Unió Nuts is fully committed to innovation. Our goal is to continually introduce improvements throughout the entire value chain, in order to satisfy the needs of our customers and maximise the value of our agricultural products. These improvements include optimisation of crops (introduction of new varieties, irrigation systems and cultivation methods), production processes (storage, selection and transformation of the nuts), packaging, presentation and commercialisation.
This innovation is also focused on studying new industrial applications for our products, in order to create more functional, healthier, higher-quality food products. Since 2009, Unió has had its own Research and Development department, which has successfully obtained 4 patents.
UNIÓ NUTS’ PATENTS
A PROCEDURE FOR CROCCANTE FABRICATION AND REFRIGERATION MACHINERY – ES 2.341.427 An improved process for production of chopped-nut-and-sugar dessert toppings.
AN EXTRUDED BREAKFAST CEREAL AND PROCEDURE FOR ITS FABRICATION – WO 2011/148006 The first breakfast cereal based on hazelnuts. This is a crunchy, great tasting product that is salt-free and rich in fibre.
AN ANTI-OXIDANT FOOD FIBRE AND PROCEDURE FOR ITS OBTAINMENT – ES 2.366.221 Obtainment of a natural, anti-oxidant fibre that reduces cholesterol. This fibre, named Fiberox, is made from the inner skins of almonds and hazelnuts.
AN EXTRACT DERIVED FROM CAROB PULP WITH HYPOLIPIDEMIC PROPERTIES AND PROCEDURE FOR ITS OBTAINMENT – ES 201630218 Obtainment of functional ingredients derived from carob pods and able to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.
Some of the projects currently being carried out by our R&D department are:
Unió Origen SCCL, and Unió Nuts SCCL, participate in the European project Life CYCLOPS: Recovery of polyphenols from residues from the olive oil and wine industry.
LIFE CYCLOPS aims to technically and economically demonstrate a sustainable technology to recover and value polyphenols from olive oil and wine industry waste, promoting a circular economy and zero waste model.
You can find more information here.
“LIFE CYCLOPS is a European project co-financed by the LIFE Programme (LIFE21 ENV/ES/CYCLOPS 101074544), the European Union’s funding instrument for environment and climate action.”
Project developed within the framework of the Singular Projects promoted by the Department of Business and Labour of the Generalitat de Catalunya. These projects aim to generate employment through the creation of new business projects, new lines of business, new companies, new markets, within the framework of the social and cooperative economy and taking advantage of strategic opportunities in the sector of activity itself, or in the territory.
Unió Fruits, SCCL. leads and participates in the QUALINUT Operational Group: Analysis and improvement of the critical points of the almond transformation processes.
The main objective of the project is to identify and describe the main conditioning factors and defects caused by new almond varieties in the industry and to study whether some of them can be corrected through adaptations in agronomic management in the field. This knowledge will allow to have relevant information, improving the industrial processes in which the new varieties intervene and in this way be able to increase the economic profitability of the processing industry.
You can find more information here.
Project to produce added value from carob pulp
Use of carob pulp to produce flours, fibres, tannins and sugars with a low glycaemic index. These products have applications in the food industry for production of bread, pastries, desserts, breakfast cereals, sweets, wine, pet foods, pharmaceutical products, baby food, and sports energy products.
Project for genetic improvement of the marcona almond variety
Project for genetic improvement of the marcona almond, with the objective of producing a much more productive, late-flowering variety (to avoid the risk of frosts), which is also self-pollinating and more conducive to industrial processing. A project carried out jointly with Catalonia’s Agro-Food Research and Technology Institute (IRTA).
Creation of experimental farms with the aim of selecting the most suitable varieties based upon each farm’s soil, climatic conditions, and hydrological needs. A project carried out jointly with the IRTA.
Innoàpat Food Community
Unió is one of the 50 participants in the Innoàpat Food Community, which has been accredited by ACCIÓ with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The purpose of this community is to increase investment in R&D and Innovation by agro-food companies, as a way to improve their competitiveness while also taking consumer demands into account.
Unió participated in the following projects:
Research and experimental application of biotechnology as a KET (Key Enabling Tecnologies) to obtain new and high-added value ingredients for the Catalan agri-food market. Project cofounded by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) under the FEDER Catalonia Operative Programme 2014-2020 with number of expedient COMRDI15-1-0028. More info
Identification of new ingredients able to modulate human and animal microbiota by using industrial biotechnology, omic technologies and big data technologies. Project cofounded by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) under the FEDER Catalonia Operative Programme 2014-2020 with number of expedient COMRDI15-1-0029. More info
Obtainment of a natural anti-oxidant fibre derived from the inner skins of almonds and hazelnuts, with applications for production of pastries, biscuits and chocolate bars.
Our R&D department has developed the first breakfast cereal based on hazelnuts. This is a crunchy, great tasting product that is salt-free and rich in fibre.
Bitter Almond Detection and Eradication Task Force
This program, which is led by the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology, aims to develop methods and systems to identify and eliminate bitter almonds. A number of companies in the sector are taking part in the program with the aim of improving all processes, from the field to the end client. Unió Nuts is focusing its efforts on identifying bitter almond on trees.