ProOrg

  • How to make the best choice for careful, minimal and mild processing methods    

Introduction

Today there is a lack of mandatory standards and indications for organic food processing within the EU.

ProOrg will develop a set of strategies and tools (Code of Practice) that can help organic food processors in the selection of appropriate technologies and innovations in line with the organic principles. It will give guidance for making the best choice for careful, minimal and mild processing methods.  

Background

The organic food market is rapidly growing and the organic food industry needs to develop and innovate to keep the pace. EC legislation regulates the use of food additives and processing aids. However, regulatory standards for organic food processing are lacking, as well as specifications that guide processors in the evaluation and selection of appropriate technologies and innovations in line with organic principles.

Main project activities

  • to develop a practical and flexible Code of Practice (CoP) for processors of organic food and labelling organizations
  • to adopt a participatory approach through the involvement of experts from different scientific disciplines, representatives of processors, traders, labelling organizations and other relevant stakeholders, as well as individual companies.
  • to develop a multi-dimensional assessment framework (criteria, indicators, parameters, assessment methods) for organic food processing providing guidance on how to assess organic food quality as affected by contentious substances and processing technologies as well as by alternatives to them.
  • to test the practicability of the CoP in concrete situations and contexts (case studies) represented by food processing companies
  • to conduct qualitative and quantitative consumer surveys to know their preferences  and acceptance of processing technologies of organic food.
  • to test the effect of specific information on product processing in building consumer preferences
  • to conduct a survey to gather information and data on the organic food market trends and the role of different processing technologies and processed food.

Benefits and results

Expected long-term societal benefits

ProOrg will contribute to the sustainable innovation of the organic food sector through the development of a guide (Code of Practice) for processors of organic food.

ProOrg will allow for further improvements of organic food processing and support the development of new production methods. This will contribute to increase the competitiveness of the organic food industry, while guaranteeing consumers high quality food products with a limited number of additives and technological aids and a reduced impact on the environment.

An appropriate communication will provide a clearer transparency for organic foods and increase consumers’ confidence towards organic processed foods and the organic sector as a whole. 

Expected results

  • A set of strategies and tools for making decisions that can help organic food processors to take the best choice for careful, minimal and mild processing methods and formulations with a limited use of additives, while addressing the organic principles, high food quality, low environmental impact and high degree of consumer acceptance.
  • A multi-dimensional assessment framework that will help the operators to take the best decisions for their specific situation.
  • To fill the gap of specific knowledge on the effects of processing technologies on food quality
  • Strategies and tools to communicate efficiently on  organic food technologies to consumers
  • Information about the relevance of the processing technologies for channel listings at retailer level and decisions in the product development made at processor level.

Coordinator of ProOrg

  • Flavio Paoletti
    Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria – CREA, Italy
    flavio.paoletti@crea.gov.it     

Implementation and plans to reach target groups

ProOrg is based on a participatory approach in which European organic processors, certification bodies, and other stakeholders will be directly involved in all the steps of the development, finalization and promotion of the CoP.