High pressure and temperature (HPT) processing is a candidate technology to obtain food products with high quality and extended shelf life. This novel technology, which has been validated at small scale, has also shown potential to reduce energy and water consumption, operation costs and to improve the sustainability of both production process and the food chain. However, this promising technology is not currently implemented at industrial level due to several technical, legal and market barriers which have so far hindered its scale-up.
The overall objective of the HIPSTER project is to develop and demonstrate fit for use knowledge, tools and industrial equipments in order to effectively implement this milder processing technology in the food industry.
Specific objectives of HIPSTER include:
- Development of affordable equipment at industrial scale suitable for the implementation of high pressure and temperature (HPT) processing
- Definition of minimum process variables by means of the evaluation of microbiological risks for the main pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms of concern. A public database containing microbial kinetic parameters, determined under well-defined processing conditions will be generated. The database will include new knowledge and data already available.
- Verification and validation of the solutions in an industrial environment, including compliance with legal requirements, economic feasibility, and sustainability
HIPSTER will lead to benefits for food producers as they will profit from manufacturing higher quality products with an improvement in the conditions required for storage and an increase in process efficiency (less energy/water use is expected). The value-added food products to be produced will also open new markets e.g. food service and food transport sector (plane, train, boat cruises). Thereby, it will be possible to reach new markets worldwide extending the export radius. Producers of high pressure processing equipment will profit from a new business line.
The possibility of storing and displaying high quality foods at ambient temperature combined with longer shelf life will generate economic savings to food retailers by reducing the need for regular stocking. This will reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation and will ultimately reduce the cost of managing waste because of shelf-life end. Thus, benefits are expected in terms of environmental sustainability.
Consumers will benefit, not only from improved safety, but also from attractive, healthy and safe products in a more convenient format. These new types of foods cannot be produced using conventional thermal processing methods or current HPP.