Exploring the potential of high–pressure processing
Campden BRI case study
When Heartwarmer Foods learnt of the Technology Strategy Board's £5K research funding vouchers, they came to us to help them assess the potential for high pressure processing (HPP) of their novel fruit smoothie products. Their products are a blend of fruits, gluten–free oats and spices, and have a 6–month ambient shelf–life (currently obtained through heat processing).
Their primary aims were to see if HPP could potentially give their products an extended shelf–life in chilled storage with good vitamin C retention. They asked us to treat their product with HPP and test for changes to mould counts immediately after treatment and after 21 days of shelf life. The vitamin C testing was requested straight after treatment and was compared with the levels in heat treated samples.
We found that HPP reduced mould counts after treatment and that this reduction was maintained over shelf–life. We also found that vitamin C levels were higher in the HPP samples than in heat-treated samples – although the latter samples had been subject to about 2 weeks' storage.
Pranav Bihari, co–founder of Heartwarmer Foods, commented:
"The results of these trials at Campden BRI are very encouraging. It appears that mould is effectively eliminated, and the vitamin C findings suggest that the HPP process does not adversely affect levels. The availability of Campden BRI's process plant equipment and analytical testing facilities, and their expertise in HPP has proved very valuable to us."
Emma Maguire from Campden BRI commented:
"We really enjoy working on this type of project, where we can assemble a team of specialists to look at a problem from different angles – in this case, processing technology, microbiology and food chemistry. The provision of this type of 'one–stop-shop' also makes the whole venture much easier for clients who can source the whole project from a single supplier."