Starburcks continues to “get it” more than any other restaurant brand.
They’re partnering with Dannon, the leading yogurt in the US, and Evolution Fresh, a company making its name for High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP) processing, to launch fruit smoothies in their stores. The potential certainly exists then to take these same products to retail.
One of the issues with fresh (as opposed to frozen or thawed products) is shelf life.
Even recent advances in Modified Atmosphere packaging (or MA packaging) have yielded a maximum shelf life of 21 days. MA packaging means food manufacturers suck out the oxygen in the container and replace it with inert nitrogen (or sometimes CO2) that inhibits oxidation and the growth of most bacteria. Three weeks’ shelf life might seem like a lot until you consider the lag time from production through distribution to sitting in your grocer’s chilled cases.
The current solution is called “slacking out.” The product is shipped frozen and then thawed at the final point of sale. But this method only works for foods that will then be heated or cooked. Fruits and vegetables that are frozen and then thawed out wilt and lose their appeal.
Enter HPP processing. Foods are subjected to high pressures (usually from water) which then inactivates bacteria and other pathogens. The process works best with fruits and other products high in acid, and because it doesn’t change the flavor like with high temperature pasteurization or cooking, is particularly well-suited to things like smoothies.
And because bacteria and other things that break down foods and cause spoilage are eliminated, HPP processing has long-term potential for retail processed foods. Will we see these Starbucks/Dannon smoothies in your local grocery soon?
The only inhibition to HPP’s acceptance is the high cost of HPP production lines.
Plan on stopping by our panel at the National Restaurant Show at Chicago’s McCormick Place Sunday, May 17th entitled “The Rise of Nontraditional Foodservice: Don’t Panic, Adapt!” Joining BSLG’s Bill Cross will be retail guru, Jimmy Matorin, whose restaurant industry breakfast on Saturday, May 16th is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Rounding out the panel will be Abbie Westra, Editor in Chief of Convenience Store Products.