Development of Research and Innovation Facilities for Improving the Regional Competitiveness of Food Industry, INNOFOOD Project aims to contribute and support a powerful and competitive food and beverage industry sector in 12 NUTS II regions in Turkey. The main objective of the Project is to assist SMEs and start-ups operating in the sector on their way to increase the competitiveness by improving the quality and safety of their products and developing new value-added food products and processes as a result of R&D and innovation. 

INNOFOOD is a major infrastructure investment project, to establish research, laboratory and innovation facilities in support of SMEs and start-ups serving in the food and beverage sector. With the project, SMEs serving in the food and beverage sector will improve product quality and safety, improve R&D based product / production technology, and increase international and national competitiveness.

To this end, a communication network and a cluster platform, Food Innovation Platform of Turkey, TÜGİP for all actors involved in the food and beverage sector will be formed; Food Innovation Center consisting of advanced food safety laboratory and pilot facility, and regional laboratories and systems will be established. 

INNOFOOD Project is co-financed by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey. The Ministry of Industry and Technology, DG for European Union and Foreign Affairs, Directorate of EU Financial Programmes is the Contracting Authority. TÜBİTAK MAM is the End Recipient of Assistance and is responsible for the management of the performance of the Project. The project has started in June 2019 and will be completed in June 2023.

The realization of INNOFOOD project provides the establishment of Food Innovation Center, FIC with 8 pilot processing lines and food safety laboratories within the campus of TÜBİTAK MAM Gebze, and regional facilities in Giresun, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa. The infrastructure is designed in accordance with Total Quality Management, European Food Quality Management (EFQM), ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System, ISO 17025 Laboratory Accreditation, ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standards and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety System.

The 8 pilot processing lines, and systems have been identified for the selected food products according to their value adding potential to region’s socio-economic development. In addition to the pilot processing lines in FIC Gebze, the two pilot systems for the two most important products in Giresun and Gaziantep, namely for hazelnut and pistachio have been identified for the hygiene and quality management of these products. In this context, an innovative pilot scale drying system for hazelnut in Giresun and an integrated pilot scale pistachio processing line in Gaziantep are built.

The regional laboratories in Giresun and Şanlıurfa will provide services in order to determine the quality of food products, to raise the awareness to R&D and solve small-scale scientific and technological problems of the local SMEs as well as other food producers. Regional laboratories will also be accredited for ISO 17025. The laboratories will also have a function of identifying the R&D needs in the region.

Planned infrastructure related with INNOFOOD project targets to accomplish three defined areas of activity, namely: 

  • To set up a Platform under the name of Food Innovation Platform of Turkey, TÜGİP to determine the scientific and technological roadmaps for the food and beverage sector and to conduct public/private sector awareness activities. 
  • To establish institutional capacity of the Food Innovation Centre and regional facilities to provide the technology/knowledge transfer, co-create and conduct collaborative R&D and innovation activities and networking.
  • To conduct networking and awareness raising activities to increase competitiveness and innovation capacity of SMEs operating in the food and beverage sectors.

The facility of Food Innovation Center in Gebze with the landscaping works are expected to be ready by May 2021, 2021. The pilot processing lines is expected to be ready by September 2021, and the laboratories will be operational in the second quarter of 2022.