Today’s consumers are looking for products that are natural, functional, convenient, additive-free and highly nutritional, according to the Snack Food — Packaging and Processing Market Assessment and Trends report produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. To meet these demands, food processors are looking to non-thermal technologies like high pressure processing (HPP).
HPP is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-approved process for a variety of foods using safe, natural water pressure to eliminate potential pathogens and food spoilage organisms. Unlike thermal technologies — which can destroy vitamins and change flavors — HPP provides a solution for processors wanting to deliver fresher, healthier, safer options to meet consumer demands.
With HPP, high pressure is transmitted uniformly throughout the product rendering vegetative cells of both spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms inactive, which does not happen under traditional cooking and pasteurization methods. Processors can take innovation to a new level, giving products such as fresh juices a safe, extended shelf life that would otherwise not be possible without the use of heat, additives and preservatives.
This extended shelf life also comes with the benefits of improved food safety. Pressure inactivates yeast, molds, bacterial cells and most viruses. Improved food safety with minimal change in food flavor, color, texture and nutritional value fulfill consumers’ desires for fresh-like characteristics.
The improved food quality delivered by HPP comes with fewer-to-no additives, and the added appeal of a clean label — providing food safety without additives or heat. The extended shelf life, often two or three times longer than traditional processing methods, means higher yields for food processors, bringing improved profits and reduced waste.
HPP also opens up possibilities for food products that traditionally spoil under thermal treatment. For example, the technology allows processors to shuck mollusks or extract crustacean meat without boiling, producing higher yields, fresher flavor and minimizing hand labor.
HPP also brings operational benefits such as lower energy usage as it only requires the use of water, which is recyclable and environmentally friendly.
No event in North America offers more HPP solutions than ProFood Tech, (March 26–28, 2019, McCormick Place, Chicago). Produced by PACK EXPO, Koelnmesse (organizer of Anuga) and the International Dairy Food Association (IDFA), the three-day event welcomes 7,000 processing professionals and showcases crossover technologies and innovative solutions from 400 exhibitors over 125,000 net square feet of exhibit space.
In addition to free education sessions at the ProFood Tech Knowledge Hub, produced by IDFA, the Cold Pressure Council Annual Conference will take place concurrently with the show. Convened by show organizer PMMI, the conference is dedicated to HPP and will feature insights from leading food processors and service-supplier experts on HPP best practices, the latest market trends and tips for packaging HPP products. ProFood Tech registration is included in the cost of the conference.
For more information and to register for ProFood Tech, go to profoodtech.com.
Maria Ferrante is senior director, marketing and communications, at PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.