Food technology

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The food technology room at Marling School in Stroud, Gloucestershire

Food technology is a branch of food science which deals with the actual production processes to make foods.

Early history of food technology

Research in the field now known as food technology has been conducted for decades. Nicolas Appert’s development in 1810 of the canning process was a decisive event. The process wasn’t called canning then and Appert did not really know the principle on which his process worked, but canning has had a major impact on food preservation techniques.

Louis Pasteur's research on the spoilage of wine and his description of how to avoid spoilage in 1864 was an early attempt to put food technology on a scientific basis. Besides research into wine spoilage, Pasteur did research on the production of alcohol, vinegar, wines and beer, and the souring of milk. He developed pasteurization—the process of heating milk and milk products to destroy food spoilage and disease-producing organisms. In his research into food technology, Pasteur became the pioneer into bacteriology and of modern preventive medicine.

Developments in food technology

Several companies in the food industry have played a role in the development of food technology. These developments have contributed greatly to the food supply and have changed our world. Some of these developments are:

  • Instantized Milk Powder - D.D. Peebles (U.S. patent 2,835,586) developed the first instant milk powder, which has become the basis for a variety of new products that are rehydratable in ld water or milk. This process increases the surface area of the powdered product by partially rehydrating spray-dried milk powder.
  • Freeze-drying - The first application of freeze drying was most likely in the pharmaceutical industry; however, a successful large-scale industrial application of the process was the development of continuous freeze drying of coffee.
  • High-Temperature Short Time Processing - These processes for the most part are characterized by rapid heating and cooling, holding for a short time at a relatively high temperature and filling aseptically into sterile containers.
  • Decaffeination of Coffee and Tea - Decaffeinated coffee and tea was first developed on a commercial basis in Europe around 1900. The process is described in U.S. patent 897,763. Green coffee beans are treated with steam or water to around 20% moisture. The added water and heat separate the caffeine from the bean to its surface. Solvents are then used to remove the caffeine from the beans. New non-organic solvent techniques have been developed for the decaffeination of coffee and tea. Supercritical carbon dioxide is one of these new solvents. U.S. patent 4,820,537 was issued to General Foods Corp. for a decaffeination process.

Process optimization - Food Technology now allows production of foods to be more efficient, Oil saving technologies are now available on different forms. Production methods and methodology have also become increasingly sophisticated.

Consumer acceptance of food technology

In the past, consumer attitude towards food technologies was not common talk and was not important in food development. Nowadays the food chain is long and complicated, foods and food technologies are diverse, consequently the consumers are uncertain about the food quality and safety and they can orientate with difficulty. That is why consumer acceptance of food technologies is an important question. However, in these days acceptance of food products very often depends on potential benefits and risks associated with the food. This also includes the technology the food is processed with. Attributes like “uncertain”, “unknown” or “unfamiliar” are associated with consumers’ risk perception and consumer very likely will reject products linked to these attributes. Especially innovative food processing technologies are connected to these characteristics and are perceived as risky by consumers 1

Acceptance of the different food technologies is very different. Whereas pasteurisation is well recognised, high presseure treatment or even microwaves are perceived as risky very often. In studies done within Hightech Europe project, it was found that traditional technologies were well accepted in contrast to innovative technologies.2

Consumers form their attitude towards innovative food technologies by three main factors mechanisms. First, knowledge or beliefs about risks and benefits which are correlated with the technology. Second, attitudes are based on their own experience and third, based on higher order values and beliefs.3

Acceptance of innovative technologies can be improved by providing non-emotional and consice information about these new technological processes methods. According to a study made by HighTech project also written information seems to have higher impact than audio-visual information on the consumer in case of sensory acceptance of products processed with innovative food technologies.4

Publications

See also

Notes and references

  • Hans-Jürgen Bässler und Frank Lehmann : Containment Technology: Progress in the Pharmaceutical and Food Processing Industry. Springer, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3642392917
  1. ^ Ueland Ö, G. H., Holm, F., Kalogeras, N., Leino, O., Luteijn, J., Magnusson, S.(2011). State of the art in benefit-risk analysis: Consumer perception. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 52(1)
  2. ^ "Documents". Hightecheurope.eu. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  3. ^ Olsen, N. V., Grunert, K.G., & Anne-Mette, S. (2010). Consumer acceptance of high-pressure processing and pulsed-electric field: a review. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 21(446-472)
  4. ^ "Documents". Hightecheurope.eu. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 







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