Taste the future: advancements of CO2 technology in the food industry

FutureFood is a European grant project part of the Horizon2020 program. Its aim is the demonstration and first market application of CO2-drying, an eco-innovative solution for drying of food products (e.g. vegetables, herbs, fruits and proteins). 

Recently, partners in the consortium have announced first positive results that have come out of the project. 


The microbial inactivation for various pathogens & natural flora in coriander during CO2 drying was evaluated by the universities of Ghent and Padova. Both parties concluded that after supercritical (sc)-CO2 drying, a drastic decrease in contamination occurred (for instance for Salmonella only 0.00001% microorganisms remained from 1 million initially present). Padova University further compared CO2 drying against conventional hot air drying and observed that CO2 drying is much more effective in killing microorganisms. These results give a clear indication that sc-CO2 drying can combine inactivation of foodborne pathogens and drying in a single process.    


At the University of Belgrade, a consumer test (150 persons) was performed comparing CO2 dried paprika with conventionally dried paprika (freeze drying and air drying). CO2 dried paprika was evaluated to have a good crispiness, good flavor and was easy to chew. In comparison with conventional drying, CO2 dried and freeze dried paprika were equally appreciated and preferred over the air dried paprika.


FeyeCon and CO2Dry have achieved significant advancements on their CO2-drying pilot equipment to enable continuous spray drying with supercritical CO2. The system was tested for proteins and polysaccharides and successfully demonstrated at kg scale. As such, the market potential of the technology for drying sensitive biopolymers and functional ingredients into powder form, at lower energy costs, has been proven.


In 2016, various mini-symposia/equipment demonstrations took place at VNK (Biddinghuizen, The Netherlands) organized by CO2Dry, FeyeCon and VNK. The events were supported by the Dutch Workgroup on Drying and the Dutch Food Valley Society. With these events the consortium keeps an open dialogue with industry players and shares the latest foodtech innovations from the project and beyond.


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