Food processing technology research and development activities have historically been driven by large-scale manufacture upscaling drivers to profit from economies of scale. Increasing demand for high-quality food with pioneering texture profiles, consumer needs for personalised products impacting product formulation (i.e., fat, sugar and micronutrient content), and constrained availability of ingredients and resources are pressuring industrialists to utilise alternative technologies to enable a more sustainable food supply. Distributed and localised food manufacturing (DLM) has been identified as a promising strategy towards future sustainable systems with technology representing one of its cornerstones. Innovative methods and tools to support the selection of the best alternative technologies for DLM are required. This paper provides an overview of food processing technologies and includes a novel classification created to support future assessments. A novel qualitative assessment method encompassing multiple criteria to understand specific food technologies suitability for future DLM systems is presented. Finally, research benefits are explored through the application of the assessment method to several selected technologies with promising potential in future food manufacturing. The results demonstrate that this methodological approach can assist in the adoption of DLM food systems through the selection of the best technologies integrating individual manufacturer requirements.
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