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SISTERS pioneers food waste reduction in the European food value chain via innovations in production, packaging and transportation. With its Bulkbox smart container technology, it improves logistics efficiency and sustainability, ensuring optimal produce conditions for consumers. This comprehensive approach shapes a future of sustainable, resilient, waste-free food systems.

SISTERS' BulkBox smart container


The SISTERS project is pioneering efforts to tackle food waste and loss within Europe's food value chain, addressing critical stages from production to consumption. This initiative is rolling out innovative solutions tailored to the needs of each stage: equipping primary producers with smart sales tools, advancing packaging technology for processors and retailers, and spearheading consumer and retailer awareness campaigns on food waste reduction. SISTERS' multifaceted approach is driving a significant shift towards more sustainable and efficient food practices, underscoring a collective move towards reducing the environmental impact of food systems across Europe.

Description of success

SISTERS is making remarkable progress in minimising food waste through the innovation and enhancement of smart containers, notably the BulkBox. This container, specifically designed to efficiently transport fruits and vegetables, integrates advanced sensors that track temperature, humidity, and gas levels to preserve food quality and prolong shelf life.

Trials by Spanish food producers have yielded positive outcomes, demonstrating the container's effectiveness in sustaining food freshness during transit. SISTERS' dedication to refining transportation and packaging methodologies is setting a new standard for sustainable practices within the food value chain.


  • Introduction of smart sensor kits capable of monitoring critical environmental parameters during food transportation.
  • Design and development of the BulkBox, a specialised container for the efficient and safe transport of perishable goods, incorporating the smart sensor technology.
  • Successful validation tests with a variety of produce, demonstrating the BulkBox's potential to enhance food quality and reduce waste.
  • Collaborative efforts with food producers and partners across Europe to test and refine the BulkBox solution.


The BulkBox sensor kit prototype was deployed for testing in a three-week pilot in Spain. The sensor was installed in the BulkBox and peppers were conserved inside. Throughout the pilot, carbon dioxide, oxygen and humidity levels, as well as temperature and other atmospheric parameters, were monitored. These indicators help to ensure food safety and increase shelf-life.  


SISTERS' innovative approaches, particularly the BulkBox smart containers, are set to revolutionise the food transportation sector by offering a viable solution to minimise food waste. The project's achievements pave the way for the widespread adoption of smarter, more sustainable practices in food logistics, aligning with the broader European goals of a climate-neutral food industry. By extending the shelf life of produce and ensuring quality, SISTERS is contributing to a reduction in food waste and promoting sustainability in the food value chain.


The sensors showed that the food products inside the BulkBox were exposed to higher temperatures at certain points of the transportation journey.

The sensors also demonstrated that even though the humidity inside the box increased, the weight of the food did not decrease, therefore food quality was maintained and food loss was reduced. Depending on the food product, this could also be interpreted as an increase in microorganism growth and food decay.

Additionally, it was established that the distance in kilometres of each journey needs to be factored in when the sensors are being used. The sensors therefore need to have an increased operation time to ensure they are powered throughout the entire journey, and communication with the data cloud needs to be maintained so that all data can be analysed.

SISTERS' BulkBox smart container

The FEM team and UniTN are analysing the BulkBox's effectiveness for the cold chain, ensuring optimal conditions.

The FEM team and UniTN are analysing the BulkBox's effectiveness for the cold chain, ensuring optimal conditions.

Project details

Project name
Working group
Food and health

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