“Different experts have shared their knowledge of the agri-food market, to give the keys on food safety, smart technologies and sustainability”
The consortium of the European Safe Smart Food project held its second C2C meeting in which future trends in the agri-food sector and related sectors have been shared, with the aim of promoting the transfer of knowledge between the participating entities.
The agenda of the session started with Sandra Muizniece-Brasava, Head of Technology and Knowledge Transfer Centre at Latvia University of Life Science and Technologies, who explained how packaging is an essential element to add value to food products.
As an expert in the field of research, she has observed how in recent years the design of the packaging, the materials and the technologies used are key to respond to the needs of consumers who visit any supermarket or shop.
The challenge is to take into account all the elements that intervene from when the product is packaged until it is consumed: first, food safety, ensuring that an adequate atmosphere is maintained in order to not damage the properties of the product; the amount of packaging produced and how it can be managed to ensure its recyclability; and the technology, or equipment and resources available that allow including all the essential information of the product –smart technology–
Next, Pablo Valderrama presented the 3D Factory incubator, which promotes the execution of projects with 3D printing technology for its implementation in the current market with all the advantages that this entails.
With 3D printing, a specific product can be produced, with the unique materials necessary, since it is known exactly what is needed, so we avoid unnecessary expenses and surplus. It also optimizes the mechanical properties of what is printed as it is adapted to the needs of the industry, so it is possible to produce a specific product just by making the previous design – full creativity – and with no added cost, as you do not need specific moulds.
Continuing with the same theme, Emilio Sepulveda, showed the Foodini machine, by Natural Machines, which allows to customize your food with 3D technology. The concept is transferred to restaurants, hospitals, or homes, so that they can easily and simply produce their own food, with the food properties that are needed for each special case.
The ingredients would be provided in the supermarket, where you could improve your options and customize the dishes you are going to cook.
Then, Pablo Molina was in charge of presenting the SUMBOX case, the first corrugated cardboard box that is waterproof, recyclable, robust for transport and with insulating properties, to maintain the temperature of food. This box is now produced by Hinojosa Packaging Solutions, a member company of the Packaging Cluster.
Thanks to its design, which is smaller than the usual ones, it allows 25% more boxes to be stored on the same pallet, which benefits fish and seafood distributors especially, SUMBOX’s target audience.
The experts Marta Vallbé and Joanna Lambert, from the Loop New Business Models consulting, closed the seminar with the main mega trends of the sector, such as: the differentiation of companies based on their philosophy, food safety, sustainability as a business value, the new relationships between brands and consumers, or packaging as a strategic value.
Finally, with the open discussion the rest of the active participants talked about future trends in the agri-food sector.
Safe Smart Food Project
The Safe Smart Food project is composed by 5 clusters from 4 EU countries, Smart Food Cluster, Business Upper Austria, Packaging Cluster, Foodservice Cluster y Food Products Quality Cluster, who have come together to promote the internationalisation of the associated clusters and their member companies.
The aims of the project are to strengthen the collaboration between clusters and improve their management capacity to create the conditions of a favourable ecosystem in the agri-food sector to boost innovation, competitiveness and internationalisation of SMEs and to offer to the cluster’s SMEs an integrated program of services based on excellence.