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New healthy and sustainable food products and processes
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 2: Fair, Healthy and Environmentally-friendly Food Systems from Primary Production to Consumption
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
In line with the European Green Deal priorities, the farm to fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environment‑friendly food system, and the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050, the successful proposal will support R&I to develop new food products and processes in conventional or organic production systems. These new products should be healthier and overall more sustainable and based on natural ingredients, tasty appealing to the consumer, affordable and minimally processed.
Several studies in adults found a strong scientific concordance between consumption of ultra-processed foods and a higher risk of developing cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Evidence is accumulating from mechanistic studies of the plausible causal pathways by which the physical structure and chemical compositions of these foods might cause harm. Additives or cocktail of additives could play a role in the incidence of NCDs and further R&I are needed. It is now widely accepted that a diet rich in plant-based food, such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, legumes and nuts, may reduce the incidence of chronic diseases and is also beneficial against obesity and metabolic diseases. Further research is necessary to determine how the structural characteristics of plant-based foods deliver health benefits in modulating digestibility and in improving bioavailability of nutrients and how the physical structure may be modified by processing.
An increasing number of people pay attention to environmental, health, social and ethical issues and they seek value in food more than ever before. Therefore, a food systems’ transformation is needed with a shift towards more healthy, safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable food for all, coupled with a respective change in the food production, distribution and consumption involving all the actors of the food chain.
A move to a plant-based diet with less red and processed meat, less salt, sugars, saturated and trans fats and additives, with more whole-grain cereals, fruit and vegetables, legumes and nuts, as well as processing efficiency and reduced losses and wastage along the food supply chains is needed. Where relevant, activities should build on and expand the results of past and ongoing research projects and collaborate with relevant initiatives.
Proposals are expected to address the following R&I activities:
- Develop and optimise new efficient methods/processes to reduce costs (e.g. energy, water, food raw materials) and impact on the environment to produce minimally processed functional food ingredients and food products and assess their nutritional, sensorial, structural and functional properties to enhance health and well-being, including the values provided by the plant/produce microbiome for nutritional qualities and its effects on the human gut microbiome.
- Develop new healthy, sustainable, diversified, minimally processed, reformulated, tasty and affordable food products and assess their nutritional, structural, sensorial and functional properties to enhance health and well-being and to improve nutrition status.
- Demonstrate the safety of the developed food products in accordance with relevant EU regulatory frameworks related to their placing on the market, and generate relevant data for pre-market authorisation,
- Investigate, assess and develop improved predictive realistic models for quantifying effects on human health (risks/benefits) of processing and food ingredients (and/or mixture of them).
- Study and optimise the role of the food matrix structure to make specific ingredients available or not (in case of caloric control) to our digestive system to reach the desired health effects/to combat non-communicable (NCDs).
- Ensure societal acceptance and the consumer buy in of new food products and processes in involving consumer at all stage of the product development process.
Proposals must implement the 'multi-actor approach' and ensure adequate involvement of academia, research-technology organizations, food businesses and other relevant actors of the value chain and take into account sex and gender analysis.
Proposals could consider cooperation with of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) research infrastructures (Nanobiotechnology laboratory) and its expertise at the interface between the research activities and regulatory aspects. In that respect, the JRC will consider collaborating with any successful proposal and this collaboration, when relevant, should be established after the proposal’s approval.
Proposals should also optimize nutritional, structural and functional food properties of raw materials to enhance health and well-being benefits for EU and Associated Countries citizens and have a low impact on the environment/climate. This will contribute to the transformation of food systems to deliver co-benefits for climate, biodiversity, environmental sustainability and circularity, the shift to healthy and sustainable diets, safe food, food poverty reduction and empowerment of communities, and thriving businesses.
Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:
- New knowledge that the food industry can use in the design of new healthy and sustainable food products and processes to improve health and well-being of EU and Associated Countries citizens and with low impact on the environment/climate.
- Alignment in goals of consumers and food solution providers with more healthy, tasty, minimally processed, affordable and sustainable food.
- New market and job opportunities for sustainable food SMEs and industries.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
other eligibility criteria
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) may participate as member of the consortium selected for funding.
The proposals must apply the multi-actor approach. See definition of the multi-actor approach in the introduction to the work programme.
Activities should reach TRL 4-5 by the end of the project.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.