Food entrepreneurs are feasting on growing demand for cold-pressed juices, creating a ready market for other start-ups willing to invest in high pressure processing (HPP) systems that are dedicated to copacking or private-label production.
Sales of premium fruit and vegetable juices topped $2.25 billion last year, according to research by Beverage Marketing, an increase of 58 percent since 2004. Much of the recent growth involves juices that have not undergone thermal pasteurization, and that usually requires HPP to meet FDA’s mandatory 5 log reduction requirements. A local success story in the Miami area involves Cold Pressed Raw, a start-up that quickly segued to tolling services.
Tatiana Peisach founded Cold Pressed Raw, and while the initial cost comparisons with other technologies were discouraging, she says a detailed analysis suggested HPP was competitive. The greater benefit, however, was in product quality. “People weren’t noticing the impact on the juice with HPP,” she says, but the difference became glaring when a competitor asked her to begin processing his products.
Peisach purchased a small HPP unit from Hiperbaric USA Inc. seven months ago. The press quickly became oversubscribed, and an order for Hiperbaric’s 525-liter system was placed. She expects the new machine, which has a throughput capacity 10 times greater than her first unit, to be installed and commissioned by September.
Peisach named her tolling service Green Plant Miami, which is based in the suburb of Medley, Fla. It is the first HPP tolling service in the state, she believes, and Green Plant has exclusive rights to the Hiperbaric process for much of Florida. When the new machine is running, her firm will have enough capacity to process 4 million bottles of cold-pressed juice per month.
“We expect most of our orders to come from the premium beverage incubator space,” Peisach says, though the firm is amenable to pasteurizing guacamole and other products. “Companies are lined up and ready to go with the new machine.”
Green Plant developed a “Cold Pressure Verified” logo to identify the products it processes and to verify that neither heat nor preservatives that can alter taste were used. The company also provides lab testing and product development assistance to clients.
Meat and other solid foods drove early use and acceptance of HPP pasteurization, but juices have come on strong in recent years. “Ten percent of HPP use is for juice,” says Peisach, “and we are 100 percent juice,” though she expects that to change with the new machine.
Green Plant joins a growing list of HPP tolling services. Click here for a listing.