The i³-food project aims to implement three novel food processing technologies under industrial conditions, ensuring rapid and maximum market uptake.
Research and industry partners from Germany, Netherlands and Spain will work together to ensure the validation of optimal control of the process for these technologies: pulsed electric field preservation (PEF-P) of liquid food products (e.g. fruit juices or smoothies), high pressure thermal sterilization (HPTS) for ready-to-eat-meals, and low shear extrusion for cold food products (mainly ice cream). The project will provide validated sensors or sensor type measurements for continuous process control and a fully developed and evaluated HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) for each technology.
Moreover, a scientific and cutting edge strategy for overcoming the market barriers ensuring rapid and maximum market uptake will be defined. Although these technologies have been developed in recent years and technical advantages have been made in terms of time savings, energy savings, extending of shelf life for retailers and ‘ready to use’ products, the implementation of these technologies in industrial food production is often still rather limited. The reasons for that are manifold and vary from low acceptance or rejection by consumers to non-open market access or lack of knowledge and information among food producers on how to integrate novel technologies. Taking the risk and investing in an improvement of their processing lines is one of the main hurdles for the industry, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in food processing. There is neither the time nor the resources available that are needed for the implementation of new non-standard processes.
The project partners have outstanding expertise in these technologies and high competences in system and innovation research. Thus, the European consortium brings together four research and technology organizations, four small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and two large industry partners that will connect and amplify the EU strengths in bringing advanced technologies into European practice.
i3-food has just started and will have 3 years duration, from 2015 to 2018. The project is supported by the European Commission under the H2020 Framework Program for Research and Technological Development with a total cost of 2.3 M€.