TURNTABLE Kick Off Meeting

17-18 September 2019, Sassari (Italy) 

TURNTABLE aims to address the challenge of maintaining vitality and physical wellness amongst older adults (65 years and over) though an extendable one-stop-shop ICT platform (TURNTABLE). As we age, we tend to be more sedentary, less active, and less willing to engage with new technologies. These trends worsen normal age-related decline, both physical and cognitive. Thus, users will be involved at all stages in platform development including selection of components, integration and adaptation to user needs.

EuroFIR AISBL is responsible for Task 1.2 – Co-creation sessions execution (WP1), which aims to ensure design and content of TURNTABLE is optimal. We will recruit volunteers to help, organise sessions, and follow-up with participants in Belgium.

EuroFIR is also leading Task 5.3 – Impact-oriented dissemination (WP5), which aims to raise awareness of TURNTABLE and help with recruitment of users for both the co-creation sessions and field-trials. We will manage the project webpage, social media account, and be involved in development and delivery of the communication and dissemination plan for the project.

In September, project partners met in beautiful Sassari (IT) for a two-days face-to-face meeting to discuss the detailed activity planning. Many crucial decisions were taken, a Steering Committee appointed, and Deliverables assigned to beneficiaries.

Read more about TURNTABLE here

2019 – 10 – 02: 2nd Food Chemistry Conference, Shaping the future of food quality, safety, nutrition and health

The second Food Chemistry conference took place in Seville (ES) from 17-19 September and welcomed more than 400 food scientists from around the world to discuss the impact of research on food quality, nutrition and health, and food safety. Editor-in-Chief, Paul Finglas (QIB – UK, EuroFIR – BE), welcomed delegates with co-chairs Daniel Granato (Natural Resources Institute Finland – FI), Francisco Hidalgo (Instituto de la Grasa, CSIC – ES) and John van Camp (Ghent University – BE). Plenary and invited presentations covered topics including data analysis in food science, chemical reactions in foods, bioactive compounds, food safety, analytical chemistry, food structure and quality, food authenticity and traceability, and nutrition and health.

A jury of Food Chemistry Editors assessed 26 Short Talks, selected from abstracts, and prizes were awarded for Best Short Talk – Early Career  to Dr Aytul Hamzalioglu (Hacettepe University – TR) for “Multiresponse kinetic modelling of acrylamide and hydroxymethylfurfural formation during roasting of coffee as a sucrose-rich food system” and Best Short Talk – Established Career to Dr Petras Rimantas Venskutonis (Kaunas University of Technology – LT) for “Zero waste’ biorefining of berry pomace into functional ingredients by consecutive high pressure and enzyme assisted extractions with green solvents“.

In addition, the jury also assessed 273 posters; posters from each section (Data analysis in food science, Chemical reactions in foods, Bioactive compounds, Food safety, Analytical chemistry, Food structure and quality, Food authenticity and traceability, and Nutrition) were recognised as leaders in their field but, overall, the winners were:

  1. Kim & Lee, Chung-Ang University, Republic of Korea for Assessment of phenolic profile changes of chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) and mulberry (Morus Microphylla. Buckl) during in vitro gastrointestinal digestion
  2. Ollinger et al. FFoQSI, Austria for Identification of mold and yeast in bakery based on PCR; and
  3. Tagkouli et al. Harokopio University, Greece for NMR and FT-IR characterization of pleurotus mushrooms cultivated on agro industrial wastes and Lehner & B. Siegmund, Graz University of Technology, Austria for Impact of insufficient ventilation during post-harvest ripening on the flavour of mangoes (Mangifera indica)

For more information about Food Chemistry visit https://www.journals.elsevier.com/food-chemistry

For more information about the second Food Chemistry Conference visit https://www.elsevier.com/events/conferences/food-chemistry-conference

NUTRIMAD 2018 Congress (IV World Congress of Public Health Nutrition and XII Congress of the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition)

24th - 27th October 2018, Madrid (ES) 

The XII Congress of the Spanish Society for Community Nutrition (NUTRIMAD) was this year held jointly with the IV World Congress of Public Health and Nutrition in Madrid (ES). EuroFIR member, Universidad CEU San Pablo, organised this worldwide congress, which included topics such as education for better nutrition, social aspects of food, the Mediterranean diet, physical exercise, emotional balance and food, community nutrition for an ageing society, food sustainability, healthy gastronomy, hydration, and community living and eating.

The congress was attended by almost 500 people representing physicians, nurses, dietitians, journalists, researchers, chefs, educators, the food industry and government. Prof. Dr Gregorio Varela-Moreiras, Professor of Nutrition at the CEU San Pablo University and co-president of NUTRIMAD 2018 declared, “we wanted to create a high-quality scientific program highlighting the national and international research activity that will also serve to lay the foundations for future research”. The Congress concluded with the Declaration of Madrid on nutrition for the XXI century, a consensus document that offers nutritional guidelines to promote healthy habits among the population as a whole that should serve as an inspiration for the whole society. Prof. Dr Carmen Pérez-Rodrigo, President of the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition (SENC) and co-president of NUTRIMAD 2018, commented, “this Declaration aims to create a strong compromise to achieve a better quality of life, a happier society and a positive, active and healthy aging in the present and future generations”.

