High Pressure Processing
Natural food products create several barriers for the food service industry: high prices, low quantities and a short shelf life, making them a risky investment. In order to keep products fresh as long as possible they are often treated with a large amount of additives and preservatives.
These products are also typically processed with traditional, heat-based pasteurization. This is an old technique, which extends the shelf life of the product, but which also sacrifices the flavor, vitamins, and most of the natural characteristics of the product. Because it is cheap and easy, pasteurization has been the main preservation technique since the 1880’s. But what is really inside pasteurized products?
Let’s look at juices: most of the commercial brands do not have more than 5% of fruit content and use concentrated fruit mixed with water and additives. Just a quick look at the ingredients is enough to see the long list of chemicals surrounding, ironically, what is claimed to be fruit juice. The same can be said for thousands of products, from yogurt to canned meat; additives, artificial colors and preservatives are added to make them look like what they are not – fresh.
However, a new era has begun, and consumers are now much more aware of what they eat. Spurred by consumers themselves, the trend of leading a healthy life and eating more natural products has been around for a few years now. This trend is slowly transforming the food business to supply.
A new, revolutionary processing method is aiding producers in supplying healthy food: High Pressure Processing, mostly known as HPP. This method, unlike traditional pasteurization, works with high pressure cold water, which pressurizes the already packaged natural product up to 87,000 psi. To put this into context, the deepest part of the ocean would only create 1/5th of the pressure generated by an HPP machine. The pressure kills bacteria and other microorganisms, while essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes are preserved and the taste and structure of the product is unaltered.
Another great advantage of HPP is that the shelf life is increased substantially. This is because the microorganisms responsible for breaking down a product are completely eliminated. For example, the shelf life of refrigerated avocado products will increase from 5 days to 70 days when using HPP instead of preservatives.
HPP can be successfully applied to a wide range of products without altering their flavor, such as meat, sauces, juices, smoothies and others like guacamole, which cannot be pasteurized. Also, the cost difference between pasteurized products and HPP is just a few cents, since HPP counts with an important reduction thanks to removing the need of additives.
Most of businesses, that are into adding natural food products to their menus, are also aiming to buy raw ingredients, which is a nice but expensive way to keep up with the demand of Real Food, because it is hard to deal with the seasonal market fluctuation. It takes around 2kg of oranges to make 1 liter of orange juice, to this we have to add the manual labor involved and the waste, which ends in an exhausting and messy option. High pressure process makes it easy removing all those factors, to create ready-to-use products with an exact measure and stable pricing, this facilitate the way businesses can plan their year-round supply without surprises.