Project code: 222
Contract period: 15.02.2015
Purpose of research: Applied research
Sale of organic foods is one of the fastest growing market segments within the global food industry. However, the number of processed foods made from organic raw materials is still limited. Furthermore, the EU regulatory framework for organic food defines high quality of the products as an important goal of production but evaluation of processing technologies according to the requirements of organic food production is in general lacking. Consumers buy organic food because they believe in the high quality of the product. The most important reasons are health benefits (less pesticide residues and better nutritional quality), taste, and environmentally friendly production. Since organic production in EU competes with both conventional food and global organic production it depends greatly on innovation, novel appropriate technologies and scientific evidence to support the quality. To increase the amount of products commercially available that meet the requirements of organic food production and consumer expectations more research and knowledge is needed focusing on development and adaptation of processing technologies. The focus will be on innovating along the processing chain of organic fresh berries and value added products obtained using organic berries as raw materials but the findings of the project can be extrapolated to other organic plant products.
The general objective of the project is to identify processing solutions to enhance the safety and overall quality and nutritional value of organic processed berries by adapting traditional processing methods to organic requirements, further developing methods that are not fully implemented and developing new sustainable processing schemes. Technologies to naturally extend the shelf-life of fresh berries and to process berries into added value products will also be considered. The technologies and processing schemes will be adapted to organic products and selected based on their environmental impact.
The results will be widely disseminated and transferred to relevant stakeholders and in scientific journals, at international conferences and workshops. The main stakeholders for this project are (i) distributers of fresh berries (ii) food producers that use berries as raw material e.g. juice-, yogurt-, and smoothies manufacturers (iii) food producers that use dried fruits in their products (breakfast cereals, yoghurt, ice cream); (iv) entrepreneurs interested in food innovations, (v) retailers (vi) consumer organisations.