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Process integration for rapid implementation of sustainable innovative food processing

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - i3-Food (Process integration for rapid implementation of sustainable innovative food processing)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-02-28

The main objective of i³-food is the implementation of 3 innovative food processing technologies:
1. Pulsed Electric Field preservation (PEF-P) of liquid food products
2.High pressure thermal sterilization (HPTS)
3. Low shear extrusion of cold food products
A congeneric set of both technical (online sensors) and process conditioned bottlenecks (HACCP concept) does exist which hinders their uptake by industry and in the market. Therefore, optimum process control will be achieved leading to application under real life operating conditions by demonstrating and piloting in a near to operational environment of applicable validation systems. 6 well selected industry partners strongly support the approach and contribute as technology provider or technology applicant. A scientific and cutting edge strategy for overcoming the market barriers ensuring rapid and maximum market uptake will be defined. This integrated approach will provide maximal synergies in between the 3 technologies. Application opportunities beyond the known use cases will be explored. A clear description of possible applications and potential benefits will serve as an excellent basis for the dissemination activities. Project partners of i³-food have outstanding expertise in the field of PEF, high pressure and extrusion application as well as high competences in system and innovation research.
The activities in i³-food are organised in 6 work packages that are interlocked in the project according to scheme below.

(see image “i3-food interlocking of Work Packages)

First step and objectives were to overcome remaining technological bottlenecks by the development and to validate specific sensors needed for continuous process control.
This work package has aimed on development of sensors and sensor type measurements for continuous online process control.
For PEF-P, a sensor based on fibre optic temperature measurement was developed and validated. For HPTS, an online temperature sensor to be used within a closed high pressure vessel by temperature-dependent resistors was developed. For LS-Extrusion, a sensor type measurement for continuous detection of overrun was developed, based on a Coriolis mass flow meter which is used for in-line measurement of ice cream density.
Second step and objectives were to develop a specific model system (close to the targeted food categories) to ensure the desired relevant product properties, for each technology.
For PEF-P, a HACCP concept was developed on the basis of the identification of critical control points and temperature detection. The HACCP concept has been validated and is available for implementation by technology users as well as equipment providers.
For HPTS, a HACCP concept was developed on the basis of identification of critical control points and the temperature development during pressure build-up as well as the spatial distribution of the temperature field. The concept is available for technology users and equipment providers.
For LS-Extrusion, a HACCP concept was developed including the data generated by the overrun and the bubble size distribution data, the product flow rate and temperature. Despite first pre-tests with the completely new developed sensor for determination of air bubbles, further tests and evaluation of algorithms and validation of the measurement are necessary and will be completed within 3 months.
Parallel objectives were to enhance the application of PEF-P, HPTS and LS extrusion by validation of sensors for optimum process control in real life operations.
Requirements for the sensors as an implementation guideline for each technology have been described, as
- Definition of the process: e.g. boundaries of the process, typical layout
- Required information that the sensors should give: e.g. temperature, pressure
- Location in the process where the sensors need to be placed: for example, for HPTS the industrial partners stressed that preferably the temperature need to be measured inside a food package
- Critical Control Points (CCP) in the process
- Process conditions: range of operation conditions that has to be feasible for the sensors
- Equipment restrictions like size of the sensor
- Product specifications, especially when the sensor has to measure inside a product matrix
- External conditions like temperature, humidity.
Also in parallel, facilitation of a smooth and successful market entrance of the three technologies was undergone, by identifying and integrating existing and novel findings concerning market demands, opportunities and barriers. First step here was to analyse the innovation system for each technology, in terms of technology production process, food processing and delivery process and the stakeholder structure.
Therefore the criteria regarding potentials, opportunities and limitations of each novel technology in comparison with their respective technologies were derived and assessed. For the deriving of criteria the technology production and implementation chain as wells as the entire food processing and delivery chain were considered. For the clustering of derived criteria the adapted STEEP framework (social, technological, economic, ecological and policy dimensions) was used.
Before the results out of the analysis of the innovation system and the customers’ demands, requirements and expectations as well as results out of the expertise from the technological driven work packages will be used for a roadmap, they have to be validated, consolidated and integrated. This was conducted in three scoping workshops with the respective industrial group partners, members of the industrial advisory group and external experts.
Progress beyond the stat of the art has been the successful development of specific sensors needed for continuous process control. Based on that, a specific model system (close to the targeted food categories) was developed to ensure the desired relevant product properties. For each technology, a HACCP concept was developed on the basis of the identification of critical control points, for industrial application.
Summarizing the impact of i3-food, it can be stated that both the European food and drink industry and the manufacturing industry will benefit from the i³-food activities and the findings of i³-food because of
• Wider and faster deployment of three novel food processing technologies (PEF-P, HPTS, LS-Extrusion) by providing currently lacking applicable validated systems for the implementation of these technologies into practice
• Improved competiveness for food companies due to lower production costs and/or higher product quality
• Higher visibility of the innovative technologies in focus by target-oriented dissemination and demonstration activities for selected industries
• Creation of new scalable markets via new implementations and knowledge gain which can even be used for other sectors (e.g. control of critical points in the medical or pharmaceutical sectors)
• Taking into account the aspect of consumer acceptance for novel technologies to pave the way for a successful launch of improved or novel products on the market. The consumers will benefit from products with improved qualities and/or shelf-life
• Job creation by entering into new markets beyond the domestic ones and diversification of the product portfolio