Wageningen Food & Biobased Research opened its new research facility for quality control in the fruit, vegetable and flower sector on October 6, 2017. The facility brings together knowledge and expertise in post-harvest technology and agro-food robotics. Worldwide, the need for quality conservation is growing: companies can keep their products fresher and reduce food waste using insights obtained at Wageningen.
“Companies benefit from a sustainable chain in which quality during storage, transportation and at point-of-sale is optimally controlled. Food losses are reduced and the availability and volume of quality food for the global population increases. Companies also enjoy a stronger international market position”, says Raoul Bino, General Director of the Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group at Wageningen University & Research.
To achieve global sustainable growth in fresh chains a multidisciplinary approach is needed. In this renewed, modern research facility, expertise in the physiology, quality and shelf life of fresh products is combined with robotics and vision technologies. Research outcomes are translated, by Wageningen experts and companies in the chain, into methods that quickly, objectively and accurately measure product quality.
Abundant research opportunities
During the opening, on October 6th, Wageningen experts will be giving demonstrations around various themes. Circa 100 clients of WUR will have an exciting opportunity to look inside diverse research areas. These include the ATP Test Station, where cooling vehicles are tested under extreme climatic conditions from -20º to +50º Celsius; special packaging areas, and a large number of individually-adjustable mini-climate cells. There are also special areas for robotics and vision research where experts are developing new methods for extremely rapid, objective and accurate quality control. The building has a beautiful plaza that companies can hire for demonstrations, workshops and training events.
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has been researching the quality of fresh vegetables, fruits and cut flowers for more than 80 years – both nationally and internationally. For example, it is Wageningen experts who coordinate the GreenCHAINge Fruit & Vegetables research program. The goal of this particular program is to create smart chains that, via improved quality control, enable manufacturers to deliver top quality fruit and vegetables throughout the year. Wageningen’s research constantly facilitates unique innovations. An example is Cool – Research On The Move, developed by Wageningen together with Fontein BV. This mobile research facility allows companies and governments, in emerging countries, to significantly increase the quality and shelf life of their products, expanding existing markets and creating new ones.