According to the World Health Organization (WHO), eating plenty of F&V (fruit and vegetables) is one of the 5-key to a healthy diet. However, regional and local products are still characterized by a very short shelf life due to the intrinsic natural properties of the F&V. Moreover, current available chemical sanitisers, besides being perceived negatively by consumers, are not considered as a solution since they are not efficient for microbial reduction and are harmful to human health and the environment. The need for a more effective and sustainable post-harvesting and processing techniques to improve safety and retain nutritional and sensory properties of F&V with prolonged shelf life is urgent especially for both SME’s (small and medium enterprises) and consumers.

Therefore, the H2020 Shealthy project aims to assess and develop an optimal combination of non-thermal sanitization, preservation and stabilization methods to improve the safety while preserving the nutritional and organoleptic quality and prolonging the shelf-life of fresh and minimally processed F&V products.

By combining and modulating non-thermal technologies with minimally processing operations, the project will respond to consumers’ demand for fresh, healthy, convenient, sustainable and locally produced and additive-free food which is safe and nutritious.

In Shealthy, sustainable and flexible processing methods will be transferred and adapted to the need of local F&V micro and SMEs, interconnecting primary producers through novel cooperative business models and new logistics systems, to enhance the traceability and authenticity of raw materials along the F&V value chain. Innovative SME-led collaborative business models will be designed and implemented in pilot trials SMEs resulting in new local/regional food system where farmers, food processing micro & SME, logistics and consumers are engaged and interconnected.

Further information available on the project website