Sustainable food processing systems

Theme 2
Sustainable Food Processing Systems

The food processing industry is constantly seeking innovations to address sustainability challenges. More than ever, the implementation of eco-responsible practices is crucial to ensure the prosperity and competitiveness of businesses while meeting the needs and expectations of consumers.


The research associated with this theme aims to develop concrete solutions that support the food processing sector in adopting eco-friendly practices throughout the entire value chain.

The work of our research teams is focused on:

  • Developing innovative and eco-efficient processes for the transformation of food resources.
  • Creating novel strategies aimed at reducing food waste and valorizing co-products from the transformation stages, with 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 integration of emerging food processing technologies and practices holds significant importance for the food sector, as it offers opportunities to enhance food quality, create novel ingredients, and develop food matrices with improved nutritional and techno-functional properties. However, it is crucial to optimize and control the operational parameters of these innovative technologies, aligning them with specific food matrices.

At INAF, our research is dedicated to showcasing the effects of these emerging transformation processes on the safety, physicochemical, and nutritional attributes of the final product. By doing so, we aim to promote widespread adoption 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, the implementation of the concept of eco-efficiency within food processing lines helps improve their environmental sustainability while integrating socio-economic aspects. To harness the full potential of this concept, the development of a framework for eco-efficiency analysis based on the life cycle approach is carried out. This framework aims to determine the best compromise between economic, environmental, and social values.

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

Conventional, Emerging, and Alternative Food Resources

The increasing awareness of the significance of sustainable food systems, coupled with consumers’ demand for a diversified food supply, has significantly promoted the adoption of emerging and alternative food matrices (legumes, algae, insects, etc.).

Following the same model applied to conventional food matrices, the work conducted at INAF aims to develop a multi-criteria methodological approach (composition, transformation pathways, safety, nutritional benefits, integration into complex formulations, etc.) to democratize the consumption of these new matrices and enhance their acceptability among consumers.

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

The concept of the circular economy aims to minimize the use of natural resources by emphasizing reuse and recycling to reduce waste generation. In the context of the food processing sector, this involves implementing solutions that optimize the product’s lifespan at every stage of its life cycle, effectively reducing food losses and waste. Additionally, it entails identifying methods to valorize co- and by-products generated within the food sector to create high-value compounds and ingredients.

The research conducted at INAF is dedicated to implementing circularity strategies for all participants engaged in food production and processing, with the ultimate goal of mitigating food losses 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)
  • By-product valorization
  • 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.