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Large Danish food infrastructure collaboration bears fruit

Companies and research communities have achieved new standards of collaboration through the shared state-of-the-art laboratory center, FOODHAY, setting the stage for the development of cutting-edge knowledge and innovative solutions in the realm of future healthy and sustainable food.

New ingredients capable of extending food shelf life, novel strains of lactic acid bacteria derived from flowers and berries, and innovative production methods that require reduced energy consumption are just a few of the outcomes that have emerged thanks to the research infrastructure known as the Open Innovation FOOD & Health Laboratory, or FOODHAY. The Danish Ministry of Education and Research has contributed 51.5 million Danish Kroner to this initiative.

Since 2019, more than 100 pieces of equipment have been installed at Aarhus University, the University of Copenhagen, DTU National Food Institute, and the Danish Technological Institute. Numerous collaborations between food companies and both Danish and international research environments have yielded promising results. In 2022 alone, 96 Danish and international companies partnered with FOODHAY's stakeholders.

"Thanks to the multitude of state-of-the-art advanced instruments available on the FOODHAY platform, we can now investigate and develop raw materials and ingredients in an entirely new light. This has the potential to lead to healthier, more sustainable foods, and a reduction in food waste. This is evidenced by the impressive number of published articles, conference presentations, student projects, and collaborations with food companies," notes Michelle Williams, who heads the FOODHAY consortium and the Department of Food Science at Aarhus University.

So far, 41 articles have been published, 35 presentations delivered at conferences, and 37 bachelor's and master's theses completed using FOODHAY equipment.

Companies and specialized knowledge come together

Danish Industry (DI) welcomes the fact that the FOODHAY collaboration has provided companies with the opportunity to align themselves more closely with the specialized knowledge and equipment found within universities and other knowledge partners.

"It is crucial for the food sector to develop the knowledge necessary for the future of healthy and sustainable foods and ingredients. FOODHAY is a top-tier platform in this regard, and I am delighted to see that companies have embraced the opportunity to participate. Additionally, it is a pleasure to observe that many of the FOODHAY projects are also contributing to the education of candidates within the field of food. This bodes well for the future," says Leif Nielsen, Branch Director of DI Food.

Widespread Industrial Application

Equipment and knowledge provided through FOODHAY have found their way into both small and large enterprises. For instance, Greenfield Innovation Aps has tested green proteins by substituting them in fresh pasta, resulting in faster production and reduced energy consumption. Food & Bio Cluster Denmark applauds such examples.

"We take particular pleasure in noting that numerous innovative companies have collaborated with research environments and derived value from the investments made in recent years," says Lars Visbech Sørensen, Director of Food & Bio Cluster Denmark.

The goal of FOODHAY is precisely to generate new knowledge for use in the food industry and to foster talent development among students, researchers, and employees in food companies. FOODHAY was established to contribute to the development of future healthy and sustainable foods, as well as to reduce food waste through advanced process and research equipment

Facts about FOODHAY

The research infrastructure known as the Open Innovation FOOD & Health Laboratory, FOODHAY, is a significant Danish research infrastructure project, with a contribution of 51.5 million Danish Kroner from the Ministry of Education and Research. The consortium behind FOODHAY is matching this amount, resulting in a total investment of approximately 103 million Danish Kroner.

FOODHAY is a collaborative effort involving the research institutions Aarhus University, DTU (Technical University of Denmark), the University of Copenhagen, and the Danish Technological Institute. The more than 100 purchased research equipment are distributed among these institutions. Arla serves as a strategic partner, and both Food & Bio Cluster Denmark and the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) actively contribute as representatives of Danish food companies.

In 2021 and 2022, FOODHAY recorded the following achievements:

90 and 96 collaborations between FOODHAY partners and companies

50 and 78 collaborations with researchers from Danish and international universities and other research institutions

5 and 36 published articles

5 and 30 conference presentations

12 and 25 bachelor's and master's theses

12 and 22 bachelor's and master's courses.

Read more

Learn more about FOODHAY on the FOODHAY website

Explore examples of equipment usage in a series of articles in the PLUS PROCES magazine from Tech Media – in Danish:

FOODHAY Collaboration for the Future of Food

FOODHAY Collaboration on Biomarkers and Screening

FOODHAY Collaboration in Proteomics and Metabolomics

FOODHAY Collaboration in Food Biophysics

FOODHAY Collaboration in Sensory Analysis and Consumer Behavior



If you have any questions about FOODHAY, please contact Head of Department Michelle Williams at +45 25170049 or mw@food.au.dk.