Resource-efficient food processing

VIDA challenge case description

Although most of the environmental impacts occur at the agricultural stage, a significant proportion of them occur across production and processing stage in the food value chain, and the improvements at the end of life and consumption stages have high potential. Accordingly, waste is a major source of resource inefficiency. Some of the key challenges of food processing industry in terms of resource efficiency are waste minimization, recovery and recycling; water efficiency; wastewater management and the generalization of eco-design (Source: Assessment of resource efficiency in the food cycle, European Commission, 2012).

Innovation areas to address resource efficiency challenges

Nutrients preservation and valorisation; degradation of persistent organic pollutants in the wastewater; non-chemical treatments; energy and/or water efficiency; sustainable bacterial reduction / sterilisation methods; shell-life extension by implementing advanced processing methods; I4.0 solutions optimizing the overall process including dosing, artificial intelligence, optimized monitoring and control of the process parameters and material flow and quality control.

Existing innovative solutions

Some of the identified innovative solutions to approach this challenge were presented via VIDA Webinars. See presentations here:

Demonstration Vouchers funded by VIDA

DV204 – Energy and water efficiency in food processing

DV211 – Demonstration Project at prospective user facilities: High-Power Ultrasound patented technology to disrupt the honey industry with a healthier and energy-efficient processing technique

DV220 – Drop2Drink unit: purified rainwater for the food processing industry


Enlisted VIDA Challenges and cases present the examples and not an exhaustive list. Some additional resource efficiency challenges in the agri-food sector may be also considered eligible.

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