SHEALTHY aims to assess and develop an optimal combination of non-thermal sanitization, preservation and stabilization methods to improve the safety (inactivation of pathogens and spoilage microorganisms), while preserving the nutritional quality (up to 30%) and prolonging the shelf-life (up to 50%) of minimally processed F&V products. By combining and modulating non-thermal technologies with minimally processing operation, we will respond to consumers’ demand for fresh, healthy, convenient, sustainable and locally produced and additive-free food. The combined and optimised mild technologies will be demonstrated and validated in 2 business cases: Minimally processed fruits and vegetables and Fruit and vegetable-based juices & smoothies. Sanitization during washing will be optimized by applying in combination ultrasound (US), electrolysed water, plasma activated water, High Intensity Pulsed Light and Blue Light. Bioactive coating, active and intelligent packaging will be applied for quality preservation and shelf life extension of minimally processed F&V. F&V-based juices & smoothies will be stabilized by US and high pressure processing. For F&V by-product valorisation, US, pulsed electric field and membrane filtration will be used to extract bioactive compounds.
Sustainable and flexible processing methods will be transferred and adapted to the need of local F&V micro and SMEs, interconnecting primary producers through novel cooperative business models and new logistics systems, to enhance the traceability and authenticity of raw materials along the F&V value chain.
Commercial feasibility will be assessed, including consumer acceptance and regulatory, safety and environmental aspects. SHEALTHY will combine the technology trends and consumer needs to afford the business models, technology transfer and market orientation that will facilitate the transition towards a new collaborative agrifood ecosystem for traditional, local and rural SMEs around EU.
ENCO acts as Coordinator, leads the Exploitation, IPR and Dissemination management.