A circular bioeconomy has become a global aspiration for governments in Europe and around the globe. This article pursues research questions concerning concrete innovations aiming to create bioeconomic transition options in Norway and presents results from a transdisciplinary investigation of Norwegian food industry cases involving processing of fish, meat, fruit, and vegetable co-streams aiming to capture or even increase use and value of residues from processing. It shows that while objectives of avoiding food losses and transforming co-streams to new products of higher value characterizes the poultry industry case and part of the ‘blue’ sector, challenges remain particularly in the ‘whitefish’ area where - also at the global level - a high share of fish resources ends as rest raw materials, i.e. not fully utilised. The investigation targeted strategic cases of innovations enabling alternative uses of co-streams: automation and scanning technologies for fractioning raw materials and co-streams into different qualities, a collection system for fish rest raw materials at sea, enzymatic hydrolysis, use of second grade vegetables for smoothies and potato peels for biodegradable plastics in the vegetable (potato) processing industries. The article shows how these innovations enable cascading and valorisation of co-streams and why an upcycling potential exists as well. Its main contribution is in demonstrating feasibility of transdisciplinary research and innovative options for bioeconomic transition towards sustainability.
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