NovelQ - Articles and news items

Demonstration of novel technologies and advanced heating has been a key goal for NovelQ

Issue 5 2010  •  5 November 2010  •  Lilia Ahrné, Director of Department Process and Technology Development, SIK and Ariette Matser, Senior Scientist Novel Processing, Wageningen UR, Food & Biobased Research

One of the goals of NovelQ is to facilitate and speed up industrial exploitation of novel technologies by carrying out extensive demonstration activities with real food products and industrial equipment in close collaboration with the food industry. A variety of activities have been undertaken during the lifetime of NovelQ demonstrating the advantages of novel processing and advanced heating with respect to product quality and shelf-life (Figure 1).

How to compare novel and conventional processing methods in new product development: A case-study on orange juice

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Ariette Matser & Hennie Mastwijk, Wageningen UR and Diána Bánáti, Director General, Central Food Research Institute and Liesbeth Vervoort & Marc Hendrickx, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

The overall objective of the EU FP6 NovelQ Integrated Project was to formulate strategic solutions for technical and basic research hurdles to enhance the development and successful demonstration of Novel Processing (NP) schemes. A parallel approach was chosen based on providing a sound scientific base and technology transfer.

The first approach has generated new insights for mechanistic and kinetic aspects on the impact of novel technologies on food safety and quality as a basis for process and product development. The second has led to integrated product and process development, and demonstration trajectories. It has also resulted in enhanced implementation of NP.

Novel processing and sustainable food production – a perfect match or not?

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Ulf Sonesson, Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK)

Food is indispensible to humans. Aside from the provision of energy and nutrients, it contributes to a range of important aspects of human life such as pleasure, cultural identity and heritage. At the same time, food accounts for a significant global share of total environmental impact and resource use. It is difficult to accurately quantify this impact, but estimates show that food chains globally account for 25 – 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, and food production occupies most of the available arable land. Agriculture is also the single largest user of water and has a tremendous impact on biodiversity.

Novel processed food packaging challenges

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Nathalie Gontard, Valérie Guillard, Miguel Mauricio Iglesias, Stéphane Peyron & Sana Raouche Joint Research Unit Agropolymers Engineering and Emerging Technologies – UMR 1208 Montpellier SupAgro, INRA and Salvatore Iannace, Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials, National Research Council of Italy and Giuseppe Mensitieri & Ernesto Di Maio, Dept. of Materials and Production Engineering, University of Naples Federico II

In the last few years, the fast development of novel processing methods for food preservation to improve safety, quality and shelf life of packaged foods gave place to important gaps of knowledge that must be filled in the area of suitable packaging materials. In particular, in the European Project NovelQ (FP6-CT-2006-015710), the effect of novel processing technologies, such High Pressure (HP) as well as microwave (MW) heating on the performances and structural integrity of several types of packaging materials has been investigated along with issues related to food/packaging interactions. HP treatment is steadily gaining as a food preservation method that maintains the natural sensory and nutritional attributes of food, extending shelf life with minimal quality loss. It consists of applying high pressure (typically in the 300-800 MPa range over a period of several minutes) to packaged foodstuff to greatly reduce the number of microorganisms and also to deactivate enzymes by mechanical action. HP pasteurisation is conducted at 25 – 40°C while HP sterilisation is conducted at 90 – 110°C. We discuss here some relevant issues addressed in the NovelQ project related to the effect of HP treatments on packaging materials in terms of mechanical resistance of packaging structures, of the possible reduction of their functional properties (e.g. barrier properties) and of possible migration and scalping phenomena of small molecules in conventional plastic, novel biodegradable and nano – composite packaging materials. Moreover, in this contribution we also report on packaging/ food interaction during MW heating of packaged foodstuff…

Hygienic design of novel processing equipment

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Edyta Margas & John Holah, Campden BRI and Alexander Milanov & Lilia Ahrné, SIK

The hygienic design of food processing equipment is a critical factor in determining the quality and safety of foods produced. It involves the selection of suitable materials of construction, their fabrication into a functional piece of equipment, the ability of constructed equipment to produce food hygienically and the maintenance of hygienic conditions throughout the equipment’s working life. There is a significant amount of guidance and information available on the principles of hygienic design for traditional food processing equipment (from the European Hygienic Engineering Design Group;, but the nature of NP techniques such as High Pressure Processing (HPP) and Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) may impose other additional stresses on the equipment surfaces, their construction materials and their fabrication.

From laboratory-scale to pilot-scale

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Ariette Matser & Hennie Mastwijk, Wageningen UR and Milan Houška, Food Research Institute Prague

The implementation of a novel processing technology needs a science-based approach where product benefits initially demonstrated in a laboratory environment and the associated risks are used to predict enhanced quality when the technology is used in large-scale industrial operation. We discuss four novel technologies business cases developed for food application moving from laboratory to industrial-scale application.

