The aim of the project is to optimise the salting process of demersal white fish from fresh raw material to ready to serve product for the consumer. The main concern for the producers today are yield, quality (unpredictable variations) and safety of the products. In this project, the effects of different parameters in the process on the microstructure of the fish muscle will be studied through the whole process by using a new image processing technology. These results in addition to sensory, chemical and physical methodology will be used to understand and optimise each process operation (presalting, soaking, drying), in context to the whole process.
The production of salted fish in old days was needed for preservation of this commodity during transport and sales in countries far from the rich fishing grounds in the North Atlantic. Nowadays the product has become a traditional part of the ethnic consumption habits in many of the Mediterranean countries. The need to preserve the fish by salting and/or drying is not the driving force anymore-rather the character such as taste of the product. This has developed into an important culinary tradition in countries like Spain and Portugal. The salted cod-fish (Bacalao) has great potential for further product development to meet the evolving need of the modern consumers that demand more easy to use products. The dried salted fish is not exactly that consumer friendly, as it needs 13 days of preparation before cooking
The project proposal will address the process and distribution of the salted fish through the chain from the rural fishermen in Iceland to processors located in rural areas in Spain and Portugal and to the end consumer. The project will be executed by institutions and SME's in those three countries.
The project is divided into four tasks:
1. Selection and establishing quality criteria.
2. Pre study on interaction between process parameters and yield. Microstructure, chemical composition, sensory analyses and other quality parameters are also studied. This will be executed by the RTD performers in cooperation with the SME's.
3. Selected process parameters will be investigated at industrial scale in the participating SME's by the assistance of the RTD performers in respective country.
4. Final testing of selected parameters and preparation of the final report.
This will create a more efficient process and increase quality and safety that will be better positioned to deliver products craved by the consumers. The industrial SME's will be in advanced position to undertake further research and development activities through the experience and knowledge gained through the project. After the project further 2 years of New Product Development is needed to fully exploit the results and to launch new products. Safety and shelf life issues will be affected by the results obtained and improvements in these areas are envisaged through this work. Environmental concerns will as well be addressed, both as relates to the processes and resource utilization.
Valuable side effect of the project is the experience gained in working in a vertical co operation between industrial partners and research institutions. This is the first time for these core proposers involved in the production chain from raw material to the final product to cooperate together and with the marketing company and the salt supplier in a European dimensional RTD project. Al1 participant will profit from the project. Experience in project management and teamwork will be an obvious product of this project.
This proposal is prepared with the help of an Exploratory Award (FAIR CT97 8421, New improved salting process for white fish).