Wageningen Food & Biobased Research invites partners from the food industry to participate in a multi-partner consortium project aiming to develop clean label preservation strategies.
With the consumer demand for clean labels, milder processed and healthier foods, microbial food spoilage and safety is an huge challenge for food producing companies. At the same time, food losses are a major concern worldwide and microbial spoilage plays an important role in these losses. Traditional approaches used to control microbial growth in food, such as stringent processing and the use of artificial ingredients, do not meet current consumer demands for natural and minimally processed foods. Reduction of conventional preservation hurdles and removal of artificial preservatives leads in many cases mainly to a shorter shelf life due to faster loss of quality, but in case of pathogens may even lead to public health concerns. Many foods do not rely on a single controlling factor but rather use combined preservation methods to assure safety and shelf life. Meeting these clean label demands requires novel solutions using natural ingredients in combination with milder preservation strategies.
Development of clean label preservation solutions
The aim of the project is to develop optimal microbial preservation strategies combining the use of natural anti-microbial compounds with mild processing (HPP, PEF, mild heat) and growth inhibiting factors (pH, aw, temperature). This to allow for microbiologically safe and stable food products of the highest organoleptic quality possible. The combined use of natural anti-microbial ingredients with novel mild preservation methods for synergistic combinations will allow for the best application of preservation methods identification of hitherto unknown solutions, thus ensuring optimal organoleptic properties in microbiologically safe or stable food products. Moreover, the approach will not only target single microorganisms, but also multi-strain/multi-species models of relevant microorganisms (spoilage organisms as well as pathogens) in realistic food matrices to allow for broad microbiologically safe products. The development of predictive models to describe and predict responses of micro-organisms to single and combined hurdles will enable the partners to accelerate their developments adequate preservation strategies.
Search for synergy
The optimal solutions are expected to be a combination of the effect of natural ingredients or extracts and the new preservation techniques. The combined power of these approaches will be screened for synergistic effects to come up with the most effective solutions against (a) panel(s) of relevant microorganisms (spoilage and/or pathogenic).
Potential solutions which will be considered are:
- The use of natural ingredients, ferments or extracts
- Application of mild preservation technologies
- Natural ingredients inhibiting spores outgrowth
- Commonly used growth inhibiting factors
Within this project we will use these different concepts to provide the basis for developing a novel approach for providing anti-microbial solutions.