness of food producers.
Alongside many economic aspects, sustainable food systems relate to well-being and health of people, animals and the environment. Luke produces information on the importance of responsibility and the related indicators for various actors in the food system. In addition, we provide information on how sustainability can be improved at different levels in the food system.
Improving food security
Climate change and related issues such as loss of biodiversity, and sudden crisis, such as pandemics set great challenges for the food system. We need tools to increase resilience of the food system, to mitigate climate change and to adapt to changes.
Luke promotes diversification of Finnish food system by developing solutions for enhancing production and use of domestic alternative proteins from field to plate. We also study the potential of innovative microbiome solutions in all stages of the food chain for increasing food security and healthy nutrition in the changing climate. Climate change mitigation means include, for example, decreasing the methane emissions of ruminants by breeding and nutritional solutions. Our genomic research is essential for breeding for resource efficient, robust livestock and new crops that can better adapt to changing climate e.g. by being resistant to certain plant diseases and, thus, improve food security.
The environmental impacts and carbon footprint of different production technologies, food products and diets are studied to understand scientific basis of environmentally sustainable food production and consumption patterns and possibilities are strongly on our research agenda.
Food waste is waste of money
Minimising food waste is another important topic in improving the sustainability and resource-efficiency of the food system. Unnecessarily produced food is a burden on both the economy and the environment. To improve the situation, Luke develops new ways to monitor and reduce food waste in the entire value chain. Simultaneously, we help producers make use of side streams and by-products to promote circular economy and new business.