A consortium of the TU Delft AgTech Institute, Delphy, Improvement Center and Birds.ai is investigating how waste in the soft fruit chain can be reduced with the help of artificial intelligence. To do this, the researchers are looking at a better ‘supply chain’ for strawberries, such as being able to better predict the optimal harvest date. The reason for the collaboration is that food waste is high, especially in soft fruit, because the products are fragile and have a short shelf life.

Globally, food for human consumption accounts for one third of all food grown. That percentage is considerably higher for soft fruit. For strawberries, for example, the moment of harvesting is decisive. Once the strawberries are picked, it’s a race against time to keep them as fresh as possible. Determining whether a strawberry is suitable for harvesting is human work: that decision also must be taken very quickly.

Growers experience high costs if the fruit does not meet customer requirements. By using objective measurements during cultivation, harvest and throughout the chain, soft fruit growers and suppliers can better serve consumers and minimize waste. It is very important for growers that risks such as a short shelf life, surpluses, shortages, and poor quality are tackled properly. These risks create waste and lead to negative perceptions among customers. The TU Delft AgTech Institute, Delphy, Improvement Center, Birds.ai and the Innovation Pact of Greenport West-Holland joined forces to tackle this problem. 

Read more at tudelft.nl