S3FOOD enables a future with smarter food production

New EU project will help food SMEs get started on their digital journey – 3,9 millon euro go
directly to SMEs. 

Thirteen European partners have come together in the S3FOOD project with an aim to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the EU food industry by enabling small and medium-sized enterprises to adopt digital technology.

Through S3FOOD, the partners will have a specific focus on facilitating and accelerating the use of smart sensor systems for improved quality control, better resource efficiency and a higher level of food safety and traceability – all important steps towards solving central challenges in the agri-food system.

Opening big data benefits
With the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 – in progress, many larger companies have already responded by automating and digitalising their production. This includes benefiting from the related data generation, which opens the door to identify processing issues quicker and gives opportunities for continuous improvement.
S3FOOD targets the many SMEs in the agri-food industry in Europe, that currently lack the awareness, partners and funds to start the same journey.

Sustainable benefits
“The idea with S3FOOD is to establish an innovation-friendly, cross-border ecosystem to help SMEs start their Industry 4.0 transition. Companies that still rely on a few in-house specialists to register and interpret processing data are at risk of losing important knowledge and expertise.

Using smart sensors, they can secure it all in automated systems and bring sustainable benefits to their business,” says Veerle De Graef, Innovation Manager, Flanders’ FOOD– coordinator of the S3FOOD project.

The initial objective of the three-year project is to gain a full picture of food company needs and challenges and identify relevant research and technology providers that can support them. SMEs will also be invited on study visits to living labs and frontrunner companies, where they can see smart sensors in action, and to attend matchmaking events for finding relevant partners.

Funding opportunity
The S3FOOD technology training and business coaching package will assist SMEs in developing their digitisation plan. SMEs can then apply for funding up to € 60,000 to bring their plan to life.

“We will roll out more information about the project as we go. I would recommend anyone with an interest in following the project to sign up for the S3FOOD newsletter, which will provide regular
updates about events and opportunities,” Veerle De Graef says.

S3FOOD is a 5 million euro project, where 79 percent, corresponding to 3,9 million euro, goes directly to SME support in the form of funding vouchers and training and business coaching.

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