Project Year 2019
Advancements in food research
Nofima aims to bring Norwegian food production a great step forward in terms of health, taste, sustaina-bility, safety and quality.
The following summarizes the latest research from the four strategic research programmes SunnMat, FoodSMaCK, FoodMicroPack and InnoFood.
In SunnMat, scientists investigate the optimum use of ingredients in terms of health benefits, general quality and new areas of application, gaining new insights into extrusion processes which provide food producers with opportunities to create new, healthy products.
They are also developing -omics methods to understand and assess the correlation between type characteristics or growth and processing conditions and the content composition of various foodstuffs. This year, they have, for instance, examined how:
- different types of dietary fibre added to bread affect its baking qualities and health properties
- marinating, drying or storage affect meat quality and protein digestion, as experiments with enzyme-based marinades show that different enzymes break down meat and connective tissue in different ways.
The aim of FoodSMaCK is to contribute to profitable production of sustainable and healthy food which is appealing to consumers. Sensory science is one of three key fields of research. Over the past year, researchers have developed a relatively new method of understanding and predicting consumer choices based on their unconscious attitudes towards i.a. sugar-reduced products.
They have developed Raman spectroscopy, a method that can be used for rapid and nondestructive in-line measurements of both main components, such as fat and protein, as well as more detailed chemistry, such as fatty acid composition.
The third key research area involves computational analyses and modelling. The researchers develop ways to understand relationships between “blocks” of data, such as consumer demographics, attitudes and preferences hat impact food choices, or which process steps have the greatest impact on the final quality of a food item.
The FoodMicroPack researchers contribute new knowledge for the manufacture and production of safe food with long shelf life, optimum packaging solutions and reduced food wastage.
Since Listeria poses a great challenge for many food producers, the FoodMicroPack project carries out extensive research into this bacteria to find out why it is so hard to get rid of. The scientists have built a massive collection of Listeria bacteria and sequenced the genome of the variety most prevalent in the meat industry in order to develop more effective strategies for getting rid of the bacteria.
Packaging is essential to preserving the quality of the food.
- are investigating the effects of choosing alternatives to traditional plastic materials
- have found the causes of discoloration of salami
- have mapped which types of bacteria that lower the quality of chicken, and how different packaging solutions and storage conditions affect bacterial growth.
Design-driven innovation and strong consumer involvement are key when the InnoFood researchers are building knowledge platforms. The aim is to contribute to sustainable growth in the food industry and the public sector.
Researchers have mapped the meal needs of healthy seniors, and found that what they want is food that is tasty, healthy and simple to prepare – and above all to have someone to dine with. In this project, the researchers used creative focus groups, interviews and future scenarios as techniques for involvement.
Understanding critical factors for the innovation capabilities of small businesses and the role small-scale producers play when it comes to innovation in the Norwegian food industry provides increased knowledge that will benefit the whole food industry. It turns out that increased involvement leads to better cooperation and increased emphasis on innovation.