In the international research project ImPUlSe (Innovation in the By-ProdUct Supply chain of citrus in Mediterranean area) innovative supply chain solutions for by-products of citrus production will be developed based on a quantitative assessment of scenarios. For this purpose, digitalisation solutions are being developed, among other things, which promote a circular value chain (circular economy) and thus a sustainable economy.

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Period of Implementation

Jun 1, 2021 - May 31, 2024
Total Budget

EUR 1,338,802.35



The final output of the planned work will be the development of (a) a comprehensive framework for increase in adoption level of innovation; (b) a diverse set of quantitative tools and models, to design an innovative and sustainable citrus (by-products) supply chain, and (c) simulation-based scenario assessment system to ease decision making process for farmers, food processors, food distributors and policies. This will contribute to development of innovative and scalable business models, more effective market mechanisms, enhanced healthy competition among economic agents, while respecting Mediterranean heritage and biodiversity.


- Design new, innovative supply chains of citrus by-products in the Mediterranean area, taking into consideration the current socio-economic situation of the actors and digitisation progress. - Address successful integration of Mediterranean citrus production and distribution system within a circular economy based on development of possible citrus supply chain scenarios, while considering local values and heritage. - Prototype, test and demonstrate innovative citrus supply chain solutions in the pilot countries Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, based on experiences of the current state-of-the technology within circular economy applied in Germany and France.

Problems and Needs Analysis

Efficient and effective supply chain management can herald many benefits for all stakeholders along the value chain from raw material suppliers to the end consumers. These benefits are e.g. supply chain transparency, process/operational efficiency, cost reduction, rapid development of innovative business models, as well as environmental outcomes. Particularly in the context of environmental pressure, increasing market volatility and decreasing public sector investments in agriculture, the capacity of food system actors to apply innovation is crucial for achieving global food security. Transparency and trust can increase the adoption and spread of technical innovation over larger areas, which will help to achieve long-term impact of digital business transformation within circular economies. The impact will be significant in e.g. increased agricultural output, higher environmental protection and risk mitigation along food supply chains. Innovation can bring many benefits also to the consumers, such as increased food safety and traceability. Yet, horizontal and vertical fragmentation of the value chain and lack of integration among the actors (efficient industrial symbiosis) limits adoption of innovation. Thus, the core question arising is how innovation adoption can be fostered, in order to overcome societal challenges, such as food security, regional economic growth and competitiveness, functioning of markets and food value chains, employment and quality of life, as well as environmental resilience. The paucity of applied research on innovation adoption by the food supply chain actors, increase in operational efficiency through new business models provides a significant gap which the project ImPUlSe aims to address.

Intervention Strategy(ies)

In order to achieve the objectives, ImPUlSe intends to design and develop an Information and Knowledge Hub (IKH), which will be an integrated virtual knowledge exchange and information sharing hub among all stakeholders during the project period and beyond. Information sharing and effective communication among all the stakeholders will take place during both physical and virtual meetings in pilot (and associated) countries. The IKH will simultaneously act as an Innovation Platform for industry and function as a participation medium for a wider spectrum of companies. The outcomes of the IKH will serve as the necessary input for establishing an integrated Analytics and Decision Support System (ADSS). ADSS will capture and share information in a way that contributes to a better understanding of the challenges and requirements for innovation adoption among the actors within citrus (by-products) supply chains. This will result in standardisation and efficiency improvements for all participants. The ADSS allows a cloud-based capturing and sharing of information, integrates computational assessment models for sustainability assessment, enables analysis of market mechanisms, and plans the most important processes of the entire supply chain. ADSS evaluates scenarios influenced by local and regional conditions, legal and operational requirements and constraints of each country resulting in increased resilience of food supply chains. To overcome future disruptions within international food security, we aim to design and deploy a sustainability plan.

Impact Pathway

Foster better access to the market of the innovation developed: ImPUlSe aims to increase awareness amongst key stakeholders about socio-economic impacts of innovation adoption along citrus (by-product) supply chain through direct engagement with key stakeholders within four pilot countries. Firstly, IKH will support and host knowledge and insights gained from multi-stakeholders throughout the supply chain. Secondly, ADSS will provide state-of-the-art insights to inform and reform the entire supply chain. ImPUlSe will increase integration along agri-food chains to promote product and process innovations, expansion to new markets, and agri-food product diversification in respect to economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Sharing experiences and innovations (including process) among multi-stakeholders: ImPUlSe will support the actors engaged in citrus (by-products) supply chains in identifying joint co-operation opportunities on overcoming barriers of commercialization and industrial use of wasted products. Circularity is based upon stakeholders engagement, which aim to identify collaboration synergies to create value. Empowering citrus chain actors, improving market mechanisms, technological transformation, and empirical research to better understand systemic levers of innovation implementation lead to substantial improvements in the value chain. Economic performance, competitiveness and resilience in the face of external environmental and economic instability are in the base of ADSS design and implementation. Scenario-Based Simulations Models, quantitative and qualitative interviews, co-creation workshops in all four countries will help to understand consumers' perceptions on citrus by-products use and will give decisive information on development of citrus by-products. Managers of farmer associations, food processors and buyers will be equipped with a core set of agribusiness management skills, such as marketing, strategic procurement, logistics concept, food safety and standards, good agricultural practices and post- harvest handling, storage and inventory management. These training programs will create new job perspectives, increasing employment in the sector. Enhance sustainability of the small-scale farming systems and preservation of natural resources: Implementation of smart solutions, in addition to numerous business and organizational improvements, will dramatically increase efficiency in water and energy consumption. Effective use of data and decision support systems is the key to efficiency in citrus supply chain. Automation of data capture and analysis provides a reliable way to implement sustainability assessment. One of the major challenges to enhance sustainability is the fact that assessing the sustainability of current practices is overly difficult, costly and time consuming. These assessment methods, even when implemented, are not useful for operational decision making. ImPUlSe will develop integrated sustainability assessment methods which can be tightly coupled with operational and strategic decision making. Enhance innovation capacities and appropriate technology transfer of existing or new infrastructures: Information sharing within IKH will be done by participatory strategies to involve stakeholders in the co-creation of solutions, in a gender inclusive way, supported by the latest digital transformation technologies. It will address stakeholder needs and limitations considering investment scarcities, gender, age and inclusiveness constraints, facilitate knowledge, awareness of transparency, massive changes in culture and behaviour, new services and jobs particularly for smallholders. Specific research on the collection, sorting and pre-treatment processes will be carried out to ensure a high-quality secondary raw material for the new by-products. Completely integrated processes for each type of the by-products, as well as the improvements achieved in food processing, logistics and recovery stages will be demonstrated with operational trials. Based on cost and benefits analysis new circular value creation management, combined with logistical solutions will be integrated into the business development of citrus supply chains. The business models will be analyzed for multiplication and scalability potential, enabling the transition towards circular economy within Mediterranean region.