Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ULTRAVEG — Result In Brief

Project ID: 222233
Funded under: FP7-SME
Country: Turkey

Technological innovation for dried food

Dried food offers many benefits in modern food processing, but modern drying methods have certain limitations. The EU funded research to address these problems, which often make it difficult for small manufacturers to survive in the food industry.
Technological innovation for dried food
Aiming to help dried food small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) remain competitive, the ULTRAVEG project developed technology for low-cost, fast, effective and quality drying of fruit and vegetables. Project partners focused on the potential of high-power ultrasound (HPU) for the dehydration of porous materials. Earlier investigations had indicated that this may be an effective process for the treatment of heat-sensitive materials such as foodstuffs.

A powerful technology that can be used to increase the drying rate of materials, HPU is also safe, environmentally friendly, efficient and economical. The project advanced a novel approach to the application of HPU to drying processes, achieving a significant reduction in times, for both hot-air drying and accelerated freeze drying.

Two ULTRAVEG prototypes were designed, in compliance with most of the industrial requirements and meeting most of the needs expressed by the SME partners. Following positive lab-scale results, the different design components were scaled up to a size close to the industrial scale, and then were assembled for use in industrial validation trials. The current prototype design is intended to meet industry needs and the requirements of a new drying technology.

ULTRAVEG trials showed that an accelerated drying curve does not diminish the nutritional and sensory qualities of foods tested. The approach promises gains in production capacity, and is affordable, easy to install and maintain, and can be operated with minimal effort and without special skills.

Various dissemination activities succeeded in communicating project efforts, results and basics of the developed technology. A patent application regarding the novel ULTRAVEG approach is pending, and industry response to the results that have been shared has been positive. The latter indicates that the time is right for the introduction of this new technology that can boost SME operations.

The application of promising project results will help European SMEs in the dried food industry to withstand global competition and survive alongside large multinationals. Furthermore, the EU economy stands to benefit from increased sales of high-powered ultrasound components and equipment.

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