Sustainable food processing systems

Theme 2

The food processing industry is in constant search of innovations to respond to issues related to sustainable development. Plus que jamais, la mise en place de pratiques écoresponsables est cruciale pour assurer la prospérité et la compétitivité des entreprises tout en répondant aux besoins et aux attentes des consommateurs.


The research associated with this theme aims at developing concrete solutions to support the food processing sector toward eco-friendly practices in the use and management of food resources over the entire value chain.

The work of our research teams is aimed at:

  • Finalizing innovative and eco-efficient processes for the transformation of food resources;
  • Developing innovative strategies to reduce food waste and to recover co-products from the processing steps, and to do so in a circular economy perspective;
  • Democratizing the transformation of alternative and emerging food resources for the development of new food ingredients and products;
  • Assessing issues related to food fraud and traceability to foster sustainability and competitiveness of the bio-food sector;
  • Developing decision-support tools to improve the environmental sustainability of food supply chains.


Emerging Technologies and Transformation Processes

The implementation of emerging food processing technologies and practices is of major interest to the food sector in terms of improving food quality, producing new ingredients, and formulating food matrices with enhanced nutritional and techno-functional properties. But it is necessary to optimize and control the operating parameters of these innovative technologies while targeting their applications according to the food matrices identified.

The research done at INAF is thus aimed at demonstrating the impacts of emerging transformation processes on the safety, physicochemical, and nutritional characteristics of the finished product in order to democratize the implementation of these technologies in the food industry.

Eco-efficiency of Food Processing Lines

Defined as a ratio between the value of a product and its impact on the environment, implementing the concept of eco-efficiency within food processing lines helps to improve their environmental sustainability while integrating socio-economic aspects. In order to take advantage of this concept, the development of a framework for eco-efficiency analysis based on the life cycle approach is carried out to determine the best compromise between economic, environmental, and social values.

The work undertaken at INAF is therefore aimed at meeting the challenges of social and environmental acceptability of the bio-food sector while maintaining its competitiveness.

Conventional, Emerging, and Alternative Food Resources

Awareness about the importance of sustainable food systems combined with the consumers’ desire for diversification of supply has greatly favored the introduction of emerging and alternative food matrices (legumes, algae, insects, etc.).

On the same model as that applied to conventional food matrices, the work conducted at INAF is aimed at developing a multi-criteria methodological approach (composition, transformation pathways, safety, nutritional benefits, integration into complex formulations, etc.) in order to democratize the consumption of these new matrices and favor their acceptability to consumers.

Strategies to Reduce Food Loss and Waste in a Circular Economy’s Logic

The circular economy concept is aimed at limiting the use of natural resources through reusing and recycling in order to minimize waste generation. Adapted to the food processing sector, it translates into putting in place solutions that could be used to maximize the product lifespan in all steps of their life cycle and thereby limit food loss and waste. It also implies alongside identifying ways to value co- and by-products from the food sector in order to generate high value-added compounds and ingredients.

The research conducted at INAF is thus aimed at implementing circularity strategies for all actors in the production and the processing of foods in order to reduce food loss and waste.


Areas of Expertise

  • Technologies for separating biomolecules
  • Technologies for drying and preserving foods
  • Fermentation, bioprocesses and scale-up
  • Plant proteins and alternatives (insects, algae)
  • Valuation of co-products
  • Environmental score
  • Intelligent packaging

Research chairs

NSERC Industrial Research Chair on Use of Electromembrane Processes To Improve the Eco-efficiency of Biofood Production Lines (PEMECO)

Holder: Laurent Bazinet
For more information

Industrial Research Chair on Maple Syrup Production (CRITA)

Holder: Jean-Michel Lavoie
For more information

Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Nanotechnology for Food and Agriculture

Holder: Saji George
For more information


See all the themes

Our scientific program revolves around six major unifying themes.