Double Fresh - Towards a new generation of healthier and tastier ready-to-eat meals with fresh ingredients (“Double Fresh”)

Grant: EU - Framework 6 - Priority 5 “Food Quality and Safety”, Proposal/Contract no.: FOOD-CT-2006-023182

Funding Body: European Commission Sixth Framework Programme, Priority 5 “Food Quality and Safety”, Proposal/Contract no.: FOOD-CT-2006-023182

Project Homepage:

Duration: 2006-2009


Principal Investigator:

Karl-Heinz Wagner


Project group:

Sonja Kanzler, PhD student, project assistance
Anita Gruber, Master student, finished 2008
Martin Manschein, Master student, finished 2008
Guido Lammer, Master student
Angela Sailer, Master student


Cooperation partner:

The Double Fresh consortium is composed of:
Sodexho Nederland BV, The Netherlands
Plaza Food BV, The Netherlands
Le Médaillon NV, Belgium
Nortura BA Marked, Norway
Fjordland AS, Norway
Pindos SA, Greece
Hilcona AG, Switzerland
Snellmanin Kokkikartano OY, Finland/Sweden
Technology providers:
Roxytron A/S, Denmark
SupaChill Europe Ltd, Britain
Mitsubishi Gas and Chemicals Ltd, Japan
Freshflex,The Netherlands
Research institutes:
AFSG (Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group, Wageningen-UR), The Netherlands
SIK (The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology), Sweden
Matforsk AS (The Norwegian Food Research Institute), Norway
Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging, Germany
LEI BV (Agricultural Economics Research Institute, Wageningen-UR), The Netherlands
Danish Technological Institute
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Austria
FMH-ATV (Food Microbiology Group of the Wageningen University), The Netherlands
Department of Chemistry,  University of Ioannina (UOI), Greece

Short description: The double fresh project aims to raise ready-to-eat meals to a higher quality level. In accordance with the demand of consumers, meals will be improved along with the following dimensions: more appealing (fresher & tastier), healthier (special focus on obesity), stricter controlled safety and a longer shelf life for more viable food businesses. Two types of meal concepts will be developed: ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals.
The ready-to-cook meal is composed of fresh meat/fish, fresh vegetables, a pre-cooked starch component (potatoes, rice or pasta) and sauce. This meal can conveniently be heated (steam cooked) in a microwave oven. In order to implement this meal in all European markets the shelf life needs to be extended from currently 5 days to at least 9 days (for densely populated markets within the EU) or 14 days (for most of the EU markets). The challenge will be to reach these meaningful shelf life extensions without compromising on the food quality, nutritional quality and food safety.
The ready-to-eat meal is a cooked and packed meal that will be improved significantly compared to the current post-pasteurised meals by using either milder post-pasteurisation treatments or advanced packaging solutions. The challenge will be to achieve a more appealing cooked meal, which looks and smells fresher and tastier, without compromising on food safety and nutritional quality.

The following scientific disciplines will closely collaborate in the double fresh project: consumer researchers, nutritional scientists, food microbiologists, packaging technologists, mathematicians, food process engineers and sensory scientists.
WG 2 Healthier meals and nutritional analysis: Coordinated in Vienna
Part of the attractiveness of the meal for the consumers has to originate from its healthy status. A combined product strategy of “high in initial nutrients” and “complemented with high quality ingredients” is more meaningful and the concomitant marketing message is expected to be more powerful than just one of the individual claims. Therefore, this project aims to develop meals that have a high nutrient density, are based on high quality products, contain natural vitamins, antioxidants, secondary plant products, dietary fibre and are low in saturated and animal fats and contain less salt. In addition to the initial products only oils of vegetable origin should be added.

ISI Publications:
1. Kanzler S, Manschein M, Gruber A, Wagner K-H (2008): Evaluating the nutritional composition of different European ready-to-eat meals. Ann. Nutr. Metab., 52:127

2. Kanzler S, Manschein M, Wagner K-H (2009): Fat content and fatty acid pattern of European ready meals. Ann. Nutr. Metab., 55 (suppl 1):332

More papers are in preparation at the moment.
NON ISI Publications:
1. Kanzler S, Wagner K-H (2009): Die Nährstoffzusammensetzung ausgewählter Fertiggerichte des österreichischen und europäischen Marktes. Ernährung/Nutrition, 33:375-376
2. Kanzler S, Wagner K-H (2009): Optimierung der Komponenten - Verbesserung der ernährungsphysiologischen Qualität von Fertiggerichten. Lebensmitteltechnik, 9:45-47
3. Kanzler S, Wagner K-H (2009): Ernährungswissenschaftler verbessern Fertiggerichte. Tiefkühllreport 7-8:40-41
4. Kanzler S, Wagner K-H (2009): Guidelines for the improvement of the nutritional quality of ready meals in Europe. Alimentaria, 4:93-95
5. Kanzler S, Wagner K-H (2009): Recommendations for improvement of nutritional quality of ready-to-eat meals in Europe. Ernährung/Nutrition, 33:13-15
6. Kanzler S, Wagner K-H (2008): Die Nähstoffzusammensetzung von europäischen Fertiggerichten auf dem Prüfstand. Ernährung aktuell, 4:5-7
7. Kanzler S, Manschein M, Gruber A, Wagner K-H (2008): Nährstoffzusammensetzung von Fertiggerichten: Sind diese für ältere Personen geeignet? Proc. Germ. Nutr. Soc., 12:58
Project Homepage:
Article including main results
Presentation on the workshop "Ultra fresh and chilled meals"
Dissemination to the industry and the public:
Online Journal from the University of Vienna 
Forschungs Förderungs Gemeinschaft - FP7 - Success Story   
VMT-Online (article in Dutch)
Press releases: 
Kleine Zeitung  
Der Standard
Genuss Magazin
Natürlich Gesund
Emmersdorfer Foodnews
From the project we had so far 2 invited,  2 non invited lectures and 7 poster presentations at international scientific meetings.