Growing consumer demand for clean-label products is creating new food safety challenges. Consumers want less intensively processed ingredients and artificial preservatives in their food products, without compromising on shelf life. Scientists from Wageningen Food & Biobased Research use mild preservation techniques to offer integrated solutions to issues related to food safety, durability, quality and the clean-label concept.
Clean label and mild preservation
Artificial preservatives and intensive food treatment are applied because they prevent the growth of microorganisms and deactivate enzymes. This gives food products a longer shelf life while leading to minimal quality loss – for instance, the taste, texture and nutritional values remain intact for longer. The consumer need for clean labels is motivating food companies to look for new preservatives with natural ingredients and milder forms of processing. This will enable them to meet consumer demands while continuing to guarantee food safety and durability.
The added value of pilot facilities
Our studies are based on years of experience in food microbiology, process development, expertise & facilities in the field of fermentation, understanding of a wide range of organisms (pathogens and spoilage agents), and effective screening tools. These can be used to help food companies quickly test a wide range of process variables in combination with natural preservatives. In this context, we look for synergistic effects of combinations of hurdles. Based on these results, we select the best possible compositions and process requirements for the highest product quality and maximum shelf life. We also have the unique option to apply ultra-high-pressure (UHD) and pulsing electric fields (PEF) treatments to food.
Fresh, cold pressed juices
Hoogesteger is a leading supplier of fresh, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices. The company joined forces with Wageningen scientists to develop a mild preservation process based on PEF, optimising the shelf life of products without compromising on quality. This considerably expanded Hoogesteger’s logistical scope, allowing the company to increase its sales and turnover. Synergistic ingredients and process adjustments for a longer shelf life can improve the business case for products such as juices, soups, sauces, meat products and pet food.
Synergy for shelf-life
If you are interested in how we might be of service please get in touch for an exploratory conversation. We would be happy to consider together the best sustainability strategy for your situation and offer a suitable follow-up – anything from a small advisory process to a complete clean-label preservation strategy.