Research project Small-scale innovative food processing equipment

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Nathalie Bernaert

Plant based products and residual flow expert

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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

Specifically, through this project, investments will be made in small-scale equipment for washing,
cutting, grinding, cell disintegration, separation, drying and shaping of protein-rich raw materials. The
steps before the protein extraction are equipment for the pre-treatment of the raw materials. The
steps after extraction lead to product developments. The project also includes the adaptation of a
space in which these devices can be operated.

Relevance/Valorization

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 is a unique test environment, not only for Flanders but also internationally. Up to 550 pilot tests are carried out annually in the Food Pilot, which our customers successfully transform into tangible realizations.

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