Themes and sub-themes

 

Oral processing, digestion and human performance

Human body performance is tremendously affected by the proper functioning of the digestion system: how we can properly feed it including our gut host? The behaviour of food on its way in the digestive tract is at the centre of many research program. It has been firmly established that the nutritional quality of foods is not only determined by the nutrient content, but only by the way food is designed. Food structure, at macro-meso and micro level, can be used to modulate carbohydrate, protein and lipid digestibility and micronutrient bioaccessibility. Last but not least keep in mind that the food not absorbed at the gastrointestinal level become the substrate for the commensal bacteria in the colon.

  • Advances in human digestibility using in vitro systems, and the relation with in vivo digestion.
  • Look at the whole GIT. Different efficiency in the various compartments along the lifespan and because of different physiological/disease status.
  • Oral processing, stomach disintegration and empty mechanisms, enzyme digestion efficiency, colon biotransformation
  • Rethinking food structure from a digestive perspective
  • Gastro intestinal hormones: the gut axis modulation from the food design perspective
  • New technology and food digestibility: Mild treatment, self-assembly food, 3D printing
  • Digestibility and food matrix. The tomorrow challenge how to design foods to modulate the digestibility of macronutrients and the bioavailability of micronutrients

  • Food digestion in the context of personalized nutrition (sports, elderly, adolescents, baby, pregnant, pathologies)

 

Consumer trust, perception and engagement

Consumers form one of the key actors in ensuring sufficient, safe and tasteful food for all, and in providing themselves with a good nutritional profile. Consumers therefore should be fully engaged in developments that help to achieve this. Below we list some of the main areas in which the consumers, and more specifically their behaviour, play a key role. Key for success will be a better understanding of  consumer behavioural changes.   

  • Traceability of ingredients and its information sharing
  • Authenticity of foods, its assurance, and its role towards embracing cultural diversity
  • Personalised food and nutrition and its technological aids (e.g. receiving immediate personal feedback that guides towards the healthy choice; using 3D printing to go extremely personal in production)

  • Regulatory and governmental roles on national and international levels
  • Food safety
  • Social media/Big Data analysis and impact on consumer behaviour
  • Effective interventions in complex food systems and the role(s) of the consumer(s) and consumer group(s)

 

Circular food systems and beyond

The only way to deal with our current challenges, is to make sure that the resources that we need, are used as efficiently and completely as possible, and are returned such that they can be re-used. Our current production processes should be reoriented towards complete use of the raw materials, to the use of renewable energy where possible, and to the minimization of water and energy use. In many cases, the production of food components will have te be combined with the production of high-value non-food products.

  • Complete use of raw materials and recirculation of resources
  • Redesign of packaging towards complete biodegradability or complete recyclability
  • Reduction of water and energy use during postharvest processing
  • Mild processing to for preservation, extraction and optimal use of raw materials
  • Redesign of ingredient production, towards less refining and mild fractionation
  • Big Data in food chain dynamics and design
  • New chains that directly engage consumers into the food chain
  • Urban farming and local circularity

 

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