Epidemiological studies suggest that the consumption of high levels of fruit and vegetables may reduce the risk for chronic diseases, including cancer and atherosclerosis, but few people manage to reach the recommended daily intake of 600 g. To achieve this, attractive, tasty and high quality ready-to-eat products are needed. The main aim of the project is to improve the nutritional, structural quality and safety of ready-to-eat food products with optimised health benefits for the consumers, through selection of raw materials and growth conditions and optimised food manufacturing processes.
The specific objectives are
<OL> <LI> to improve the bioavailability of natural nutrients in fruit and vegetable for the consumer
<LI> to design food textures only using natural raw materials
<LI> to preserve the natural nutrient content through milder processing conditions
<LI> to ensure microbiological safety under these milder processing conditions.
The project involves technological operations from growth, post-harvest, processing, mixing and storage, and evaluation of content and biological activity of naturally occurring compounds. Mechanical and heat treatments will be optimised towards nutritional quality as well as structuring properties. Special emphasis will put on bioavailability of components such as vitamins, carotenoids, phenolic acids and possibilities for micro-processing will be explored. The functionality of plant tissue components (nutrients, structure, polysaccharides, and enzymes) will be investigated and optimal fruit and vegetable mixtures for different products will be determined.<P>For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/food_quality/projects/121_en.ht…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> or the <a href="http://www.sik.se/hstructuring/" target="_blank">HEALTHY STRUCTURING</a> Web sites.