Research project Small-scale innovative food processing equipment

In progress INNOLAB

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Nathalie Bernaert

Nathalie Bernaert

Plant based products and residual flow expert


Main research question

The Food Pilot is currently well equipped with highly versatile equipment to simulate most food processing operations on a pilot scale, including for the extraction of (new) proteins. Extractions of proteins do not always yield large amounts of protein, however, which means that subsequent processing steps are not always feasible on a pilot scale. In addition, the new alternative protein sources in the exploratory phase of primary production no large quantities available for further processing. In order to meet the demands of SMEs to also to be able to test innovative technologies in small amounts of protein-rich raw materials, there is a clear need to invest in a separate space with innovative small-scale commercial equipment (range 0.5 -5 kg).

Research approach

This project enables the investment in small-scale equipment for washing, cutting, grinding, cell disintegration, separation, drying and shaping of protein-rich raw materials. The steps before protein extraction require equipment for the pre-treatment of the raw materials, while the steps after extraction lead to product developments. The project also includes the adaptation of a space housing these devices.


In combination with the other pilot devices in the Food Pilot, complete processing processes can be simulated from various protein-rich raw materials to new end products in the fruit and vegetables, meat, bakery, dairy, ready meals, and the like. This unique test environment serves Flanders as well as international companies. Up to 550 pilot tests are carried out annually in the Food Pilot, which our customers successfully transform into tangible realizations.

This project is done in partnership between ILVO and Flanders'FOOD.