Is it reasonable that even though there is enough food grown to satisfy the needs of the population in numerous developing countries many still go hungry? The Solar Food Project consists of investigating and developing a technological solution that could significantly improve food processing in developing countries in a sustainable way.
The solution consists of adapting and combining solar collector technology with newly developed breathable membrane bags for drying and thus preserving and utilizing fruits in developing countries (see Figure 1). Solar collector technology developed for the membrane bags can critically improve the drying process and the impact of this solution. Furthermore, a variety of fruit products (e.g., juicy, jam, fruit candies) can be produced from the dried fruits.
The project team is formed by post-doctoral researchers with backgrounds from solar energy technology, food engineering and social sciences. The technology will be developed, tested and implemented in Mozambique and the investigation follows an integrated approach including technical, social and implementation aspects. Two farmers’ associations are actively involved in the technology design, development and testing in Inhambane province, an area in Mozambique with one of the highest citrus fruit productions in the country and high levels of food spoilage. A wide range of interdisciplinary research methods, such as participatory exercises and sensory testing are conducted to identify user needs, technology design preferences, and develop recipes for fruit dried products.
Expected outcomes from this study are: 1. the development of innovative combinations of solar and membrane pouch technologies for food preservation at different scales; 2. decreased food safety risk and increased product quality during the drying process; 3. development and testing of prototypes at Lund University; 4. implementation of the technology in Mozambique; 5. development of sustainable strategies for social acceptance; 6. academic co-operation between African and European researchers.