The global demand for organic processed fruit characterized by high quality, long shelf-life and improved nutritional value is growing due to an increasing interest in a healthier and more environmentally friendly food production. Consumers expect a superior quality compared to conventionally processed foods, such as less pesticide and additives residues, less nutritional/qualitative reduction due to processing operations and a low environmental impact. Nevertheless, the research on the optimization of processing for organic fruit products is still scarce.
Main project activities
The project aims to improve the competitiveness of the organic sector, increasing the level of quality, sustainability and consumer confidence of organic fruit (apple, citrus and berries) products and valorising by-products and side streams.
The activity will follow a “processing-guided” strategy, aimed to answer to stakeholders needs in order to have an important impact on the EU organic sector. The main activities are:
- define and optimize mild technologies tailored to each organic raw material, in order to increase the stability and functionality of a wide range of organic processed fruit products, including minimally processed, semi-dried and dried ones.
- define and optimize gentle and more sustainable technologies for the extraction and stabilization of functional ingredients, developing specific protocols aimed to reduce waste and valorise by-products.
- characterize and reduce the environmental impact of the production of organic processed fruit products and functional ingredients in order to increase the overall sustainability.
- evaluate the consumer preferences and acceptance in relation to the innovative processed organic fruit products aimed at developing and suggesting improved communication strategies.
- disseminate the obtained results and elaborate concrete recommendations (development of a Code of Practice) to stakeholders such as farmers, food producers and packers, distributors, retailers and consumers associations.
A fundamental output of the project will be the development of a Code of Practice for European organic fruit processing industries. An active engagement with multi-actors and a dissemination plan will ensure that the outputs of the project will be comprehensive and accessible, meeting the needs of the end-users. These finding will be used for the creation of a virtuous production system able to maximise product quality, minimising waste and environmental impact, enhancing consumer confidence on organic pro-cessed fruit products.”
Gentle processing, minimally processed products, semi-dried fruit, dried fruit, emerging technologies, consumer-driven approach, organic fruit-products, valorisation of by-products