Within the framework of the European FOX project, AINIA is working on the development of a mobile container in which to select, process and pack fresh fruits and vegetables using more sustainable packaging systems . The container has the necessary equipment for gentle processing (washing, cutting, packaging) of fruits and vegetables close to the farm, so that it can be moved from farmer to farmer within the same region and used to process different types of fruits and vegetables. vegetables.
The FOX (Food processing in a box) project brings innovative soft processing technologies for fruits and vegetables to small agricultural producers, so that they can develop products with greater added value or take advantage of by-products such as juices or snacks. For this, four types of units are being designed based on different technologies and oriented to different typical products of each region.
AINIA designs a mobile container so that local farmers can process fruit and vegetables in a sustainable way
The FOX project is part of the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission, in which a total of 25 partners collaborate between universities, research centers, SMEs, industries and associations from nine European countries. This working group, led by the German center DIL, met this week at the AINIA facilities to share the work carried out and establish the next steps to be taken.
Innovative packaging for fruit and vegetables
The purpose of the prototype of a mobile unit designed by AINIA is the processing and packaging of fresh- cut fruits and vegetables using more sustainable packaging systems . Different eco-design strategies are being considered for the design of the containers, such as the use of recycled materials, the recyclability of the containers or the development of reusable secondary packaging.
According to Leonor Pascual, from AINIA’s department of packaging technologies, “based on a prior quality analysis, the selection of fruits and vegetables and proper packaging, their shelf life and superior physical and nutritional quality will be guaranteed, thereby that we will also contribute to a healthier diet “
These food transformation containers incorporate innovative gentle processing technologies such as pulsed electric fields (PEF) and ultrasound, among others. “Therefore, the quality of the processed products improves and the use of resources is minimized, because these technologies are more sustainable,” added Leonor Pascual.
Sustainable solutions for small farmers in the EU
There are many especially perishable fruits and vegetables. Proper treatment and handling throughout the supply chain is essential to minimize loss and waste.
AINIA (Valencia, Spain) leads the “Food Circle 3” in which, together with the Center technique agroalimentaire-CTCPA (France), the Linpac company, the German KOB center and the Valencian SME Terra i Xufa, are collaborating on the design of the mobile container for the processing and packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables.
“In the case of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, as they are especially perishable products, defining a suitable packaging system allows them to extend their useful life and have a product that is convenient to consume, thus promoting the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables”, Leonor Pascual has indicated.
Work is being done on research and demonstration of the technologies in four European model regions and other associated regions where there is an important cultivation of fruits and vegetables (with conventional production and organic production). In each “food circle” (with a specific technology and region) they are also working “on how to exploit new potential businesses and design strategies to involve farmers and local consumers in product development processes,” he explained. Leonor Pascual.