Labels From December 2011 newsletter

Food under pressure: clean up your labels and be more competitive

High pressure processing (HPP) is one of the many emerging technologies that we have investigated in recent years. Craig Leadley explains how we can help you explore its potential for your business:

"The development of "clean–label" products is a major drive for industry, as is the desire for the products to have 'minimally processed' characteristics. HPP is an effective pasteurisation process, and so can be used to minimise the use of preservatives. Importantly, it enables key flavour and nutritional properties to be maintained. In addition, it potentially allows some natural colours (which tend to be unstable to heat) to be used in place of synthetic colours.

It isn't just clean label that is driving the increase in uptake of HPP. In our work with companies on product development initiatives, we have shown that it can offer interesting opportunities. Its effects on texture in some products (especially proteins) is worth exploring. For example, egg yolk becomes spreadable and highly textured, and low–fat mayonnaise can be made without changing its flavour.

Enhanced yields

HPP can be successfully applied to appropriate products, with benefits to quality and yield, and its use is increasing rapidly. In work we carried out for a seafood organisation, we found that extraction yields of raw meat from shellfish could be significantly increased. The enhanced yields were of major importance to the economics of the operation.

High pressure has been used in the processing of fruit juice for some time; we can carry out initial testing (i.e. proof of principle - 'does it work with your product?'), as well as advising on packaging choice and testing packaging performance, and undertaking both sensory and instrumental quality analysis and shelf–life testing."

It is important that companies choosing HPP are aware of the specific GMP issues surrounding its use. We recently published a Guideline to help with this – Guidelines on good manufacturing practice for high pressure processed foods (Guideline 67).

Contact: Craig Leadley
+44(0)1737 842059

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