Main research question/goal
The project aims to extend the scope of the existing ILVO pilot food processing infrastructure, so that the expertise can be used within the Flemish agro-food industry with an emphasis on SMEs. Parallel to this, we also update the existing, mainly dairy-oriented infrastructure. This gives Flemish companies access to competitive, progressive and high-performance technologies at a pilot scale to develop new production methods or products. Another aim is to publicize the opportunities present in the renovated and updated Food Pilot.Research approach
Through a survey of the food industry we identify the needs for pilot-scale technology. We list the priorities for expertise and infrastructure. With the advice of a commission that comprises all sectors of the food industry, we choose which infrastructure and expertise to invest in. We determine which technological conditions are representative for the food industry and what is needed in the pilot plant to match those needs. Once the devices are purchased, the operators of the Food Pilot are trained to operate the new technology. Through projects including PhDs and Flanders ' FOOD projects, we build scientific expertise around the capabilities of the various process installations. This optimizes the customer’s use of the Food Pilot infrastructure.Relevance/Valorisation
Through intensive cooperation with Flanders ' FOOD, the project leads to better integration of the pilot equipment with food research and broadens the applicability for food companies. The food sector is struggling with a shortage of low and middle-skilled people with hands-on skills who have insight in the processes of the food industry and working in a HACCP environment. For these reasons, the Food Pilot must become better known to the general public and provide custom training.