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EcoPROLIVE Report Summary

Project ID: 635597
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EcoPROLIVE (Ecofriendly PROcessing System for the full exploitation of the OLIVE health potential in products of added value)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

ECOPROLIVE project proposes an innovative production process to profit of the bioactive potential of olives in different products (olive oil, functional oil, functional fibre ingredient, functional enriched products) with minimal loss of valuable compounds (hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oeluropein, oleocanthal, squalene…) and improved environmental impact compared to the traditional processes at the olive oil mill and pomace oil factory.
All products obtained have commercial and healthy value of socio-economic impact. Healthier product development is driven by the evolving movement of health self-management through healthy diet and lifestyles. EFSA has approved a cardiovascular health claim for olive oil polyphenols above 5 mg /20 ml of oil. In addition to the social impacts, environmental impacts are quantified by a Life Cycle Assessment. The developed technology contributes to a more sustainable processing by the reduction of wastewater generation and exploitation of by-products in up-cycling strategies. The impacts will be intensified by replication in olive oil mills and olive pomace factories willing to take up the developed technology.
Furthermore, the participating SMEs implementing the ECOPROLIVE process will improve their competitiveness making use of innovation for growth and diversification.
Overall objectives are: demonstrating the technical viability of the innovative processing, improving the sustainability of the olive oil industry, researching markets for the new products developed (solving market barriers), product prototyping and product dossier elaboration, and the validation of the technology at an operational environment.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The ECOPROLIVE project has recently ended the “experimental phase” and it is moving towards the “application phase” starting with the olive harvesting campaign. In this first phase, all the relevant techno-scientific knowledge related to the innovative technology has been generated and it is transferred to the user group of SMEs implementing the process via reports containing the best performing operational conditions. For the application phase, the pilot plant has been designed and provided of the necessary machinery to demonstrate the ECOPROLIVE process at ISANATUR facilities. Although some technologies are at a lower TRL and require further optimization, demonstration to a relevant pilot scale will feed the feasibility analysis to determine possible industrialization. Besides the technical work, communication between partners, and outreach activities outside the consortium with relevant stakeholders have been hold to stablish partnerships, attract investors, secure IPR, solve regulatory issues, and define the key value proposition and market strategy for the ECOPROLIVE products.
Worth mentioning results of the covered period are:
- The regulatory framework affecting ECOPROLIVE products is solved for one the oil products with positive outcomes in quality for virgin olive oil denomination, while the other products will target the functional food market subjected to different regulation.
- Consumer studies have profiled the best matching consumer of ECOPROLIVE products and the most appropriate commercialization channels.
- Some aspects of the key value proposition of the ECOPROLIVE products have been defined based on the results of an exhaustive competitor analysis.
- Survey results show the interest of the olive oil industry for implementing sustainable processing (i.e. ECOPROLIVE processing) limited to investments below 250k€.
- Prototype machinery has been specifically designed and built for the application of the innovative processing.
- The feasibility of the first stage of the process has been evaluated in different possible configurations involving the innovative technology with a first scenario to be tested at the pilot plant.
- Application of ECOPROLIVE processing increased the concentration of hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol and oleocanthal in the oil extracted by using the technology in the lab scale.
- A patentability study to protect ECOPROLIVE innovations is ongoing.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Beyond the state of the art, new product developments from by-products from the olive industry and new product uses are progressed in the project with potential impact on health and sustainability. This is supported with the application of health and nutritional claims approved by EFSA, and the LCA analysis results linked to the ECO-label application to the developed products.
ECOPROLIVE does not only present an alternative for waste prevention, it avoids wasting the olive bioactive potential, and it constitutes an innovative system for olive oil production of high quality. Most innovated systems are focused on improving just the characteristics of the olive oil with little regard to the generation of byproducts or exploitation of the potential added value of certain olive components. ECOPROLIVE goes beyond that including the development of other products of health potential: functional oil, polyphenol rich fibre ingredient and functional enriched bakery products, and the exploitation of the olive pits. The advantage of this system over the existing ones is the waste minimization to a virtually “zero process”.

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