Innovative food processing and new technological solutions for the design of novel healthy products for the prepared consumer food sector (InFoTech)
This project has received funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine research (Reference no. 2019R495)
With the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit, there is now an opportunity to revolutionize Ireland’s agri-food industry, in particular the prepared consumer foods (PCF) sector, by providing diverse, novel, value-added products for international markets though consumer-focused and market-led innovation. As we live in an obesogenic world, foods that generate satiety sensations have obvious benefits for weight management and improved health. InFoTech will exploit new technological solutions to develop and optimize re-designed foods with increased health benefits for the PCF sector, with extended shelf-life for exporting to far-reaching international markets. Through innovative processing and analytical technologies, this project will build a new suite of scientific capacity and capability, fostering knowledge and transferable technologies for the beverage and bakery sectors. Using targeted PCF facilities, including novel processing technologies and new virtual reality analytical tools, InFoTech will focus on delivering new food prototypes with enhanced, validated health benefits, some of which will be dehydrated and specially formulated for international export. Using multidisciplinary approaches and inter-institutional collaboration, we will fully characterize the structure, texture and national and international sensory acceptability of the re-designed food products. Concurrently, microbial safety studies and in-vitro screening for satiety hormone modulation will be undertaken on the new food matrices.
The combined broad expertise of the project team in diverse areas such as food design, food physics, satiety quantification, safety, drying technologies and cross-cultural novel sensory techniques will generate a cuttingedge project which goes beyond the current state of the art by specifically targeting new research tools to achieve a very new and integrated map of both scientific and applied information for the PCF sector. This scientifically ambitious project will strengthen the existing knowledge base in food processing by directly addressing current industry needs and economic risks which include Brexit, environmental sustainability and consumer health.