INnovating the JOY of Eating for Healthy Ageing (INJOY) Summer School

25.06.2018-04.07.2018, University of Barcelona, Spain

Angelika Mantur-Vierendeel participated in a 10-day summer school during June, organised by the University of Barcelona (ES) and EIT Health. The course was designed to help entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs (in-house innovation managers), and researchers develop novel business solutions empowering citizens to adopt eating behaviours that support healthy ageing.

During this intense training, students had an opportunity to participate in scientific sessions, food-innovation workshops, theoretical and practical business sessions, site visits, and listen to ‘influencer’ talks similar to TED. The schedule was designed to combined sessions on nutrition with business development, which allowed participants from different backgrounds (nutrition, research, economics, business development) to better understand one another and how nutrition might be combined with entrepreneurship to generate new ideas.

The scientific sessions helped deepen knowledge about nutrition, but also allowed participants to go back to basics and learn new content from a variety of case studies. There was a good dose of business development theory for those without this kind of background, and plenty of practical classes with case analysis to complement the theory. To enrich the training experience, there were excursions to innovative culinary centres and businesses in Barcelona, where students had a chance to understand how real businesses can support healthy living. Participants also had an exclusive opportunity to visit the Alicia Foundation - a centre devoted to technological innovation in cuisine, the improvement of eating habits, and the evaluation of food heritage. In a culinary workshop, students had to cook different meals using innovative technologies, which allow preparation of foods with altered textures. For example, fish and chips can be blended (homogenised) separately and served traditionally, as fish and chips, but allow those with dysphagia to enjoy food they otherwise are unable to eat because of the risk of choking.

To ensure the knowledge gained could be put to good use in the future, participants also worked in group projects, translating ideas into sustainable business models. This helped develop and reinforce new skills in identifying and growing business ideas and assessing opportunities for sustainable business models to promote healthy living.

By completing this summer school, Angelika has more experience in how SMEs are finding business opportunities on the food, nutrition and health sectors, which – in turn – helps EuroFIR understand better the needs of current and future members and clients.

EIT Food & EIT Health Cross KIC Event: Benefits of biologicals for food & health industries

14th June 2018 (Rotterdam, NL)


Koppert Biological Systems hosted the first cross-KIC event amongst partners from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food and Health Communities. The event was intended to showcase examples where the two EIT communities have been successful independently and to find ways they might work together in other EIT-funded projects, highlighting the links between food and health. Speakers included: Menno Kok (Director of EIT Health Belgium-Netherlands), Angelo Vermeulen (NASA), Imran Afzal (PepsiCo). This event illustrated the interconnection between the sectors and the willingness to engage more on projects where there are strong common interests.

Menno Kok gave an insight on how EIT Health could fund more prevention-related projects in coming years, and revealed there will be joint funding calls between EIT Health and EIT Food, as related to education, business creation, and sustainability. There will also be a joint innovation strategy for cross-KIC projects linking food and health. Importantly, for Quisper, Menno highlighted research in healthcare prevention, specifically patient participation and the impact on individuals once they are aware of their genetic risk and what it means in terms of health and dietary behaviours.

Angelo Vermeulen (NASA) talked about the many food innovations happening in the space sector, from 3D-printed food to space farming. One project, MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative, https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technology/Melissa) is looking at closed-loop system relationships amongst food, waste, water, and CO2 and, most relevant for EuroFIR, making sure foods are nutritious and safe for human consumption. Imran Afzal from PepsiCo International (UK), a beneficiary in EIT Food Quisper, spoke about work connecting food with health.

Slides are available here: https://www.slideshare.net/EITFood/the-benefits-of-biologicals-for-food-health-industries

Photos are available here https://www.facebook.com/pg/EITFood.eu/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2134182613492909


2018-06-06 Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN)

International Forum on Food & Nutrition


This Forum was held in the SQUARE (Brussels, BE) and focused on the Mediterranean Region and Migration. Noteworthy speakers included Gerba Verburg (Assistant Secretary General at the UN and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement), Phil Hogan (European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development), and Leo Abruzzese (Global Director of Public Policy, The Economist Intelligence Unit) amongst many others.

Verburg talked about how regional development should be tied more closely to agricultural development as well as stating that nutrition and food security are increasingly makers and markers of success across all SDGs. Hogan hinted that CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) should be transformed to include more work on nutrition and health, under a new name ‘Common Agriculture and Food Policy’, which is also a recommendation from BCFN.  Abruzzese discussed developments to the Food Sustainability Index (FSI), particularly expansion to include all EU countries and more sub-Saharan countries. He highlighted that new datasets have been added (e.g. fish stocks) and suggestions for future additions would be welcome.

