New technology paves the way for healthier fruit and juice products

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 23rd April 2009

Technology developed by Food Science Australia (FSA) to improve the way fruit juices and other food products are pasteurised, is being used commercially in a new Melbourne food processing facility opened this morning.

The Director of FSA’s Innovative Foods Centre (IFC), Dr Kees Versteeg, reported that the technology developed by the IFC – called High Pressure Processing (HPP) – uses pressures of about 6000 times the average air pressure at sea level to pasteurise food products.

“The unique benefits of HPP are that it kills microbes such as yeasts, moulds and bacteria, and extends the shelf-life of chilled perishable products without adversely affecting the food’s freshness, flavour, colour, texture and nutritional value,” Dr Versteeg explained. “Normally processors would have to use preservatives or heat the product and this inevitably changes the taste and destroys some nutrients.”

Fruit juice innovation

“Several years ago we developed prototype juice and other fruit products using HPP and assessed them for quality and shelf-life. We took these out to the industry to see who’d be interested in using the process, Donny Boy Fresh Food Company embraced HPP and we worked with them to develop and commercialise their juice and fruit products,” Dr Versteeg said.

“It is exciting and rewarding to now see our extensive research and work in products on the supermarket shelves and being used as an ingredient in food service and industrial applications such as fruit for yoghurt.”

Donny Boy Managing Director Andrew Gibb believes the technology is crucial to his company’s success.

“Our company began life at Food Science Australia’s Innovative Foods Centre. We undertook all trials and first commercial production of our Preshafruit juices and fruits at FSA,” Mr Gibb advised.

Donny Boy also uses HPP to preserve other foods and is the first company in the world to supply HPP fruit to the dairy industry. They undertake contract HPP for food manufacturers such as Farm Pride who have achieved a 10 fold increase in the shelf life of the egg and mayonnaise sandwich fillings they supply to food service clients.

The company has now begun discussions with Simplot with a view to establishing a range of HPP products in the Australian Foodservice Market.

Opening the facility in Derrimut with Regional and Rural Development Minister Jacinta Allan, Mr Brumby said the facility was an exciting new innovation in the industry.

“This new processing facility is the first of its kind in Australia and has already created 20 direct full and part-time jobs, as well as supporting our local growers and orchards,” Mr Brumby stated.

Ms Allan added that the facility was a leading example of better business through innovation.

“Donny Boy’s High Pressure Processing Facility pasteurises juices cold, using a revolutionary technique that enables the juice to retain twice the Vitamin C and antioxidants of regular juice,” she advised. “This facility produces juice made from 100 per cent fruit with no added flavours, providing extra support for regional growers, and producing a quality product with huge market potential.”

Donny Boy has already begun exporting to Singapore and Hong Kong, with deals for export to the US, Japan and Canada in the offing.