Food processing in its earliest form may already started about 1.9 million years ago when our ancestors used fire to prepare their food. Scientific progress in the 18th and 19th century found their application in the different stages of food production, storage and distribution.
Well known examples are sterilization and pasteurization. These conventional preservation technologies use heat to reduce the number of bacteria to make the food safe and extend the shelf life. However, heating the food at high temperatures does also affect the texture, taste and will change the nutritional composition by destructing bioactive compounds and vitamins. These conventional processing technologies also use lots of energy and water.
New processing technologies have been developed to improve the preservation of foods. These novel technologies can maintain a more “fresh” taste, decrease the destruction of healthy components, can lead to desired textural changes, extend the shelf life of products and finally lower the use of energy and water. There are many new processing technologies. To cover them all would take too much of your time. Therefore, we highlight some of the technologies that are currently offering opportunities.
For an overview of all novel mild processing technologies with information on how the technology works, the benefits and obstacles of each technology, see our factsheet on mild processing.
Novel food technologies will play an important role in supplying the growing and changing world population with high quality, healthy and sustainable foods. In this development, the consumer plays an important role in accepting food products. It is essential to gain consumer trust. Not everything that is possible by technology will be accepted by consumer. You need to get the consumer along when adopting new technologies. As a producer, you should explain what you are doing. Make your production appear positive and sympathetic. So, interaction with consumers is key.
[This article is a part of our daily series ‘Future trends’]