Information about food processing of the future gathered online


Ignacio Alvarez (left) from the University of Zaragoza in Spain demonstrated equipment for processing food with pulsating electric fields (PEF). Photo: Wilhelm Solheim / Nofima

A new website empowers food producers to make good choices when it comes to new processing technologies.

Healthy, safe and sustainable food is front and centre for anyone who focuses on food innovation. This is also true when it comes to the development of new technologies for food processing. Gentle processing that is quicker, causes less wear and tear and uses less water and energy can make production more sustainable while extending the shelf-life of food by more than a day with no compromise on quality.

For the last four years, the food research institute Nofima has been working in partnership with research teams across Europe to document the effect of six new processing technologies on food: high pressure, microwaves, pulsed electric fields, ultrasound, UV light and plasma-activated water.

Last week, the researchers invited food producers into the laboratory to try out products that have been processed using some of these technologies.

“We are experiencing widespread interest in new and more efficient ways of processing food,” says project manager and researcher Tone Mari Rode of Nofima.

“In particular, many are focused on gentle methods for extending shelf-life, retaining high levels of product quality and reducing the carbon footprint of foods. Several of these technologies can help in this respect,” says Rode.

Ignacio Alvarez (right) from the University of Zaragoza in Spain showed carrots processed with pulsating electric fields (PEF). Photo: Wilhelm Solheim / Nofima

The researchers have documented the impact on properties such as shelf-life, food safety, colour, texture and protein digestion. Additionally, sustainability calculations have been carried out while research has explored which market communication strategies are best.

All the results are to be found in one place online at the website which was launched in the presence of food industry representatives. The website features informative articles, test results and short videos about how these technologies work and what they can be used for.

“For the first time, the information and documentation about these six technologies can be found in one single location. Everything has been designed with the food producers in mind and ensuring that they can access information about which opportunities are afforded to them by these technologies, while also making it easier for producers to select the right technology for their products and achieve more gentle food processing,” says Rode.

“We hope it will be a useful resource Bon appetit!”