Hygienic assembly and transfer of food products: A demonstration system for the automatic processing of vegetables

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Anders Pettersson, SlK and John O. Gray, IIT

Food production constitutes the largest European manufacturing sector, employing some four million people and generating an annual turnover of approximately EUR 850 billion of which EUR 50 billion products are exported. The sector is unusual in that a large percentage of its output still depends on manual operations; a situation that is probably due to the way the industry has evolved over previous decades and the fact that a vast number of companies in the sector are SMEs where the take up of automation has been relatively slow throughout the European arena.

The decision support tool to select appropriate technologies for specific industries

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Ariette Matser, Miriam Quataert, Remco Hamoen and Huug de Vries, Wageningen UR, Food & Biobased Research

In past years, it has become clear that the variety and complexity of novel processing methods is a major bottleneck for companies in deciding where to invest. Even though the pros and cons of technologies have been highlighted in various books (HPP, PEF-books, EME etc.), the most appropriate technologies for specific applications often have not been compared directly. Thus, NovelQ has created a decision support tool for companies.

By answering a short list of specific questions, a potential user (e.g. a food manufacturer) can easily evaluate whether a technology is relevant for their products and if implementation is economically feasible.

The NovelQ 10C approach towards SMEs

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Huug de Vries, Project Coordinator, NovelQ and Huub Lelieveld Executive Committee, Global Harmonisation Initiative

On 18 February 2010, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn – the new Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science – gave a speech at the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union. Mrs Geoghegan-Quinn made two striking remarks:

“My job title covers research, innovation and science. I am glad that President Barroso decided to connect up these different areas. While science and research creates a pool of ideas, innovation policy must bring these ideas to the market. So, it makes sense to link them. In fact, I am the first ever European Commissioner for Innovation – a clear sign of its growing importance for our jobs and growth and our society.”

An interview with Dr Jürgen Lucas

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Dr Jürgen Lucas, European Commission Project Officer for NovelQ

In May 2010, we interviewed the European Commission Project Officer for NovelQ, Dr Jürgen Lucas. Dr Jürgen Lucas works at Directorate-General Research, Directorate E – Biotechnologies, Agriculture and Food, Unit E.3 – Food, Health and Well-being in Brussels. We asked about European Commission activities, project opportunities in the food processing area and about the added-value for an industry partner in participation in a European project. The interviewers underline the new approach of the EC towards industry, in particular SMEs.

Predictive shelf life modelling of orange juice treated by novel processing

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Floor Boon, TNO and Nicolas Meneses & Dietrich Knorr, Technische Universität Berlin

Shelf life is defined as the period during which a product is acceptable for human consumption. Products are spoiled by microbial, chemical and physical processes. Shelf life is determined by the raw material quality, product formulation, processing, packaging and storage conditions. Processes that determine shelf life can be described using mathematical models, which can be used to predict shelf life or determine preservation conditions to achieve a desired shelf life. In this article, a predictive shelf life model for orange juice treated by high pressure (HP) and pulsed electric field (PEF) processing is described. Shelf life is based on microbial and enzymatic spoilage.

EU project NovelQ is to share results on novel processing technologies with the industry

Featured news, News  •  8 September 2010  •  Wageningen University & Research centre

NovelQ shares its results on 5-6 October in Wageningen. The EU-funded project is exploring novel processing technologies for foods…

NovelQ’s contribution to a wide application of novel processing technologies

Issue 3 2010, Past issues  •  30 June 2010  •  Huug de Vries, Project Coordinator, NovelQ

New Food editor Helen Difford spoke with NovelQ Project Coordinator Huug de Vries about the EU-funded integrated project. After five years, the project is drawing to a close and our October issue of New Food will incorporate the NovelQ project findings and what it means for the industry.

High-Pressure and Pulsed Electric Field: What do the consumers think?

Issue 2 2010  •  12 May 2010  •  Nina Veflen Olsen (Nofima Mat) and Anne-Mette Sonne (MAPP)

New products and processing techniques are continuously being developed within the food industry. While food scientists may focus on the technical novelty and applaud the progress of science, consumers are often more conservative and sceptical about changes. From earlier experiences with gene modification and irradiation, we have learnt that advantages that new processing technologies offer do not guarantee the success of a product in the market place. Consumer acceptance depends on whether they perceive specific benefits associated with the product,1,2 which means identifying factors that influence consumer acceptance is important.

NovelQ contributes to Europe’s innovation strategy

Issue 4 2007  •  16 November 2007  •  Huug De Vries, Project Co-ordinator, NovelQ

The European Commission’s (EC) strategy in the past ten years has been changed from stimulating and supporting scientific projects in specific research areas towards more integrated research projects. The term ‘integrated’ refers to multi-disciplinary approaches to address and find answers for complex research questions. In 2000, the definition of the Lisbon Agenda – focused on three per cent innovation rates in Europe, thereby increasing the European competitiveness – has added another dimension, namely a new balance in supporting basic science up to applied research and demonstrations with the goal to achieve successful market implementations of scientific findings[1].