The Library at AllNaturalFreshness.com is a tremendous resource for the HPP veteran and rookie alike. We receive a lot of great questions through our website. We thought we’d share the Top 10 Questions and Answers we get asked about HPP below. Are there any you would add to this list?
Q1.What is High Pressure Processing (HPP)?
A1: The easiest way to describe HPP is a reverse submarine that takes packaged food products to a water pressure 5X great than the deepest part of the ocean, holds that pressure for a specific period of time then releases. The extreme pressure inactivates all the bad pathogens in our food and maintains all the good vitamins and nutrients. No heat is used in this pasteurization method which is what typically destroys to good stuff in our food when pasteurizing.
Q2. What food products can be High Pressure Processed?
A2: In general food products that have water space and PH [HPP is not limited by Ph level but low acid food which Ph level is below 4.6 is] are all suitable for HPP, such as
- Ready-to-eat (RTE) meats
- Vegetables and fruits
- Juice, smoothies and fresh beverages
- Seafood like shell fish, fish, lobster, salmon etc.
- Deli salads and dips
- Dairy like cheese, yogurt etc.
- Meat like beef, pork, chicken etc.
Q3: How does HPP work?
A3: In the typical HPP process, the pre-packaged products are loaded into standard HPP baskets and and then loaded into a high pressure vessel. The vessel is sealed and filled water at low pressure. Then the intensifiers fill all the voids with water to transmit pressure through the package into the food itself. Pressure holds for a specific time, usually 3 to 5 minutes. The vessel is decompressed, releasing the pressure and the water that is drained and recirculated. The processed product is then unloaded.
Q4. How does HPP benefit consumers?
A4: High Pressure Processing is a non-thermal technology that inactivates microorganisms and harmful pathogens by using pressure that has minimal organoleptic effects in most foods with fresher taste, color, texture, or nutritional value. Additional benefits of HPP include:
- Extended shelf life ( 2 to 4 times longer than the same product without HPP, preserved at the same temperature)
- Effective elimination of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms
- Post packaging pasteurization eliminates any potential cross contamination
- Stronger tolerance to cold chain abuse
- Increasing the safety of food products to a large extent
- Greatly enhanced brand equity protection
Q5: Can I use my existing packaging for HPP?
A5: More times than not your existing package will not be rigid enough and the seals not strong enough to withstand the intense pressures of HPP. Products must contain enough moisture to transmit the pressure throughout, and as little air or headspace as possible;vacuum packed products are ideal. As long as the package can flex about 15% on any one surface such as bottles, jars, trays, it will withstand HPP compression. The package will not be damaged due to the equal, isostatic pressure on all sides of the package. ANF has partners who are experts in HPP packaging to ease you through the transition.
Q6: Are HPP products available in the market?
A6: Yes. HPP has been widely adopted by over 150 food companies in the world. The commercial products are available in the United States, European, and Asian retail markets. HPP food products can be found in the retail markets include guacamole, ready-to-eat meat, vegetables, juice, salsa, oysters etc. in US.
Q7: How are HPP processed foods stored?
A7: The HPP products are primarily distributed refrigerated. Low acid products due to preventing the growth of spores need refrigerated storage. Acidic food products do not need that, but refrigeration can preserve quality and provide for extended shelf life.
Q8: Will I have to make changes to my product if I want to HPP it?
A8: Most likely your product will need modifications so that it best survives HPP with the taste and texture that it has today. You see HPP will allow you to liberate your product of any preservatives you’ve used in the past to preserve it for delivery to consumers. ANF will help you through the positive reformulation process.
Q9: What’s the throughput per year?
A9: It’s predicted on the pressure and hold times required to the bacteria kill you want. Let’s say two 215-liter HPP machines operating under typical food processing conditions, a throughput of approximately 20 million pounds per year is not a problem. The high throughput is accomplished by larger vessel such as 350L, 420L or by using multiple vessels. As the increasing demand for HPP machine, capital cost and operation cost will continue to decrease. It allows more food manufacturers to benefit from HPP with longer shelf life, quality, and availability of value-added products.
Q10: What’s the cost of an HPP machine?
Q10: For the most popular machines being purchased today, you are going to spend between $1.75 Million and $2.4 Million approximately for the machine to get it to your door step. But the return on investment can be achieved in 2 – 3 years.
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