Are consumers affected by changed production techniques?
NovelQ is the name of a project that will be testing out new production processes in European industry. Matforsk's commitment to the project is primarily connected with the attitudes consumers have towards changes in production processes.
The purpose of the project is to research potentially unique processing techniques. The goal is to extend the lifespan of the products without lessening their safety and to respond to the desires of customers for food with fresher characteristics. The project will also contribute to health and well-being, and promote ecologically friendly processing.
Selection of techniques
A literature study was carried out, and a questionnaire has been sent out to industrial enterprises in Europe. The questionnaire contains questions concerning drivers and inhibitors of technological innovation in companies in Norway, Denmark and a number of other European countries.
Some process techniques have been chosen for more detailed studies. These techniques include treatment at high pressure, different heating methodologies and cold plasma. Cold plasma is a technique that disinfects the surface of the food. It is a physical treatment, using electrolysis, and not a chemical treatment.
Just baby food
The attitudes of consumers towards different process techniques will be surveyed. Focus groups will be set up, where the consumers will be presented products made with different production techniques. It is baby food and juices that will be tested out on the consumers.
"We must find out what the consumers think of food made with the new techniques. We will be receiving products from industrial enterprises that are participating in the EU project. These will all be compared and evaluated against each other. In addition, we will get the consumers to rank the products in relation to each other. The purpose is to learn more about how different production methods affect the preferences of the consumers for food products," says Nina Veflen Olsen.
Matforsk will also be managing a study that will consist of carrying out tests at home. This study will only first be started two years from now. The new products will be sent to people at home. The purpose is to find out how the new products are experienced in a natural home situation.
"We will have a number of small-scale products that we will be testing out on the consumers, but how this part of the project is formulated will depend upon the results of the preceding studies," says Nina Veflen Olsen.
How will parents react to baby food treated with new production techniques?