Digital Food Quality (DigiFoods) is a new research centre that will develop smart sensors for food quality assessment directly in the processing lines.

The obtained information will be used for optimization of processes and value chains and make the food industry more efficient and sustainable. The MIRACLE partners nanoplus, OptoPrecision, the University of Ulm and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences will investigate how photonic components that were partially developed in the MIRACLE project can be employed for measurement of food quality.

In-line and at-line measurement of food quality is extremely challenging due to the huge biological variation in raw materials. DigiFoods will develop sensor solutions based on a fundamental understanding of food science, processing and modern sensor technology, which will allow the food industry to effectively measure and handle these variations in true time. DigiFoods will also introduce robotics to enable automatic measurements in challenging processes in the field.

Massive assessment of the essential food qualities throughout the value chains will pave the way for a digital transformation of the food production. Based on such quality measures, we will develop novel strategies for process control with the aim of reducing food waste and increasing profitability. DigiFoods will also study and develop concepts for how large-scale quality measurements can be used for 1) improvements in primary production, and 2) product differentiation to different consumer segments, with the aim of reducing food waste in households.

DigiFoods will combine applied and basic research to generate new basic knowledge, evaluate prototype solutions, and create results for innovation in the following core areas:

  1. Novel sensor systems and food application development
  2. Integration of robotics and food sensors
  3. Integrated sensor solutions for industrial use
  4. Analysis and utilization of large-scale process and value chain data

The consortium of 27 partners will function as an innovation hub for food industry, technology providers and scientific groups. The centre aims to increase digital competence in Norway through the education of masters and PhD candidates. DigiFoods is led by Nofima, with Sintef Digital and NMBU as the major scientific partners. The lifetime of the centre is eight years (2020-2028) and has a total budget of 188 million NOK (96 million NOK from the Norwegian Research Council, 54 million NOK from the industry and 38 million NOK from the R&D institutions).

Feature image author – @freepic-diller