Extension of product shelf–life through super chilling
The term ‘superchill’ is used to define the temperature at which a product starts to freeze, generally around –2°C. At this temperature, some of the product is ice and some contains liquid water. This partial freezing dramatically reduces the rate of appearance of microbiological and chemical spoilage defects, and allows a long shelf life to be achieved compared to the conventionally chilled product (>3°C to 8°C).
The main findings from a DEFRA – LINK funded research project into storage of food at ‘superchill’ temperatures were that some foods can be stored at approximately –2°C for an extended period of time before being released into the chill chain, with minimal impact on either microbiological or sensory shelf life. The range of products to be tested in this project is based on those that indicated the greatest extension of shelf life in the DEFRA project, but extending that range to give manufacturers/retailers clear evidence of products that would gain most benefit from use of superchilling, and what that benefit would be in terms of life extension The project will also examine the use of superchilling as a single hurdle in a multiple hurdles system, in order to establish if longer life extensions could be obtained within such systems.