Food4CE Austrian partners, UAS BFI Vienna and ECONSULT, kicked off the national Innovation Hub

Date: 28.03.2024
By: Food4CE
On 19th March 2024, a free webinar was organised by Food4CE Austrian partners UAS BFI Vienna and ECONSULT to engage potential stakeholders on the topic of Regional Food Logistics.

The webinar was the kick-off of the national Innovation Hub. Its aim was to engage with potential stakeholders interested in the Food4CE project, which aims at supporting Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) in their efforts to create a sustainable and resilient food supply system. The invited speakers covered some essential questions, e.g. which needs and challenges a regional producer face, how to optimise the daily delivery process to thousands of customers, how to get funding support of innovative projects in logistics, and how to manage the transition to electromobility.

The idea for the webinar – explained David Strauß (UAS BFI Vienna) in his introductory speech – came from a desire to seek a proactive dialogue with players and stakeholders in the industry and to initiate a discussion on short value chains in the food sector. 

The moderated webinar, led by Gerda Hartmann from ECONSULT, featured insights from local producers sharing their experiences, along with institutional representatives offering valuable information.

Roman Brandhofer, a local producer of 100% natural fruit juices, who now supplies the best restaurants and Delis, spoke about logistical challenges faced by regional producers, based on his experience with the production he has been running since 2006 in Brandhof, not far from Wieselburg in Lower Austria.

Thomas Simon is a managing director of Hausbrot, a food logistics company based in the 23rd district of Vienna that has been bringing products from the region’s best bakers and producers directly to consumers’ homes early in the morning for breakfast and snacks since 2011. Hausbrot sells over 2.5 million baked goods per year, which are freshly prepared every day, 365 days a year. During the webinar, Thomas Simon spoke about the daily practice of food logistics and its challenges.

Franz Schwammenhöfer, Head of the Logistics Coordination Department at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection (BMK) since 2015, as well as national contact point for the concerns of key players in the field of logistics and responsible for the BMK’s logistics funding programme, provided webinar participants with valuable information on federal funding for logistics. Schwammenhöfer explained that the funding focuses on the implementation of innovative logistics concepts for all modes of transport in order to increase the competitiveness of the Austrian logistics sector, increase the attractiveness of the location and ensure social and ecological sustainability.

Finally, Andrea Faast, Head of the Location and Infrastructure Policy Department at the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, provided interesting information on eMobility services for SMEs, information about the transformation of fleets and the topic of electric charging, as well as the ambition to start a zero-emission transport project in the centre of Vienna. She also addressed the importance of Smart Specialication Strategies (SSS), such as an action plan “Sustainable Logistics 2030+ Lower Austria-Vienna” and the pilot projects that were started within this initiative.

The webinar concluded with an interesting discussion among the participants, allowing them to gain clarity on various aspects of Regional Food Logistics.