Food Laboratory

Comprising of a team of professionally trained food scientists and nutritionists, the Food Laboratory is the Institute’s focal points in Food product Research and Development. The work spans across the entire product cycle from ideation through to commercialization. For most part, state-of-the-art technologies are employed to deliver modern solutions to the challenges of an increasingly dynamic food industry. These, among many, include: freeze drying technology, ultrasonic raw milk analysis, rapid plate freezing technology, modified atmospheric packaging and fluidized bed drying technology. 

 

Services provided by the UIRI Food Laboratory include:
  • Food product design and formulation.
  • Process development and standardization.
  • Technical and Advisory services.
  • Product Testing.
  • Upcountry projects support.
  • Equipment needs consulting.
  • Consumer and Market Research.
  • Customized food quality assessment.
  • Student support.
  • Pilot plant trials.
  • Practical training for individuals and group associations. 

 

Future prospects
  • Prospects for set-up of a comprehensive packaging facility. The packaging industry in Uganda is underdeveloped and many food processors import their packaging material. Preparations for set-up of a comprehensive packaging facility have commenced. One member of the Lab attended a food packaging symposium in Nairobi to get more ideas and network. The Food lab’s role will be product selection, equipment needs assessment and manufacturer identification.
  • Popularization of Extrusion Technology. Extrusion is a process by which a set of mixed ingredients are forced through an opening in a perforated plate or die with a design specific to the food, and is then cut to a specified size by blades. Extrusion enables mass production of food via a continuous, efficient system that ensures uniformity of the final product. Food products usually manufactured using extrusion include pasta,breads(croutons,flat breads), many breakfast cereals, ready-to-eat confectionery, pre-made cookie dough, some baby foods,full-fat soy textured vegetable protein, and some beverages. It is a technology that a number of farmers are still unaware of, yet it can go a long way in adding value to their products.
  • Development of more nutraceuticals from indigenous plants. The Food Lab will continue its research in the development of products that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease. The indigenous plants to be used include: lemon grass, lemon balm, peppermint, rosemary, cinnamon, hibiscus, lavender and thyme.