'Game changing' high pressure processing system launched

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

A game changing high pressure processing (HPP) system makes improved food safety technology more affordable and responds to the growing trend for preservative-free products, said manufacturer Avure Technologies.

The US-based company said its new QFP 100-Liter 600 HPP extends shelf life, eliminates the need for preservatives such as sodium and offers the opportunity to develop new food applications.

HPP is a post packaging lethality treatment that eradicates food pathogens and spoilage organism in products as varied as ready-to-eat meats, soups, wet salads, seafood and fruit smoothies. Products are loaded into the machine, submerged in water and them subjected to a maximum pressure of 600MPa (87,000 psi) at temperatures reaching 50°C. The company said that because it is not a heat treatment, there are “limited effects on taste texture and nutritional properties”.

Small and medium-sized processors

With its smaller 6.4m total footprint and €730,000 price tag, the system has been designed for small/medium volume or seasonal processors. The system is being launched globally to fill a gap in Avure’s range that currently includes a 35-litre machine at one end of the scale and the 215 and 350-liter systems at the other.

“This is a game changing system that allows smaller or medium-sized processors to access advanced food safety technology, while also being able to plug into the mounting demand for foods that don’t contain additives or preservatives,”​ Avure's vice president of global marketing Glenn Hewson told FoodProductionDaily.com.

He added that the 100-liter system had been designed to maximise throughput – with production rates reaching 28,000 pounds (12,900kg) over a 20-hour period. This is due to the design of the 12.1 inch (308mm) diameter vessel into which product is loaded. This accommodates various shaped packages, including bottles and cups and means the equipment can process up to 70kg in one go. It operates at 9.2 cycles per hour, with holding times varying between products - from 45 seconds for juice to up to three minutes for meat.

The primary key food sectors for HPP are ready-to-eat whole muscle and sliced meats, seafood, fresh-cut fruits and juices, as well as deli salads, condiments, dips, soups, salsas, and sauces. In the United States, only five percent of all RTE meat undergoes HPP treatment, representing a huge opportunity for growth, said Avure. The deli salad segment is another sector with potential for strong growth.

“Currently, premium salads such as pastas with proteins that are made without preservatives have an average shelf-life of just four to eight days,”​ said company CEO Pat Adams. HPP treatment can extend that to 30 to 50 days, producing a product with a clean label for which consumers are willing to pay a premium price.”

Return on investment

Hewson said that cost of the treatment is product dependent - with an average of around $0.06 cents per pound ($0.13 per kg). The HPP expense is often partially mitigated by the corresponding reduction in the cost of additives. For meat, the cost of chemical preservatives can range from $0.4-8 cents per pound, he added. Return on investment could be realised in as little as two or three years, said the company.

Avure said the HPP can serve as a process enhancement, with tenderising and marinating raw meat or fish products post packing as part of a shelf life and food safety programme. It can also perform the shucking function on seafood lines- improving yields and saving labour.

The company said the system is ideally suited for the European market where product specialisation is more common than elsewhere – but added it would also be marketing the product in Asia and Latin America.

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