Friday, November 20, 2015

Ready Meals with long life-New approach

A recent report that in many Western countries the frozen meals are becoming increasingly unpopular, reasons for which are not well known, is creating some anxiety among the major players in this sector. The fact that it is experiencing a negative growth during the last few years cannot be ignored and it is natural that it is a cause of concern.. It surely does send a powerful message about the the fast changing food habits in many parts of the world. Whether it is due to better awareness about the intimate linkage between food and health or the desire to eat safer foods which is the driving force is any body's guess. In contrast the organic food industry which was a minuscule player till about a decade ago is looking imposingly towering over the mainstream food industry which tells a narrative that consumer trust in food industry is fast eroding , probably due to the perception that the industry is more concerned with profits rather than their well being. The emergence of the High Pressure Processing Technology (HPP) probably may give a breather for the main stream industry as it is one of the cleanest technologies man has ever known with no apprehension about quality or safety issues. Here is a take on the fast growing HPP technology which is increasingly being applied to many products including ready meals. .  

"Another use for High Pressure technology is on ready meals. The CSIRO's director of innovation in food, nutrition and bioproducts, Professor Martin Cole, said dinner was nearly ready. "Ready meals as a business are really taking off around the world," he said, at the Future of Food conference at the University of Sydney. "Everyone is time poor and yet everyone wants really good quality food, "With that business is the shelf-life, and that's where the technology comes into play. "It's based on High Pressure technology, which we've been looking at for over a decade, brought here from around the world."We've even taken some things from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing diet, so instead of people needing to read the books, these are ready meals."

Frozen meals are supposed to be the most convenient format for preparing a meal with minimum hassles though thawing still represents a minor hurdle in making a meal in a jiffy. Besides apparent loss of texture during freezing process and subsequent thawing could be a disadvantage  against this category of foods. It is here HPP technology scores over all others and that explains its gaining unparalleled popularity with the industry. From being a limited player till recently handling only fruit juices, HPP can be useful in preserving many food products without exposing to severe processing conditions. The only constraint for its fast growth is the unbearably high cost of the machinery involved in setting up even small scale production facilities. If the technology becomes popular and if large demand emerges, the cost may come down significantly in the coming years.


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