The limitation of natural resources, together with current consumer trends and needs, demand implementing sustainable food systems, able to produce healthier products and fulfil circular economy principles. Therefore, an integrated strategy aligned with economic, social and environmental aspects, is proposed for the Mediterranean basin, to generate a food value-chain based on developing a novel pumpkin fruit pulp product, incorporating pumpkin by- product extracts with preserving capacity, thus promoting the sustainable development of these ecosystems.
The food industry is under pressure to offer healthy, convenient, and ready-to-eat foods, able to meet daily nutritional needs, provide pleasure and satiety, and attend to consumers’ growing expectations and safety issues. Consumers also search for food with diversified organoleptic properties and free of artificial additives. Inversely, the food industry still relies on artificial additives to preserve and enhance food properties, due to the lack of effective natural counterparts, which face stability and availability limitations. Hence, novel products are emerging, including fruit- /vegetable-based health-promoting foods free of artificial additives. Furthermore, it is necessary to develop sustainable processing and preserving methods to ensure food quality and safety, while promoting self-sufficiency (zero waste context). In a more social-oriented way, PulpIng aims to improve the pumpkin production in northern Africa through technology transfer from research into established local enterprises. The public and societal engagement is obvious, as it deals with actual problems of today’ society, namely the long-term consumer’ health and environmental sustainability, and food security for all. All the proposed activities will have significant impacts at national and international level, given the worldwide use of the developed product (pumpkin fruit pulp).
The main ambition is to develop a novel pumpkin pulp product incorporated with pumpkin by-products extracts with preserving capacity. This purpose will rely on combining scientific and technological skills held by the consortium members with different levels of technological maturity.