Packaging / Food Safety

HPP Seems A Natural Fit for Natural Foods

High-Pressure Processing allows manufacturers of organic food and beverage products to keep the products safe and healthy.

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Owners of high-pressure processing (HPP) equipment often use it to treat products for companies other than their own, either full-time or as a sideline. Many of these products are marketed as organic or natural, which we talk about more in Are Contract Manufacturing and Organic, Natural Products Made for Each Other?

Stay Fresh Foods uses HPP equipment supplied by JBT/Avure Technologies for its own branded beverages and, as a contract processor, for meat, salsa, pet food and other products. Managing partner Amy Lawless acknowledges that organic beverages could be hot-filled, but says HPP yields a better product.

“You get a different taste profile and you get some additional health benefits when you use HPP over some of the more traditional pasteurization methods,” Lawless says. “You’re not heating the product, so you’re not destroying any of the nutrients or vitamins in the beverage.”

HPP goes well with organic and natural processing, its advocates say, because, like thermal treatment, it physically eliminates microorganisms within a package. (HPP works by literally squeezing microorganisms to death by applying pressure through water in which a package is immersed.)

“Our technology, because of the way it pasteurizes without heat, allows for products to not require preservatives added to them. So typically, the majority of products run through the HPP process are all-natural and clean label,” says Lisa Wessels, JBT/Avure’s chief marketing officer.

HPP is a technology unfamiliar to most consumers, but Roberto Peregrina, director of Hiperbaric USA, says that it has a logical appeal to consumers of organic and natural products.

“We think most consumers today are looking for better-for-you foods with fewer to no preservatives,” Peregrina says. “Consumers of organic and natural products might be particularly more accepting of HPP because they intentionally look for food that is minimally processed with ingredients they know.”