The promotion of innovation in traditional cuisine, enhancing the Mediterranean Diet, the main ingredient of which is olive oil-this is the main objective of Cooking-Lab, an Experimental Kitchen set up by the CITOLIVA foundation to produce dishes which make up the traditional fare of this diet on an industrial level, whilst maintaining their original flavour.
We are talking about Spain’s first pilot plant exclusively dedicated to the development of healthy products made using olive oil (or one of its components). The Cooking-Lab is an area equipped with technological and advanced innovative infrastructures placed at the disposal of the food and agriculture sector, and which will allow the olive oil industry to become more competitive by creating new high value added products, based on olive oil.
Olive oil and health
On the basis of the “olive oil-health” relationship, CITOLIVA places all its knowledge regarding the behaviour of olive oil components in the body at the disposal of companies for the creation of new high-value added products.
In the experimental kitchen, companies can overcome the obstacles hindering their development, such as shortage of infrastructure and equipment necessary for technological development and Research and Development projects, which finally benefit the end consumer. R+D projects are therefore encouraged, the results of which aim to create new processes, processes and services, based on the enhancement of olive oil as a healthy foodstuff, such as the search for functional foods based on olive oil, related to the prevention and/or treatment of major diseases.
It will also aid in developing new products based on the exploitation of olive oil industry by-products, as well as new developments in theagri-food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, using olive oil as a substitute for other fats.
Some of the projects taking place at Cooking-Lab emphasise sauces with improved nutritional profiles (mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, tomato sauces, etc.) which will be produced with EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) of different varieties, in which, moreover, antioxidant ingredients (bioactive ingredients) will be included and for which specific equipment exists; meat products in which saturated fats are replaced with monounsaturated fats and “trans” fats by olive oil; foodstuffs with specialised characteristics for different age groups, such as the elderly, children, pregnant women, athletes etc.
But beyond this, this experimental kitchen will serve to improve traditional technological processes, using more efficient techniques to make products based on olive oil and traditional recipes. It will also improve food safety processes and the optimisation of the olive oil’s characteristics during processing, so that consumers can enjoy safer products with better organoleptic and nutritional properties.
The following are examples of the projects already taking place:
Fritura Excelencia: a project to use EVOO when frying. It studies the effect of foodstuffs on sensorial and bioactive properties.
ACTIVEOLIVE: a project relating to the preservation of highly perishable food products through active packaging, incorporating natural compounds from the oil industry.
ATENA: based on olive oil and other healthy fats, and their technological applications to transform them into high value-added products.
INTOLIVE: a viability study of the production of foodstuffs preserved through immersion in olive oil enriched with bioactive natural compounds in the olive oil value chain.
INOEVAS: a viability study of the improvement of the lipid profile of burger meat.
OLEA TEMPURA: a study of the behaviour of olive oils when fried.
In short, this experimental kitchen placed at the industry’s disposal, will bring multiple benefits