A photo of water with air bubbles.

Our research investigates food production techniques for the efficient use of precious resources including water.

Food processing

We are helping to transform the way food is processed, using sustainable, efficient and innovative practices better suited to a resource-constrained world.

  • 17 January 2011 | Updated 3 July 2012

Defining the Problem

With an exponential growth in the human population in coming decades, there will be a dramatic rise in the demand for food. Decreasing or limited resources such as land, fertiliser and water will make this a formidable task. At the same time, increasing food production will need to be accomplished while reducing greenhouse gases and waste produced from food manufacturing.

Science and technology will play an increasingly critical role for food manufacturers in responding to these significant challenges and will promote a sustainable and competitive industry in Australia.

Our Approach

CSIRO research investigates:

  • traditional and emerging processes for the efficient transformation of raw materials into healthy foods
  • processing technologies to improve ‘fresh-like’ qualities of processed foods
  • advanced systems modelling to predict optimal processing conditions.

We are examining opportunities for reducing energy use, developing novel purification technologies and recycling waste and water. Advanced separation technologies are used to recover valuable components from food processing waste.

We have a track record in assisting industry to develop marketable ingredients from the by-products of manufacturing. In addition, validating the efficiency and effectiveness of sustainable processes through systems modelling will be increasingly important for industry.

CSIRO is establishing cutting-edge processes for dairy and other food factory systems to meet current and future challenges in a resource constrained world.

CSIRO is establishing cutting-edge processes for dairy and other food factory systems to meet current and future challenges in a resource constrained world.

Research Outcomes

Our scientific research has demonstrated market impact. Recent successes include:

  • in collaboration with Mars Australia, we have developed a new method of measuring water footprints of products across whole life cycles – from farm to consumer
  • our expertise in developing separations technologies has enabled Murray Goulburn to capture valuable proteins from whey, which had previously been considered a waste product of cheese production
  • innovative high pressure processed, cold pasteurised fruit juices developed by CSIRO and Preshafood Ltd have won National and International awards for their superior flavour, nutritional qualities and shelf-life, which are achieved without any additives or preservatives.

Current research projects include:

  • effects of feeding regimes on milk fat quality, processability and functionality and identifying emerging profitable sectors for milkfat 
  • biomass modification: conversion of lignocellulose to accessible sugars for feeds and/ or biofuels using green chemistry
  • develop principles and guidelines for a national environmental food labelling system including reviewing the governance arrangements, databases and tools that support nutritional labelling and interpretation with respect to environmental labelling.

Find out more about CSIRO Animal, Food and Health Sciences.