The Centre, located in the Agro Food Park in Aarhus, officially opened on Monday (25 September). It is anchored in the Department of Food Science at Aarhus University.
Research will be carried out through involvement from other key departments across faculties, centre manager Mette Meilstrup told FoodNavigator. “International and industrial collaboration are also an important aspect of the iFOOD Centre,” Meilstrup noted.
Five research platforms
Research supported by iFOOD will span the food chain, from agricultural production, to food processing, packaging and consumer validation.
The Centre has divided it into five main platforms: innovative production of raw materials, processing solutions, packaging solutions, new food solutions and sensory and consumer validation.
“The platforms will underpin new initiatives and collaborations that constitute the key activities in the iFOOD Centre,” Meilstrup revealed.
Answering the ‘big questions’
The iFOOD Centre has set itself the ambitious task of helping to find solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing the global food sector.
“The human population continues to grow. At present, the world population grows with approximately 83,000,000 people a year, corresponding to a new Germany every year and is expected to reach almost 10 billion people by the middle of this century.
“More food needs to be produced for an increasing and wealthier population, and under conditions of markedly changing climate conditions. This results in increased global demand for food,” Meilstrup explained.
According to the Meilstrup, increased consumption of plant-based foods is part of the solution. “The challenge is that more food will have to be produced on the same amount of land, and therefore one efficient way is to increase the consumption of plant-based products. This is very much in line with lifestyle trends and health/nutritional related recommendations, but also creates a great need for development of science-based knowledge to facilitate such development of both healthy and convenient food as an attractive choice,” she commented.
“The iFOOD Centre mission is to carry out excellent research, innovation, and talent development to deliver novel, sustainable food production systems for convenient food solutions with optimal nutritional value and quality through delivering gentle processing and novel packaging solutions.
“The iFOOD Centre aims to become a nationally leading and internationally prominent research Centre integrating and building up excellent research and development on natural and convenient food solutions specifically addressing the grand societal challenges linked to lifestyle trends and health and food.”