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Q&A: High Pressure Processing Solutions

Food Manufacturing spoke with Greg Zaja of APC about the latest HPP technologies available for food processors.

The American Pasteurization Company (APC) has partnered with The National Food Lab (The NFL) to offer food and beverage companies high pressure processing (HPP) solutions. Food Manufacturing spoke with Greg Zaja of APC about the latest HPP technologies available for food processors.

Q: What is the HPP partnership between APC and The NFL, and how can it benefit food companies?

A: The APC in partnership with The NFL now offers companies a complete HPP solution, from testing and validation through implementation of the processing technique, resulting in a more natural product and faster time-to-market. Managed by a team of experts in the application of HPP technology, APC is the first U.S. company to offer HPP on a commercial tolling basis to the food manufacturing industry.

Q: Are there any trends you’re noticing regarding HPP technology?

A: Manufacturers are now being asked to produce their food items without using preservatives. In order to develop a “clean label” product that is safe and has an acceptable shelf life, food companies must use a post lethality treatment, such as HPP. With our partnership with The NFL, we’re able to provide companies with full services for testing, including challenge studies, shelf-life studies, product development and formulation work, focus groups and taste panels, as well as HPP implementation, to allow manufacturers to develop such a product that meets growing consumer demands.

Q: What types of foods can benefit the most from HPP?

A: HPP can be used to process both liquid and solid foods. Foods with a high acid content are particularly good candidates for HPP technology. Examples would include cooked ready-to-eat meats, guacamole, salsa, hummus, juice and raw ground turkey. Food products containing entrapped air, such as marshmallows, would be crushed under high pressure treatment, and dry solids do not have sufficient moisture to make HPP effective for microbial destruction.

Q: How does a food company go about preparing a product to be HPP-ready, and how can The NFL and APC help with this process?

A: The first step is identifying the company’s reasons for using HPP. Is its objective to increase shelf life or overall food safety? In most cases, it is a combination of both. Each product has its very own specification, so product formulas differ. Secondly, testing the company’s package to ensure it has the necessary requirements for the process is important. At APC, we have the ability to assist with packaging requirements, and The NFL has a full team of experts that can perform shelf studies, challenge studies, sensory services and product development. Through the partnerships of the two organizations, the processes of testing and implementation will be streamlined, speeding time-to-market.

Q: What considerations should a company make before adding an HPP product line?

A: Companies should consider the added value and benefits HPP has to offer, such as shelf life extension and brand equity protection. Manufacturers can offer clean label products while distributors, food service and retailers position these items as premium products. Additionally, consumers enjoy quality products.

Interview by Lindsey Coblentz