Project: Optimal use of by-products of berry fruit production

Acronym OPTIEBERRY (Reference Number: 48)
Duration 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2021
Project Topic OPTIBERRY targets innovative processing and biorefinery/extraction concepts to food prototypes and (non)-food ingredients for sustainable use of berry biomass available, especially the non-premium fruit. The project will result high added value (non)-food applications to process or market the non-premium class fruit of raspberry, strawberry and blackberry (Figure 1). This valorisation will result in a more resilient berry supply chain, creating a secure and long-lasting sustainable relationship between the berry grower and its potential customers. Berries were chosen for their economic importance and local clustered availability. In Europe almost 2 million tons of berries are grown. However, more than 15% of these berries do not enter the fresh market because of quality reasons. Part of these non-premium fruit finds a destination in the industry but are sold at dumping prices. Economically relevant functionalities and bio-activities have been assigned to berry biomass. Most of the berry species are rich in broad set of functional molecules such as polyphenols. This provides multiple opportunities for the envisaged bio-based product development. The project starts with an comprehensive overview of the unique functional molecules in the abovementioned berry species and the impact of processing and storage on their content. Next a systematic and detailed high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) analysis of these target compounds will be performed to assess the content of well-defined functional molecules in the (non-premium) berries (3 different species, 3 varieties, 3 EU locations, 2 seasons), and the impact of storage. The results will be used to estimate the potential for furter development. Simultaneously, a market study will be set up to evaluate the potential of 3 selected product pilots based on berries, that is innovative packages of unprocessed berries, (fermented: to reduce sugar) beverages/purees and gelled products. In addition, cocreation sessions will be organised to identify 2 new cases for business modelling. The 3 pilot cases include the optimisation of the innovative processing steps and product recipes to maintain to the functional molecules present in berries. As a result, 3 product prototypes will be developed and 2 business canvasses will be set up. The project will also focus on biorefining of the non-premium fruit to food and non-food ingredients (cosmetics), where extraction of the fruit will be performed for both food and non-food applications as colourant, or antioxidant. As a result the potential of the extracted products will be evaluated as food and cosmetic ingredient. The functionality-guided process and product development will result in innovative concepts useful for a wide range of actors in the future circular economy, including food & drink applications and cosmetics applications. The project will be executed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers & advisors, and surrounded by the expertise and knowledge of the berry supplier Wilderhof.
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Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 ILVO Coordinator Belgium
2 Wilderhof Partner Belgium
3 pcfruit vzw Partner Belgium
4 The James Hutton Institute Partner United Kingdom
5 Geisenheim University, Department of Beverage Research, Chair of Analysis & Technology of Plant-based Foods Partner Germany
6 Boerenbondvereniging voor Innovatieve Projecten vzw (Innovatiesteunpunt) Partner Belgium