In a posting on the website NineSights, open innovation expert NineSigma says it is “representing a multi-billion dollar food manufacturer”.
It adds: “NineSigma’s client runs productive and cost-efficient operations for producing processed foods by importing vegetables that are cut into small pieces and frozen at the place of origin. Enzymes on vegetables gradually degrade qualities of vegetables, even if they are frozen. Hence, the enzymes have to be inactivated prior to freezing.
“Hot-water blanching has been commonly used due to its low cost of use, though food texture and taste are compromised to some extent.
“In order to substantially minimize the quality loss, however, alternative enzyme inactivation technologies would be required.”
Possible approaches might include pressure, electric fields, magnetic fields, ultrasound, or micro/nano bubbles
Any proposed solution must be effective for at least one fruit vegetable (e.g., bell peppers), leafy vegetable (e.g., cabbages, spinaches), or root crop (e.g., carrots, potatoes); must target vegetables that are pre-washed; and must not degrade food texture and taste, says NineSigma.
Meanwhile, its client is only interested in approaches that “can be operated, in principle, at a cost similar to hot-water blanching”, although it is willing to invest in new equipment.
Anticipated approaches might include solutions that use pressure, electric fields, magnetic fields, ultrasound, or micro/nano bubbles, it says. However, solutions “based on uses of detergent” are not of interest.
Responses are due by April 15, 2013.
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