María Carmen Galera, General Director of Tecnova Technology Centre, took part in the international conference "Horticulture in the Mediterranean: global challenges, innovation and ORT-MED 15 Research" held recently in Italy.
Tecnova, as agri-food technology centre directly linked to the Spanish fruit and vegetable sector, was invited to this forum to discuss trends and innovations in products demanded by consumers, thus offering the private and innovative business perspective from Spain in this event of international interest for researchers.
The conference, organised by the Centre for Horticultural Research (CREA) in Pontecagnano, Italy, was intended to serve as a place for the scientific and business world to look back on the major horticultural research advances made in various R & D projects, as well as to showcase the research priorities and funding opportunities in the various Italian regions for the period between 2014 and 2020.
Scientists involved in horticulture from around the country and from overseas travelled to southern Italy to show the new financing lines, current and future research projects, results, technology and knowledge transfer on post-harvest, processed products, agricultural waste, biomass, sub-products, etc., with the goal of providing tangible solutions from the private business sector.
One of the highlights was the presentation of Professor Giancarlo Colelli, of Foggia University, who is one of the most important scientists in the field of post-harvest applied to processed products, who spoke about the results and innovations in processed products through the Ofrasser and Quafety project.
Also noteworthy was the presentation of Yoram Kapulnik, of the Volcani Centre, in Israel, who spoke about innovation in agricultural research. There were also other interesting conferences on genomes and varietal innovation, traceability and sustainability, etc.
Galera stressed that "it is important for companies and R&D+i centres to listen to consumer demands and work together to offer products that meet their expectations in terms of health, supplying new formats that are easier to consume and thus be ready to meet the new market trends."
Italy is renowned as one of the most advanced countries in post-harvest research, as it has achieved great breakthroughs in the field of processed products developed from fresh raw materials. The consumption of processed food products is growing by around 4% annually, with revenue reaching 700 million euros per year in Italy, according to data for 2013 supplied by ICEX. It is, therefore, a potentially active market, with consumers increasingly demanding products in formats that make consumption a quick and simple process.
For Tecnova, it has been a great opportunity to attend this forum, meeting with the leading scientists in the field of post-harvest and being able to interact with them in order to establish alliances, partnerships and interesting R&D+i projects for both countries.