Food & Flavour

i3-food eyes new food processing technologies

A project involving Spain’s Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology has come up with three innovative food processing technologies that could be applied to a range of foods including fruit juices, smoothies, ice cream and ready meals.

The objective of the i3-food project is to implement a trio of innovative food processing technologies in industrial conditions, guaranteeing a maximum and fast uptake of the market. The IRTA has worked for three years in the development and dissemination of this project which has been supported by the European Commission under the H2020 Framework Program for Research and Technological Development at a total cost of €2.3 million.
The three food processing technologies are:

  • The Pulsed Electric Field Preservation (PEF-P) that uses short electric pulses to assure microbial inactivation in food products, while preserving the fresh characteristics (e.g., fruit juices or smoothies)
  • The High Pressure Thermal Sterilization (HPTS) that uses high pressure to reduce the thermal impact on the products, as compared to other thermal sterilization processes (ready-to-eat-meals)
  • Low Shear Extrusion (LS-Extrusion) at a low temperature based on planetary roller extruder, that improves sensory qualities in products (ice cream).

These three food processing technologies have in common their novelty, their clear advantages for the food industry and their difficulties for implementation. Although these technologies have been developed in recent years and technical advantages have been made regarding time savings, energy savings, extending of shelf life for ‘ready to use’ products, the implementation of these technologies in industrial food production is still rather limited. From the i3-food project, IRTA says it has designed a plan to help in a wider implementation of these technologies.

The IRTA’s research is now being presented to interested stakeholders, food sector companies and consumers, ensuring that they all can learn about the features and benefits of the i3-food assessed technologies.Over the last three years, the consortium has disseminated the project activity online and also at international food sector events across the world.