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Published: 19 July 2017  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Agriculture & foodAgriculture
Innovation
Research policyHorizon 2020
SMEs
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Denmark  |  Germany  |  Ireland  |  Italy  |  Netherlands  |  Portugal  |  Spain
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FieldFOOD has its finger on the pulse of food processing

The EU-funded FieldFOOD project is using innovative electric pulse technologies in a bid to make food processing more resource-efficient and cost-effective. Its solutions will be widely applicable across the sector, with specific focus on SME-uptake.

Photo of happy young woman agronomist with apple in hand

© V&P Photo Studio - fotolia.com

Growing demand for high-quality, fresh and nutritional foods in Europe and elsewhere also means a growing need for novel, innovative and efficient food processing techniques. The world’s population currently wastes one third of the food it produces, while 780 million people are classed as undernourished.

Although a lot of food is wasted at point of distribution or consumption in developed countries, there is considerable scope for efficiency improvements throughout the food chain. Improving food processing technology has obvious benefits, including reducing spoilage and waste; improving affordability and competitiveness of EU food produce; and reducing the need for preservatives.

While research in these areas has produced promising results, the high costs and risks associated with scaling-up have presented substantial obstacles to innovation.

FieldFOOD’s response is flexible, portable and affordable pulse generators that would make Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) technology more accessible and applicable. PEF uses short, high voltage electrical pulses to perforate cell membranes and kill microbes, thereby increasing the shelf life of a product. The process also enhances the product’s raw material properties by making it easier to process, manipulate and modify afterwards.

FieldFOOD’s low-cost pulse generators will be applicable to fruit juice; tomato products; olive oil and wine/cider-making. Through tests on fruit juice for example, the use of PEF has proven to improve food safety while increasing the shelf life of the fresh product from 7 to 21 days. FoodFIELD’s latest pilot plant experiments have also demonstrated a potential 3 %increase in extraction yield, improving productivity and output as well as quality and safety.

The project is showcasing the piloted technology at a number of high-visibility events across Europe, raising awareness of the opportunities it offers in an attempt to foster broad take-up across the EU food sector.

Project details

  • Project acronym: FieldFOOD
  • Participants: Spain (Coordinator), Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal, Denmark
  • Project N°: 635632
  • Total costs: € 2 242 660
  • EU contribution: € 1 994 301
  • Duration: April 2015 to March 2018

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Countries
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  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia