The first of five modules of the Visegrad Fund project “Food Quality in the Digital Age”, which also involved the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Science (FBFS) in cooperation with the AgroBioTech Research Centre SUA Nitra, took place from 27th February to 2nd March 2023 at the Mendel University in Brno (Czech Republic).

The first study visit and practical training focused on “3D food printing” at Mendel University was coordinated and led by Vice-Rector Soňa Hermanová, Ph.D., Mgr., Assoc.

Ten PhD students and 12 researchers from Poland (University of Life Sciences, Lublin), Hungary (Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences), Serbia (University of Belgrade, Faculty of Agriculture), Slovakia (SUA in Nitra) and the Czech Republic (Mendel University, Brno) took part. The team from SUA in Nitra was represented by assoc prof. MSc. M. Kročko, PhD. (Institute of Food Science, FBFS), MSc. J. Štefaniková, PhD. (AgroBioTech Research Centre SUA), MSc. V. Ducková, PhD. (Institute of Food Science, FBFS) and PhD students MSc. K. Poláková (Institute of Food Science, FBFS) and MSc. A. Mesárošová (Institute of Food Science, FBFS).

One of the primary focuses of the host university is sustainability through the reuse of food waste (e.g. whey) as feedstock for the production of new food/edible coatings through innovative technologies. In addition to a training – 3D printing of chocolate with added whey protein, researchers and PhD students from Mendel University informed us about the possibilities of using edible insects in food production, which was coupled with a tasting of meat products enriched in this way.

In the framework of the lecture block on the main topic of the project – “Food Quality in Digital Age”, our university was represented by MSc. J. Štefaniková, PhD. with a lecture – “Research activities of the AgroBioTech Centre in Nitra” and MSc. K. Poláková with a lecture – “Reducing food waste by using coffee by-products as a prospective source of biologically active substances”.

During the study visit, a meeting with local/regional academia and project stakeholders, including food companies, farmers, trade associations, etc., was also held. This event was a side event of the XLIX. Conference on Food Quality and Food Raw Materials “Ingrovy dny 2023”, which also had an international session on “Food Quality in Digital Age”.

The programme of the first module also included a visit to the Faculty of Horticulture of Mendel University in the Lednice-Valtice area (UNESCO World Heritage Site), where interesting lectures were given on the research focus of the individual departments of this faculty and then the possibilities of cooperation were discussed.

The first module in Brno was a great opportunity to meet the project participants personally, to learn about innovative methods of food quality assessment, to exchange knowledge and to establish valuable international contacts.

We would like to thank the whole team of the host Mendel University in Brno for the rich and intensive programme, the warm welcome and we are looking forward to the second module which will take place in June in Budapest.

The project “FOOD Quality in Digital Age” (Grant no. 22230075) is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.