FOOD PRESERVATION TECHNIQUES22/03/2021
The COVID‐19 pandemic significantly disrupted the food supply chain: think of all the food normally going to restaurants that had to be diverted to other outlets to avoid its waste or all those gaps in the supermarket shelves due to the absence of common items whose availability has always been taken for granted. In this context, having a system in place that allowed distributors to extend the shelf life of foods proved to be essential: it was not just about being able to meet the unforeseeable peaks and falls in demand but also – and above all – about preserving the health of billions of consumers worldwide.
All the new technologies we had already implemented – that control the deterioration of food while preserving the properties associated with quality and health benefits – helped us stay strong during this unexpected, bizarre time. By combining the study and understanding of food science with an in-depth analysis of innovative technologies, we have always opted for food preservation techniques that could fit within the framework of sustainable and healthy practices.
As food safety is the main priority, incorporating innovation and sustainability in every step of our supply chain – from production to distribution via storage and preservation – led us to adopt different methods according to the diverse types of food we process. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and HACCP protocols taught us to favour all the most innovative techniques that contribute to keep pathogens under strict control and reduce food spoilage. Depending on the level of microbial destruction required, a pasteurization or a sterilization process may be necessary: in their conventional application though, these thermal food preservation methods can significantly impact on the retention of nutritional values and the preservation of the actual colour and shape of the original raw material. Considering that these are the two characteristics that consumers nowadays appreciate and find reassuring, we are very interested in seeing how these techniques will improve thanks to the progress of technology. As for the non-thermal food preservation, freeze drying has produced excellent results for us and so has done IQF (Individual Quick Freezing), the most recent development in freezing technology which we adopted many years ago. In order to provide optimal solutions to our clients worldwide, we are also considering HPP (high pressure processing) and active packaging techniques like MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging) that contribute to keeping food quality at its best during storage.
Food preservation is no longer as simple as it was in the past, it has become an interdisciplinary science that involves all the players in the ‘farm to fork’ supply chain: it requires knowledge and consciousness as each step of the process – harvesting, handling, processing, packaging, storage and distribution – may easily affect the characteristics of food. Our integrated approach, based also on the constant and open dialogue with both our suppliers and clients, allow us to offer top-of-the-range Italian products all over the world, overcoming what used to be the impossible combination between long-distance shipments and short shelf life and the old prejudice about frozen food being perceived as low quality.