Successful results from the 2nd year of the R&D project “Avanza-S”: New healthy food products and advanced packaging solutions.

The Centre for Industrial and Technology Development (CDTI, for its name in Spanish) of the Spanish Ministry of Economy has reviewed and certified the second year of the R&D project “Research and experimental development of new healthy food products and advanced packaging solutions” (AVANZA-S). The project was selected and funded by CDTI in the frame of the CIEN Strategic Programme for National Business Research Consortiums, whose main objective is to fund large experimental development projects in key strategic areas of international relevance.

With an investment of over 7 million euro, the AVANZA-S project aims to research on new food ingredients and formulations and on new systems and materials for advanced food packaging that permit to develop new healthy and multifunctional meat products meeting the demands of consumers and public authorities regarding health and sustainability.

The project brings together 7 companies with large experience and capacities in terms of R&D: UVE, S.A. (UVESA, consortium leader), ELPOZO ALIMENTACIÓN, S.A., BTSA Biotecnologías Aplicadas, MONTELOEDER S.L., NUREL S.A. (SAMCA GROUP), PLASTIENVASE S.L. (SP Group) and BANDESUR ALCALÁ S.A. The project also counts with the participation of 11 public research groups belonging to several Spanish universities and to CSIC, the Spanish National Research Council.

The project started the 1st September 2015 and will end by August 2019. The key results achieved by the consortium during this second year are described below:

UVESA has maintained its objectives: find new strategies to enhance the nutritional profile of chicken meat and of fresh chicken-based products, and test new packaging solutions that permit to increase their shelf life. Regarding the nutritional improvements, the company has researched the incorporation of a natural compound of high nutritional value in the feed of broiler chickens, analysing the effects on the final products. At the same time, it has assessed the incorporation of the compound directly into the meat or into the meat-based products using different incorporation and conservation strategies. The company has also researched natural compounds with antimicrobial and/or antioxidant activity that permit to obtain healthier food products. Finally, UVESA has tested in chicken-based products several advanced packaging solutions developed by other project partners.

ELPOZO ALIMENTACIÓN has carried out during this second year activities that have permitted the company to design new functional meat products to enhance consumers’ health and wellbeing. At the same time, the company has continued testing active packaging solutions to preserve the functionality of these meat products and to guarantee its food safety.

BTSA Biotecnologías Aplicadas, during this second year, has succeeded in the laboratory tests to obtain functional ingredients based in Vitamin E from sunflower by means of physical methods and solvent-free clean technologies. The company has also consolidated the processes to obtain concentrated extracts of omega 3 fatty acids using enzymatic technologies, thus permitting to increase the company portfolio of high quality functional ingredients with low organoleptic impact.

MONTELOEDER is working in the development of functional ingredients based on plant extracts for the food industry, including food supplements and nutricosmetics. During this second year, the company has successfully carried out an intervention assay to verify the capacity of an ingredient, mixture of extracts of hibiscus and lemon verbena, to increase satiation and help lose weight and fats in overweight and moderately obese people. The results from the assays have been published in the scientific paper Food & Function. On the other hand, the company has developed an ingredient, mixture of 4 different extracts, with high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, with proven capacity to reduce the negative effects pollution has on human skin. This ingredient, registered as ZeroPollution, will be further assessed during the following years.

NUREL, during these two years, has successfully developed new biopolymers with special technical features:
– INZEA F18C: Compostable biopolymer in accordance with the norm EN13432, with transparency and properties similar to those of polypropylene.
– INZEA FH11: Biodegradable biopolymer in HOME compost conditions in accordance with NF T 51-800, with a biobased content of 40% according to the norm ASTM D6866-16 and a transparency level between those of polyetylene and polypropylene.
– INZEA F18P: Compostable biopolymer similar to paper in touch and appearance.
Regarding the active packaging solutions, NUREL has confirmed the good antioxidant activity of the AMD-1 product, developed during the first year of the project, by conducting new shelf life assays with fresh and treated meat.

BANDESUR is researching on the technical improvement of its packaging, on the incorporation of active ingredients that permit to increase the shelf life of the packaged foods and on the development of more sustainable packaging solutions by means of biopolymers. Among the key results obtained during these two years, the company has developed a polystyrene biodegradable by means of enzymes that permit to speed up the process, together with the certification of an antimicrobial packaging in accordance with the norm ISO 22196.2011.

SP GROUP’s key objective is to research on the properties and positive effects of different packaging materials in order to increase the shelf life of packaged foods whilst maintaining its food safety. The company is also working to enhance the sustainability of the packaging, assessing techniques for reducing the thickness in conventional packaging and biodegradable materials. The company has assessed the incorporation of antioxidant / antimicrobial compounds and odor controllers, thus enhancing the conservation capacity of packaging products without modifying the content. Regarding the improvement of packaging structures, SP GROUP has advanced in the obtainment of heat resistant materials for key food industrial applications, together with the incorporation of recycled and biobased materials for the production of more sustainable packaging materials.