Processing technology for the food industry
Healthy, tasty food which is easily prepared – that is what today's consumers want. At Nofima we work with new technologies as well as storage and preservation methods intended to ensure that the food remains safe to eat and maintains the highest quality for as long as possible.
- Expertise in heat treatment of all sorts of raw materials
- Research facilities for heat treatment, high-pressure processing and other novel processing technologies
- Expertise in the value chain of seafood from the catch and slaughter until it reaches the consumer
- Expertise in new product development and raw materials
- Expert advice on packaging technologies, preservation, industrial gastronomy and processing
- Courses and training classes on hygiene, critical control points, heat treatment, autoclave operations, packaging and packaging technologies
- Heat distribution measurements according to the IFTPS protocol
- Advice to the industry on selecting and investing in processing equipment
- Our research contributed to the establishment of the chilled ready meals product segment through the establishment of Fjordkjøkken and the Fjordland product range, among other things
- Our research into the use of a modified atmosphere packaging of fish laid the foundation for making freshly packaged fish available in stores
- Our research on the utilization of unused species led to the discovery of the unique properties of Atlantic argentine (or the greater silver smelt) when it comes to gelling, and by extension fish cake production, and the introduction of the “kvitlaks” concept in the Norwegian fish food industry
- Our research laid the foundation for humane slaughter of Norwegian farmed salmon through electric stunning
- Our research led to a fully automatic hot-smoking process line for King Oscar producing canned sprats, Norwegian brisling sardines
- Our heat distribution measurements according to the IFTPS protocol were decisive in paving the way for exports of Norwegian (and European) canned food products to the USA
- We introduced the Norwegian industry to high-pressure processing and sous vide cooking methods
To meet the demand for healthy, tasty food which is easy to prepare and with its freshness intact, food manufacturers utilize several different processing technologies such as sous vide, cook and chill techniques and combinations of various light preservation methods.
The goal is for the food to be safe and healthy to eat, while preserving flavours and juiciness.
Nofima researchers have extensive experience and expertise in these technologies. In collaboration with our skilled chefs and technicians we can help large and small food producers with the entire process of developing new products, choosing the best production methods and equipment, and finding optimal processing technologies and packaging solutions, in order to give the products the desired gastronomic quality and shelf life.
From boiling hot to freezing cold
We research methods from classical heat treatment and preservation, such as sterilization and pasteurisation, to novel and more gentle processes such as sous vide technology, microwaves, heat treatment under agitation, surface pasteurisation and high-pressure processing.
These processing technologies are applied to the product post-packaging. This means that we have extensive knowledge about possible packaging materials (conventional as well as bio-based materials) and the various packaging technologies.
At the other end of the heating scale, we are working with freezing and thawing technologies as well as super-chilling of seafood, often in combination with packaging technologies such as modified atmosphere packing and vacuum technologies.
For seafood, we often follow the entire value chain from the catch or slaughter until the product reaches the consumer.
Often, we are not only working with the individual ingredients, but rather whole-meal solutions and ready-made dishes. This requires new production technologies, new packaging methods and improved production hygiene.
It can be challenging to compose a meal and keep the texture, taste, crispiness and juiciness of all the elements in a meal. An increasing number of ready-meals are introduced to the market, and food producers require knowledge as to how the various components affect each other.
By applying different methods for pre-treatment of the components, it is possible to ensure that they maintain an optimal taste until the product is consumed, after being re-heated at home. A considerable amount of research is behind the process of ensuring this optimal quality and at the same time preserving the nutritional value, without compromising on food safety.
The production of food must be efficient and not too resource intensive. A number of projects have been launched in recent years with the aim of developing new and tasty ready-made dishes that can be introduced to the market – both for regular consumers and institutional households.
In addition, we have increased our focus on personalised food and meal solutions, such as meals for special groups, like the sick, the elderly or small children, who have unique requirements for their desired products in terms of qualities such as texture and protein content. To succeed in these endeavours, we need new technologies and new insights into the food production process.
Quality and hygiene
Bacteria and other microorganisms are naturally present in raw materials, and microbial survival and growth is often the main limiting factor in ensuring good quality and long shelf life for products.
We are therefore investigating how we can best control bacteria and prevent growth and survival in the foodstuffs and the production environments.
We try to find the most appropriate methods for packaging, preservation and hygiene for various food products in order to provide consumers with safe food which has a long shelf life, without compromising on quality.