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ready to eat meals

Rev Up Your Ready-To-Eat Meals with HPP

In our frenzied world, we often find ourselves short on time when it comes to preparing meals. Ready-To-Eat (RTE) meals have been a boon to those of us on the go. Sales of these convenience foods are growing by leaps and bounds as are the variety of meals available to consumers. Sales of ready-to-eat meals are expected to reach $143 billion by 2023.

Unfortunately, we often have to choose between what’s convenient and what’s good for us. Many prepared-ahead foods are loaded with sodium and chemical preservatives and, in too many cases, just aren’t tasty. Until high pressure processing (HPP) came along.

With HPP, pathogens are inactivated, increasing food safety and extending shelf life

HPP allows ready-to-eat meals producers make products that retain their natural taste and nutritional value, which can be compromised by other food safety methods like heat pasteurization.

With HPP, pathogens are inactivated, increasing food safety and extending shelf life by exposing the ready-to-eat meals to high pressure in cold water. Since no heat is introduced, flavor, texture and nutrients are preserved. And with HPP, sodium levels, commonly high in prepared ready-to-eat meals, can be reduced, making for a healthier product.

Using HPP, meals are processed in the final consumer package, eliminating the potential for recontamination. Most existing plastic food packages are already suitable for HPP, including vacuum and gas-flushed. The loading and unloading process can be fully automated, integrated with conventional equipment and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) programs while allowing for rapid changeover between product line variations in food type, package size, and format. This helps keep the production line rolling smoothly and efficiently.

HPP may be the biggest thing to happen to the convenience meal since the TV dinner. Food producers can bring tasty, nutritional products with cleaner labels and a longer shelf life to market and consumers get the natural and safe meals they’re looking for.