Below is a short, by no means exhaustive selection of projects:
3D food printing
Technology-driven research in food is concerned increasingly with 3D printing techniques, in order to be able to manufacture individualisable products. The advantage of manufacturing single items is clear. However, the concept also has disadvantages, mainly in terms of production speed. At present we are focussing on (a) the development of new, disruptive product concepts which offer added value compared with traditional processes, (b) the development of hybrid production procedures to increase speed and (c) the development of masses based on materials science.
The aim of the interdisciplinary project is to develop concepts for decentralised digital food manufacture at point of sale, in which the integration of humans and machines will be key. As well as communication strategies we are developing various complex process chains for each of two application scenarios and are evaluating them by means of a benefit analysis.
The amount of whey produced in Switzerland for human consumption can be expanded significantly. The biggest obstacle is the diversity of whey, which can lead to incalculable economic risks in terms of the process behaviour. In this project we are aiming to substantially increase our knowledge of whey variety by looking into the impacts of their compositions on processes and product characteristics in more detail.
In the FermPlant project we are devising fermentation strategies for vegetables, in order to enhance their nutritional and sensory quality. This aims to help to boost the consumption of vegetables in Switzerland. By optimising the fermentation conditions (temperature/time profiles) and with the targeted use of appropriate bacterial strains (starter cultures) we are hoping to produce a mild acidification during the fermentation of vegetables, which consumers find more acceptable. In a second part we are attempting to enrich fermented vegetables with microbially produced vitamin B12 through the combined use of starter cultures – particularly in terms of production speed. This would provide a natural alternative to synthetic supplementation.
The menuCH study showed that the proportion of people who consume less than one portion of fruit or vegetables per day is highest among 18 to 34-year-olds, at 19 per cent. Other studies have shown that the choice of meals containing healthy foods can be encouraged in cafeterias with descriptive names and suitable information. In this project we are investigating the positive influence upon consumer choices of various names for or descriptions of meal options containing vegetables in community catering.