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Galicia drives transformation of the dairy sector with the SmarTZ4Milk project

The SmarTZ4Milk project – Smart, traceable, sustainable and connected dairy value chain – has taken its first steps, marking a significant milestone in the transformation of the Galician dairy sector towards digitalization, sustainability and improved traceability. With a total budget of 16.8 million euros and a grant of 9.7 million euros, the project is financed by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism (MINTUR) and the European Union through the Next Generation EU funds.

The project, led by Grupo Lence and promoted by the Galician Food Cluster (Clusaga) through the Next Generation Galicia Food Technical Office, is already underway with the active participation of the collaborating companies. Eleven companies are participating, of which seven are dairy companies: Grupo Lence, CAPSA FOOD, Grupo Cooperativas Lácteas Unidas (CLUN and ACOLACT), Bico de Xeado, Queizuar and Queixería Prestes. In addition, technology companies such as Grupo AMSlab, ASM Soft, Plexus Tech and Sixtema contribute their experience in the implementation of innovative digital solutions.

Objectives and areas of work

The main objective of the SmarTZ4Milk project is to transform the dairy sector by minimizing its impact on the environment, reducing food waste, digitizing its processes to the maximum to optimize plants, and facing the challenge of decarbonization throughout the value chain, without neglecting the importance of quality so that milk continues to be a fundamental part of a healthy diet in the coming years.

To achieve this goal, SmarTZ4Milk has set several specific targets, such as encouraging research, development, and innovation in the dairy sector, increasing competitiveness through digitization, automation, and sensorization of processes, promoting sustainable practices in all industrial operations, driving green investments in the dairy industry, and improving transparency and accessibility to data through traceability.

SmarTZ4Milk is divided into 18 primary projects, whose themes fall into the 3 blocks included in the PERTE order: Competitiveness (digitalization), sustainability, and traceability.

The work carried out by the AMSlab Group is included in block 3 and is one of the primary projects included in the project. It is focused on research into new analytical methods based on proteomics for the study of milk proteins. In this way, research will be carried out into the application of technology based on liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry detection to evaluate milk components at the level of proteomics and genetic variables to correlate the different variables. This research will give rise to new basic knowledge that does not exist in the scientific literature, which will provide complete traceability “from cow to table” through an exhaustive study of milk composition, in order to ensure traceability and food safety throughout the whole process from cow/farm to company and plant, in terms of the breeding area and breed of the cow, among others.

For this purpose, different specific objectives have been defined, which coincide with the different activities carried out in the first work package:

  • Research into new analytical methods based on liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry detection.
  • Identification of the relationship between the different variables that affect milk and its quality.
  • To study the possible variations that may exist in the dairy process, and which may vary according to origin or processing.

Funding and budget:

The project is financed through the actions of industrial strengthening of the agri-food sector – PERTE AGROALIMENTARIO. Total budget: 16.8 M€, with a grant of 9.7 M€, financed by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism (MINTUR) and the European Union, through the Next Generation EU funds.

Duration and timeline:

The SmarTZ4Milk project, launched in January 2023, is scheduled to end in June 2025. During this period, several phases of research, development and implementation will be carried out to achieve the set objectives.

Network of partners

SmarTZ4Milk is coordinated by Clusaga, with Medrar Smart Solutions as technical coordinator and FI Group managing technical and economic aspects respectively. In addition, the project has the participation of Galician universities such as the University of Vigo and the University of Santiago de Compostela, as well as the Galician Technological Centre (ITG), providing knowledge and technical support.