- Processed foods are notorious for being less healthy than their fresh and organic counterparts, but an emerging processing method, high-pressure processing, aims to change that.
- Instead of using heat to kill bacteria, which also lowers the food quality, manufacturers can use high-pressure processing to maintain the foods' nutrient levels while ensuring chemicals don't get into the food.
- The manufacturer of the athletes' coffee drink Sunniva, recently picked up by Whole Foods, uses high-pressure processing. This method, the company told WBAL-TV, has kept the product natural while increasing the shelf-life from just under a month to four to six months.
While currently there are only about 114 high-pressure processing machines in the world, if this technology is adopted, it could have enormous implications for the mammoth global processed foods industry, which is set to exceed $3 trillion in value by 2020.
Right now, many processed foods companies are losing the battle to what consumers deem to be healthier foods with fewer chemical additives, and sales continue to decline. While changing recipes is one way to remove certain artificial ingredients, such as what Kellogg proposed for its cereals and snack bars earlier this week, but that would still leave preservatives, which consumers say they avoid.
Another viable method could eventually be high-pressure processing with some machines producing around 10 million pounds of food in a year.