Wageningen Food & Biobased Research works on mild process technologies that help better preserve the original quality of food products, by-products and possibly side streams. This will enable upgrading of traditional applications of by-products to more valuable food and feed biobased products.
Loss of quality and functionality
In food production and processing chains, we pay particular attention to efficient preparation of the main product. Side streams and by-products, such as beet tops and fruit and vegetable remains, are now mainly used as animal feed. In their present form, these side streams are not well suited for sustainable applications such as biobased products. The intensive processes with which the side streams are treated (e.g. high temperatures or basic/acid chemical conditions) cause them to lose a major part of their natural quality. This is unsatisfactory as these side streams then lose their functionality for alternative uses.
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research emphasises the importance of maintaining the quality of by-products for high-value products such as biopolymers, fibres for food or paper and minerals. Mild process technologies allow us to tackle the loss of quality. These technologies deploy mild temperatures, limited amounts of processing aids and/or less water. As a result, the molecules are less affected than in the intensive processes which are commonly used today, Through reduction of water use, energy use for drying can be substantially reduced. Mild processes allow us to make side streams available in practice for new, high-quality applications.