About this Research Topic
Food loss and waste have been identified as some of the major challenges to the development of sustainable food systems. As much as a third of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted either during transportation, due to poor agronomical practices, or because it has been discarded by consumers. The environmental impact of food waste is huge, with implications including the production of greenhouse gases and the spread of infectious diseases. Efforts to reduce food waste (both social and scientific) have focused on trying to improve agronomic infrastructure and conditions, the education of consumers to reduce food waste, as well as the use of agricultural residues to obtain functional food ingredients. The incorporation of new tools in chemical engineering such as integrated food design, the circular economy, or biorefinery applied to the food industry can help to reduce the impact of food loss and waste.
Sustainable food production requires constant innovation in the design of industrial processes, where novel engineering schemes can be incorporated to optimize food manufacturing. Concepts such as the circular economy, life cycle assessment, food waste valorization, or biorefinery, are multidisciplinary approaches that include a focus on the economic and social issues that face food processing, aiming to reduce the potential negative impacts of food processing on the environment. On the other hand, integrated process design applied to the food manufacturing industry aims to identify the interaction of the different industrial processes during the production of a specific food product in order to optimize the use of ingredients and conditions.
The goal of this Research Topic is to present examples of the use of novel food processing tools to food manufacturing processes and to assess the sustainability of new food products with the objective of food waste minimization or the re-valorization of food residues.
High-quality original research articles, reviews, mini-reviews, and prospective opinions are welcome on the following aspects:
• New food products that incorporate integrated process design, taking into consideration the sustainability of the manufacturing process;
• Proposals for the use of food residues generated in the food processing industry which generate functional food ingredients;
• Evaluation of the incorporation of the circular economy principles to food systems;
• Impacts of new food processing conditions on the microbial safety of the final product;
• Applications of the biorefinery concept to food processing.
Keywords: Circular economy, integrated process design, food safety, functional ingredients, biorefinery
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