Other speakers included Myriam Perez (Director of Young Professionals for Agricultural and Rural Development [YPARD]), whose organisation connects farmers to researchers to develop new food products, and Mohamed Wageih (Director of Social Innovation & Business Incubation Center, SEKEM Development Foundation) who wants to build partnerships between Europe and Africa to learn from best practices in addressing food and nutrition related UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

2018-06-05 EuroHealthNet event: Smart Investments? Let’s talk prevention

Hosted by the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the European Union (Brussels, BE), this event sought to discuss practical opportunities for funding healthcare prevention in Europe. Most speakers were from Member State governments and inter-governmental institutions, such as WHO, OECD, and the EU.

Thomas Kergall (Council of Europe Development Bank) highlighted that most funding is for infrastructure projects, but more funding for projects reaching out to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, is being sought. Agnieszka Markowska (ESI Funds for Health) discussed how this initiative brings together investment from the European Social and Regional Development funds to support projects that improving access to healthcare, reducing health inequalities, and boos healthcare reforms. Stefan Schreck (Head of Unit, DG SANTE) encouraged the audience to share their ideas and projects through the EC Public Health Best Practices Portal.

2018-06-05 STOA workshop: EIT’s role in strengthening EU innovation

Held in the European Parliament (Brussels, BE), this workshop focused on current work and future goals of the EIT (European Institute of Innovation & Technology) in strengthening innovation across Europe. Speakers included three MEPs on the STOA Panel, Eva Kaili (S&D, EL), Paul Rubig (EPP, AT), and Christian Ehler (EPP, DE), Tibor Navracsics (European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport – responsible for EIT), Martin Kern (Acting Director of EIT), and Jean-David Malo (Director of Open Innovation and Open Science, EC, DG RTD).   Key messages highlighted EIT’s success in helping to close the innovation gap in Europe, and impact in regions across the whole of Europe through the Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS). Navracsics and Kern both indicated there will be an expansion of EIT, with two hubs planned before end of 2018 in USA and Israel, and third planned in China during 2019; there will also be new EIT communities in addition to the existing six (Climate, Digital, Food, Health, InnnoEnergy & Raw Materials). In the future, there will be more cross-community actions, and links with European Structural Investment Funds, the proposed European Innovation Council and European Universities Network, and calls will be adapted to match UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

2018-06-13 N8 AgriFood Conference (Liverpool, UK)

At the N8 AgriFood Conference (Liverpool, UK), Dr Siân Astley represented EuroFIR AISBL for the two-day event. Siân also presented poster describing the work of NASCENT, REFRESH, and SEAFOODTOMMORROW (see below). REFRESH attracted particularly interest during the poster session.

There were 270 attendees from disciplines across food systems, and the conference offered many opportunities to initiate or reinforce existing collaborations across academia, industry and other sectors.

The slides are available here and the photo gallery here.




The European Parliament and Brexit: what it means for the food sector

18th May 2018 (London, UK)

The European Parliament Liaison Office in London (UK) hosted an expert panel to discuss the impact BREXIT will have on the UK food sector (http://bit.ly/2sTEWAI) and consider the future of the agri-food sector and its relationship with the EU. The panel was composed of experts from across the UK food chain including farmers (Nick van Westenholz, National Farmers’ Union), food manufacturers (Helen Munday, Food Drink Federation), consumer groups (Sue Davies, Which?), academics (Prof. Erik Millstone, Sussex University) and politicians (Julie Girling MEP), and much of the discussion was focussed on trade, food safety and consumers, highlighting the relationships amongst these actors.

Nick van Westenholz explored how boosting UK food production has knock-on effects for the environment and lower food prices jeopardise the financial viability of farming. Sue Davies, Helen Munday, and Erik Millstone all championed the need for the UK to remain part of the Rapid Alert System for Food Fraud and other networks to assure food safety. Currently, it is unclear how much the UK and Europe can diverge from existing food controls given their collective influence globally.

During the questions and answers session, Helen Munday suggested that SMEs might be affected most, because they have fewer staff with expertise in technical and regulatory affairs, meaning understanding and adapting to any changes to legislation will take time and money. Public attitudes to food safety were a prominent theme throughout discussions and Helen suggested that the UK hosts many food sector R&D headquarters because of high levels of public trust in food systems.

Sam Lane, representing EuroFIR AISBL, asked what organisations have been doing to prepare for BREXIT and ensure continued cooperation. All the panellists highlighted existing relationships with EU-wide bodies, COPA-COGECA (joint EU committees of farmers and their cooperatives, www.copa-cogeca.be), BEUC (European Consumer Organisation, www.beuc.eu), and FoodDrinkEurope (represents the European food and drink industry, www.fooddrinkeurope.eu) and the intent to continue to engage with these groups as well as the value these groups place on UK expertise. Indeed, the desire and need for continued dialogue and cooperation across the agrifood sectors after BREXIT was most prevalent message coming out of the event.