At Food4Future, which is taking place in Bilbao until 18 April, the Eurecat technology centre is showcasing a connected, smart device for controlling the cooking of meat and fish in real time which gives instructions in the kitchen to optimise the quality of the process together with a cutting-edge solution harnessing solid-phase fermentation technology to get new food ingredients with high added-value properties.

The innovative processes Eurecat is presenting at the preeminent food tech fair for the agri-food industry include “a tray bio-fermenter for solid-phase fermentation which makes it possible to get new added-value ingredients and new protein products whose sensory, technological and nutritional properties can be modified and optimised using this technology,” says Nadia Ortega, director of Eurecat’s Nutrition and Health Unit. “This process also means that by-products from agro-industry can be reused to make new products.”

The technology centre is additionally showing efficiency, sustainability, quality and safety solutions for the food industry. They include state-of-the-art membrane technology for purifying and separating components in food processes which furnishes the industry with an alternative to heat treatment in food concentration, for instance in the production of juices, broths or beverages.

At its booth, Eurecat is unveiling for the first time in the food industry a thermometer equipped with the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence for precise control of the cooking of meat and fish on a griddle which factors in measuring food temperature and thickness. It thus helps to standardise the process to the highest quality standards.

Based on the data recorded in real time through the probes it automatically places on the food, the connected smart device communicates with the user and instructs them to turn over or remove the item from the hob and also to adjust the heat depending on the type of cooking required.

In terms of robotics, the technology centre is exhibiting a robot fitted with artificial vision and artificial intelligence technologies for detecting fruit which selects the strawberries which are ready to be picked. The innovation, which has been validated in a hydroponic crop of strawberries in the Basque Country, has also been equipped with a data system to monitor the state of the crop and the harvesting process.

“Robotic solutions such as this one help to meet the need of agri-food companies for staff to work in the fields,” says Carol Benedí, Food Market business developer at Eurecat. “Plus because they have a crop monitoring database, they enable more sustainable and resilient management in response to climate change.”

Also addressing the agricultural sector, the technology centre is presenting organic, flexible and semi-transparent photovoltaic modules using printed electronics which ensure complementary light absorption for plant growth, paving the way for dual-use solar by unlocking synergies between agricultural and energy production.

In line with contemporary trends towards more sustainable food, Eurecat is additionally displaying healthy solutions for the supply of new sources of plant protein such as mycoprotein, nuts, cereals, pulses, insects and algae for developing new plant-based foods.