There is a huge demand for food that is fresh and unprocessed. However consumers are also demanding that such food is of the best possible quality. The food processing industry is undergoing huge changes, to try to make the sort of food that is wanted by consumers. These changes are also affecting the manufacturers of the equipment that they use, who are having to undergo some changes of their own. Here we look at how the companies that make the equipment are changing their techniques and machines, to cope with the changing face of the food industry.
Demand for premium food
According to Fortune Magazine in 2015 people began shunning the large food manufacturers, in favour of organic and fresh alternatives. The consumer thinking is that large scale food manufacture equals poorer quality food that is over-processed. Today’s consumer wants premium food that despite having been processed, still resembles the fresh ingredients that it is made from.
The appeal of premium food brands is clear. Real Business reported that Waitrose had launched a new brand, ‘1’ which is intended to cater for customers who want a premium food product. So how is food processing machinery changing to manufacture premium food?
What processes are being used
The key to retaining food in its original form during the manufacturing process is to use gentler handling throughout the entire process. The parts of the process that can be quite vigorous such as cooling, shaping and heating, are dealt with more sensitively. Food safety technologies such as pasteurisation and sterilisation are also changing with the introduction of High Pressure Processing, which is capable of maintaining ingredient integrity whilst ensuring product safety. The industry is also using more machines that are capable of mixing, while still leaving solid traces of the raw ingredients behind, such as fruit and vegetables. Food manufacturers could even invest in used food processing machines such as those available from Clarke-Fussells, to make this new technology more affordable.
It would seem therefore that the whole of the food industry, from the manufacturers right back to the people who manufacture the equipment they use, have the same aim. To provide premium, quality food that has been processed as little as possible in order to retain maximum taste and texture.