Health and Environment – Nutrition / Food technology

Nutrition is essential to human health. Fraunhofer scientists evaluate the physiological effectiveness of special foods and food supplements. They also develop new processing methods, for instance for low-fat meat products, and research new sources of nutrition, such as lupin seeds.

Gesundheit und Umwelt


Cognitive Agriculture

Fraunhofer-Leitprojekt »Cognitive Agriculture«
© iStock/Fraunhofer IESE

In the lighthouse project “Cognitive Agriculture”, eight Fraunhofer Institutes under the leadership of the Fraunho-fer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern are conducting joint research on  basic principles for producing agricultural products that are as environmentally friendly and resource-saving as they are highly efficient. Solutions include sensor technology for data collection as well as digitalization and automation of agricultural processes. The idea is to make the analysis of highly complex interactions between biosphere and production usable in an ecosystem of networked data and services (“Agricultural Data Space”) and to have it provide decision support.

Rapid test to ensure high milk quality

November 4, 2019

Standards of food safety and food quality have never been higher in Germany and throughout the European Union. This is especially true in the dairy industry. Yet despite such high standards, traces of impurities, pesticides and antibiotics can find their way into milk, with sometimes serious consequences for consumer health. In the EU-funded project MOLOKO, Fraunhofer researchers have teamed up with partners to develop a new optoplasmonic sensor designed to provide fast, on-site analysis of safety and quality parameters for milk. This early-warning system will bring the industry substantial savings in time and money as well as a drastic reduction in wasted product, thereby helping to improve performance along the entire supply chain.

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Healthy food choices in all stages of life – enable

In order to provide people in all stages of life with healthy food choices, a number of R&D organizations and companies from the food manufacturing industry and retail sector have formed the "enable" project cluster.

The aim of the project cluster is to develop new, attractive, and healthy convenience foods to tackle unhealthy eating habits and prevent diet-related illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Consumers should have healthy food choices in all stages of their lives, with modern ready-to-eat foods (convenience products) not being inconsistent with a healthy lifestyle.

Vegan products with lupine protein

There is a growing global demand for plant-based proteins. Regionally cultivated protein plants are particularly in focus, such as sweet lupines grown in Germany. About 700,000 people in Germany are vegans and this number is growing. As a consequence, the demand for vegan products with high plant protein contents is on the increase. Our lupine proteins are now being used to respond to this trend. We aim to develop and commercialize nutri-physiologically valuable foods that have as good a taste and mouth-feel as traditional foods.

One more step towards a real food scanner

Food lab inside your mobile phone

“Food scanner” is becoming a topic of common interest. The European Commission has recognized its relevance and provides funding for the development of the technologies required. As the leading partner for applied research in Europe, the Fraunhofer society is performing research and development in the field of food science. For 10 years, the Fraunhofer alliance Food Chain Management has been active in the field of spectroscopy technologies for food analysis. One of its partners, Fraunhofer IPMS filed a patent for a novel device that enables not only food analysis but as well access to quantity and nutrition facts.

Innovative monitoring and sterilization methods for ensuring microbiological safety in the production chain for fresh plant-based foods – SAFEFRESH

© Fraunhofer IVV

The collaborative SAFEFRESH project has set out to develop innovative methods for the rapid detection and deactivation of pathogenic microorganisms on the surface of fresh and minimally processed plant-based foods (salads, melons, shoots) in industrial production processes. In combination these methods should allow customized treatment and they should increase the microbiological safety of the products.

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Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) for sustainable nutrition

Conventional aquaculture has the disadvantage of generating large amounts of sewage that must be purified at great expense. Such problems are reduced in the IMTA because several organisms from various trophic levels are used to decrease the load of nutrients and waste. The particulate nutrients of the fishes are taken up by filtering organisms and the dissolved nutrients are utilized by macroalgae. This technique improves water quality and generates additional products.

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Multimodal sensory integration processes with regards to food and their packaging and presentation – MultiSense

The sensory analysis of staple and luxury foods is currently only performed in a relatively one-dimensional way with the focus on analysis of odor, taste, or texture. In daily life we seldom encounter unisensory sensations in isolation, rather we experience multisensory stimulation. For example, the smell of brewing coffee is usually accompanied by the sound of a coffee machine or the sight of the coffee packaging. It is therefore necessary to consider the various combinations of sensory stimuli associated with foods and their packaging and presentation form.

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Fraunhofer Food Chain Management Alliance

Consumers are increasingly focused on there being a guaranteed supply of safe and high-quality foods. For manufacturers in the food industry, it is the absolute question of survival in the marketplace.

ISI study / 12.11.2019

Which trends will influence Europe's food sector until 2035?

What are Europeans going to eat in 2035? How can food be produced using fewer resources? And what will the food sector look like in the future? These and other questions are part of the EU Horizon 2020 project FOX. A new brochure by Fraunhofer ISI describes the 50 most compelling food trends, from which scientists and food experts have selected the 15 most relevant ones.