Food companies have long been in the pursuit of extending the shelf life of their products. Traditionally, food products have been canned, heated, smoked, and preserved with salt and sugar.
Later, several methods were used to maximize a product’s shelf life, such as chilling, pasteurization, blanching, and waxing, to name a few. In modern times, products have been marketed with food additives and artificial preservatives. As Assemblies Unlimited explains, consumers today generally consider foods with lots of additives and preservatives, conserved in cans, or having undergone extensive processing as unhealthy options.
Shelf Extension Solutions
As people nowadays demand healthier options and clean-label ingredients, extending the shelf life of food has become a significant challenge. Demand for fresh and/or organic products has increased dramatically over the past few years.
Meeting current consumer expectations has become a challenge for food manufacturers as they have to maintain the quality of food products, look for new industry trends, and, at the same time, make sure that these last for more extended periods. In other words, they must focus on quality and durability at the same time.
Consequently, the food industry has come up with innovative ways to respond to the needs of consumers. Let’s have a look at some of these innovations:
Novel Packaging Solutions
1. Advanta’s Unique Skin Pack
Usually, most food companies that specialize in poultry products are only able to maximize the shelf life of what they sell by up to 50 percent. However, Advanta managed to keep poultry goods fresher for longer. It discovered a new way of extending the shelf life of poultry by up to 300 percent.
Though not a food company, but a global packaging supplier, Advanta came up with an unusual skin pack from a combination of a chicken-shaped foil tray and a film aimed at reducing food wastage. In the process, oxygen is eliminated by vacuum packing the product in the foil tray.
This method guarantees an increased shelf life of of up to 300 percent, making it an excellent option for use compared to MAP or standard modified atmosphere packaging.
2. StePac’s Resealable Lidding Film
Another interesting way of increasing shelf life was made by StePac. They have also managed to make food last longer by focusing on innovative packaging.
By partnering with Tadbik Ltd., the company came up with a resealable lidding film which helps for example, cherries stay fresh for up to 35 days.
In this method, a laminated film structure is used to seal trays containing fresh produce, which slows respiration, aging, and at the same time dramatically reduces humidity. The lid can also be repeatedly peeled back for reuse. Produce, in this context, refers to goods that have been grown or produced, especially by farming.
Next Generation Additives
1. Kemin’s NaturFORT RSGT
Kraft and Hellman use a chemical food additive called Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). They add small amounts to salad dressings.
Although an FDA-approved food additive, many food manufacturers are pressured to drop EDTA because chemical-sounding names tend to put off today’s consumers.
So Kemin, a global ingredient supplier, came up with a plant-based shelf life extension solution called NaturFORT RSGT as an excellent alternative to EDTA.
This ingredient is a combination of rosemary, spearmint, and green tea extracts, which showed successful results in extending the shelf life of salad dressings and sauces.
2. Kancor’s OxiKan CL
Kancor came up with a natural antioxidant that helps in extending the shelf life of fat-rich foods like mayonnaise, fish oil, and flavoring ingredients, to name a few. Mexican CL of Kancor is made from the extract of rosemary in a more refined form. It is colorless and flavorless, which means that the consumer cannot tell whether a food item has it. This antioxidant, unlike traditional preservatives, extends the shelf life of various foods naturally and healthily.
Lastly, Nestlé , which is the world’s largest food and beverage company, relied upon its shelf-stable and recyclable food packaging.
Although Nestlé provides shelf-stable products for consumers, it also reminds people that how they handle food products can affect how long they remain fit for human consumption.
Canned goods, for example, should be kept in a dry place with a moderately cool temperature. In this type of environment, not only does the food last longer, but the cans are also less likely to rust, which can cause leaks and eventually food spoilage.
Interesting related article: “What is Quality?“