The loss of produced vegetables during storage and distribution amounts to almost 30% in Norway, and is one of the largest losses of produced food and lost sources of income in both agriculture and the food chain. The goal of OptiRoot was to reduce the total yield loss of root vegetables by 10%, as well as to extend the storage season by 2 months. The goal is achieved by strengthening and optimising knowledge between biology and storage technology during stacking, storage and sale.
30 different root vegetable warehouses have been investigated with a focus on the storage characteristics of carrot, swede and celeriac. A general challenge in the industry is that the vast majority of warehouses have refrigeration systems with refrigerants that will be phased out in the near future. As a result, producers must plan for the replacement of refrigeration systems to ensure a continuous cold chain throughout the storage period. This requires large investments, and it is important that this is carried out correctly and with environmentally friendly refrigeration solutions.
Low and stable storage temperatures lead to the possibility of longer storage time for the products. Measurements of temperature, humidity and air flow show how important it is to stack the crates of products properly and to have the possibility of regulating air velocities and refrigeration capacities. The dimensional basis for future refrigeration systems has been described, and a future-oriented standard system adapted to Norwegian production quantities, with increased air stability, increased energy efficiency and reuse of excess heat has been highlighted.