Berries were chosen for their economic importance and local clustered availability. In Europe, almost 2 million tons of berries are grown. However, more than 15% of these berries do not enter the fresh market because of quality reasons. Part of these non-premium fruit finds a destination in the industry but are sold at dumping prices.
Economically relevant functionalities and bio-activities have been assigned to berry biomass. Most of the berry species are rich in a broad set of functional molecules such as polyphenols. This provides multiple opportunities for the envisaged bio-based product development.
The project starts with a comprehensive overview of the unique functional molecules in the abovementioned berry species and the impact of processing and storage on their content. Next, a systematic and detailed high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) analysis of these target compounds will be performed to assess the content of well-deﬁned functional molecules in the (non-premium) berries (3 diﬀerent species, 3 varieties, 3 EU locations, 2 seasons), and the impact of storage. The results will be used to estimate the potential for further development.
Simultaneously, a market study will be set up to evaluate the potential of 3 selected product pilots based on berries, that is innovative packages of unprocessed berries, (fermented: to reduce sugar) beverages/purees and gelled products. In addition, co-creation sessions will be organised to identify 2 new cases for business modeling. The 3 pilot cases include the optimisation of the innovative processing steps and product recipes to maintain the functional molecules present in berries. As a result, 3 product prototypes will be developed and 2 business canvasses will be set up.
The project will also focus on bioreﬁning of the non-premium fruit to food and non-food ingredients (cosmetics), where extraction of the fruit will be performed for both food and non-food applications as a colourant, or antioxidant. As a result, the potential of the extracted products will be evaluated as food and cosmetic ingredient.
The functionality-guided process and product development will result in innovative concepts useful for a wide range of actors in the future circular economy, including food & drink applications and cosmetics applications.
The project will be executed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers & advisors and surrounded by the expertise and knowledge of the berry supplier Wilderhof.