The European FP7 Project TRAFOON has started
TRAFOON – “Traditional Food Network to improve the transfer of knowledge for innovation”– is a network of 30 European research institutions, technology transfer agencies and SME associations and covers the value chain of four groups of traditional food products based on grains, fish, vegetables and mushrooms, and fruits. It focuses on the preservation, protection, innovation and further development of traditional foods in Europe and it aims at supporting the small and medium sized producers to preserve the tradition and the authenticity of their products.The often small-scale producers are nowadays facing the challenges of having to meet many existing European regulations and to acquire new knowledge on improved technological solutions related to their products while at the same time preserving the tradition and the authenticity of their products. TRAFOON will also provide for knowledge and concrete suggestions to enhance the business and marketing aspect of those traditional products to make the producers more competitive or to keep them in the market at all. The needs of these traditional small and medium enterprises (SME) will be detected and collected by the respective branch-specific associations.
The technological, legal or business-related solutions for these ‘hot topics’ will be transferred through training workshops, where specifically trained mediators will be used to communicate these solutions in the language of the respective countries. A multi-lingual online Information Shop containing these solutions and innovations will be created for public access and to reach SMEs which could not participate at one of our workshops. In addition, this Information Shop is a living archive and will be central to the sustainability of TRAFOON also after its official end.
TRAFOON can offer targeted, need-based services to strengthen the SME’s innovative capability, such as training on:
- Intellectual property rights,
- European food law,
- Use of labels,
- Quality management,
- Product development strategies and production protocols,
- Safety and environmental performance.
The project is aiming to stimulate the entrepreneurshipamong food researchers, commercial take-up of food R&D results, and entrepreneurial networking as well. This initiative will have the positive impact on communication between SMEs and research institutions, consumer satisfaction due to improved traditional food supply, and entrepreneurship and competitiveness of SMEs in traditional foods. A Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) for traditional foods will be created and communicated to policy decision makers. A European knowledge transfer network will be established with the focus on the mentioned food sectors, linking researchers, mediators, SME associations and single SMEs.
TRAFOON Multi-Stakeholder Workshops
In the first year of the TRAFOON project, European small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are producing traditional foods and food raw materials were asked for their current needs and their opinion of future challenges.
SMEs were asked for needed innovations of technical improvements in food production and processing, packaging, labelling, certification, marketing and related topics. For the qualitative analysis of this inventory of needs, multi-stakeholder workshops will be performed which are focusing on the named needs of SMEs in the five food categories. Following multi-stakeholder workshops will be performed:
- September 02-03 2014, Poland. Workshop on vegetables and mushrooms
- September 30 2014, Spain. Workshop on olives
- September 30 2014, Switzerland. Workshop on sweet fruits
- October 01-02 2014, Netherlands. Workshop on grain
- October 07-08 2014, Czech Republic. Workshop on Fish
Based on the inventory of needs, the workshops identify sets of innovations that are needed by traditional food SMEs within the different food categories and design training workshops for SMEs which will be performed in the year 2 and 3 of the TRAFOON project. Further, the multi-stakeholder workshops identify gaps in innovations which will be included into the strategic research and innovation agenda.