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Main research question/goal
The aim of this project is to develop new technological possibilities in the production of juices for Flemish fruit and vegetable processing companies. The aim is to increase the quality (taste, color, etc.) of their current products (juices) or to develop innovative products (new recipes, nutrient preservation, textures and more). In so doing the companies will differentiate their products from the competition. Specifically, by optimizing the various state-of-the-art process steps (and their connection), juices or purees can be produced with maximum quality retention. The project is carried out in close contact with a group of interested companies. They have chosen to focus on apple juice and on kale puree.

Research approach
This project differs from other research projects by studying combinations of process technologies. The researchers use Inert Gas (IG) milling and Low Oxygen (LO) pressing in combination with High Hydrostatic Pressure (HPP), Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) and Radio Frequency (Pasteurization) as  conservation technologies. The IG-LO technology is optimized for each type of end product (apple juice and kale puree), HPP and PEF for apple juice and HPP and RF for kale puree. After the optimization step, IG-LO technology is combined with the pilot scale pasteurization technologies per product. The novel conservation technologies will be compared with conventional thermal pasteurization. Additionally, a cost-benefit analysis will be carried out, which will enables the companies to immediately assess the economic viability of these technologies.

Although several initiatives have been taken in recent years to bring targeted knowledge building and distribution around the use and application of innovative grinding, pressing and preservation technologies to food companies, its industrial implementation remains limited in Flanders. The aim of this project is to achieve successful valorizations through the smart participation of companies, multidisciplinarity (multiple technologies and economics) and attention to applicability and concrete market questions. The Flemish fruit and vegetable processing companies now have more opportunities to preserve more of the initial quality of the raw materials (taste, color, nutrients, etc.) in their juices and purees. Product differentiation is now at the companies’ fingertips, with more insight into the application of the innovative processing technologies and their impact on the intended products.
Effective start/end date1/10/1630/09/18

ID: 4806036