Production of processed organic food is mostly carried out by SMEs who are currently facing a double challenge: Consumer awareness and legal standards require high quality as a precondition for successful marketing but there is a lack of corresponding knowledge leading to significant quality losses and up to 40% of raw material loss. At the same time, competition enforces strict control of related costs, however production currently is unnecessarily energy intensive. Drying, for example, is responsible for 15% of the overall global energy demand and efficiencies in food drying can be as low as 10% with 35-45% being the average, revealing an important potential for improving both economic and ecologic performance. In practice, resource efficiency and product quality are often seen as antagonists. SusOrganic, as an integrated research project, will develop technical solutions, standard operation procedures and guidelines leading to increased product quality whilst reducing resource consumption with respect to raw materials and energy. Inclusion of leading food scientists, engineers, agriculturalists and a retailer from Central, Eastern,across the EU and beyond is assured.

SusOrganic will provide the organic sector with (a) quality standards for dried and cooled/frozen products; (b) processing guidelines for increased product quality (c) increased process efficiency and reduction of specific resource demands through improved processing, heat recovery and implementation of Renewable Energy Sources (RES); (d) reduction of direct waste by utilising produce rejected by the of fresh produce market (e) sound database and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) for at least 4 products (drying and freezing) which will help bench mark production.

responsible : Dr. Barbara Sturm

Progress in drying and cooling of organic products

In this video, SusOrganic coordinator Barbara Sturm from the University of Kassel summarizes some of the most important preliminary results:

Drying of herbs and hops - Tips for small drying plants