Thesis subject

Development of Novel Food in the European Union

The AEP group at WUR is looking for MSc students who are interested in writing their thesis as part of its project "BioMonitor", which addresses the information gap in bioeconomy research by re-structuring its existing data and modelling framework.

The student specifically will work on the development of novel food products in the European Union (EU). Novel food is defined as a type of food that has not been consumed significantly in the past or is produced by a novel method. In the EU, the cut-off date for novel food is 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on novel food was introduced. The EU provides the following underlying principles for their regulation of Novel Food:

• Safe for consumers
• Properly labelled, so as not to mislead consumers
• If novel food is intended to replace another food, it must not differ in a way that the consumption of the Novel Food would be nutritionally disadvantageous for the consumer.

For example, meat substitutes make large progress in providing alternatives that are accepted by a majority of the population and is not a niche product anymore. A similar development can be expected with cultured meat, produced by in vitro cultivation of animal cells.
The student is expected to analyse the development of novel food in the EU over time and space. Important questions are what the underlying causes for differences in development between Member States are and how novel food products could be classified. Further investigation of the topic could focus on the legislation, authorisation procedures or consumer preferences.
The research will provide input to the BioMonitor project, where an indicator framework for the bioeconomy is developed. This, inter alia, measures and monitors food and nutrition security in the EU, for which development of novel food is an important corner stone.