HPP shows 'greatest promise' among modern beverage processing techniques: Study

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High pressure processing (HPP) may offer the “greatest promise” for delivering on consumer demands for safety and nutrition in fruit juice and other food and beverage products, US scientists believe.

In their recent study, High Pressure Processing, Strawberry Beverages, and Composition of Bioactives, scientists from the Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute for Food Safety and Health weighed up the pros and cons of HPP when compared with long-standing thermal treatments.

While effective in killing bacteria, thermally processing fruit into juice concentrate can impact flavor and color, and “significantly destroy heat-liable nutrients such as certain vitamins or bioactive phytochemicals," said the study.

HPP - the processing of food under high pressure to inactivate certain microorganisms and enzymes - meanwhile results in the retention of higher levels of health-promoting bioactives while ensuring product safety.

Fruits and vegetables contain a varied composition of bioactive compounds. Many of these fall into a category of compounds known as polyphenols. Strawberries contain “appreciable amounts” of essential nutrients as well as non-essential bioactive polyphenols, such as flavanols, anthocyanins, and ellagitannins, according to the Institute for Food Safety and Health study. 

“HPP could be an effective processing method for retaining health promoting compounds such as anthocyanins and other polyphenolic compounds," said the study.

"In contrast to losses of bioactive composition in fruit juices due to thermal processing, HPP offers the benefit of retaining the nutritive value in juices without compromising food safety.”

With consumer demand regarding product safety and nutritional heightened, HPP offers food and beverage manufacturers a significant alternative to thermal processing. 

“At a time when consumers are more informed and have greater appreciation for nutrition and the impact of diet on health and quality of life, they are demanding foods and beverages that are fresher, have higher nutrient content, are more natural, additive-free, and minimally processed. Alternative food processing strategies and novel technologies are emerging and are under broad development to meet consumer demands," said the study.

“Food processing strategies continue to evolve and improve our access to safe, convenient foods. Among the newest technologies, HPP may offer the greatest promise in the early twenty-first century for delivering on consumer demands of health and safety," it continued.

Source: Academic Press http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-404699-3.00075-5
Title: High Pressure Processing, Strawberry Beverages, and Composition of Bioactives
Authors: Ravi Kiran Tadapaneni, Indika Edirisinghe, Britt Burton-Freeman.

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