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Process and Stages of Food Product Development

Types of Food Processing and Safety

Food processing strives to change the character and qualities of agricultural raw materials to produce pleasant and nutritious foods, i.e. items that offer nutritional support to an organism when consumed. To accomplish this, food processing intentionally combines single unit processes, making specified modifications to material qualities sequentially until the material takes particular desirable traits. Material and energy fluxes in and out of each of the units may describe each unit functioning. The materials delivered into the unit operation can theoretically exist in any known physical states, such as solid, liquid, gas, or plasma, or mixtures of these states.

Food Processing and Safety


Plasma is a condition that is rarely employed in traditional food preparation and has just lately started to be used for that purpose. Similarly, all forms of energy can be utilized to cause beneficial property changes. However, some energy types, such as thermal and mechanical energies, are used more frequently in traditional food processing. Other forms of energy (electric, magnetic, radiation, or ionization) have recently been investigated for food preparation applications. Work is done, or heat is created due to this energy transfer, resulting in physical or chemical property changes or combinations thereof. These characteristics are critical because they affect the consumer's sensory experience, chemical and microbiological safety, and kinetic stability of the made food.


Phases in food processing


Primary process

The conversion of raw resources into food items is known as primary processing. Primary processing is exemplified by milling.

Secondary process

The conversion of components into edible products is known as secondary processing, and it entails mixing foods in a specific way to alter their qualities. Secondary processing may be seen in the baking of bread.

Tertiary process

The preparation of prepared convenience meals, such as canned soup or frozen dinners, is tertiary food processing.

 

Table 1. A look at how various energy is transferred in different food processing procedures [1].

Types of Food Processing and Safety


The advantages of food processing


Keeping food safe

One of the important reasons for food processing is to convert mixtures of raw materials into edible components that are both healthy and safe through a series of process activities. The term "safe" means that the consumer will not become unwell due to eating the food; there will be no immediate (acute) physically harmful consequences in another form. This was not always the case, and food-borne infections were frequent for most of human history, contributing considerably too early deaths. Processing to make foods safe for ingestion or to "preserve foods," that is, to postpone the transition of the food material into a hazardous condition, has progressed significantly in recent decades. While some preservation methods, such as natural fermentation, curing (salting), smoking, and drying/dehydration, had been known to humans for a long time, no one knew why or how they functioned. This was not always the case, and food-borne infections were frequent for most of human history, contributing considerably too early deaths. Processing to make foods safe for ingestion or to "preserve foods," that is, to postpone the transition of the food material into a hazardous condition, has progressed significantly in recent decades. While some preservation methods, such as natural fermentation, curing (salting), smoking, and drying/dehydration, had been known to humans for a long time, no one knew why or how they functioned.

Consumers demand a variety of food items that are both safe and healthy and cater to a variety of eating tastes. Food processing may now give an array of benefits and food safety, nutrition, and flavour. Food structure and design can influence digestion and nutrient absorption and be customised to the individual's needs, such as minimising calorie consumption. Food processing can boost the nutritional value of foods by increasing nutrient bioavailability or creating meals customised to specific dietary requirements. For example, encapsulating materials to preserve and provide functionality deeper down the gastrointestinal track necessitates proper food engineering and recipe formulation. The fortification of foods and beverages with particular nutrients (e.g., via fortification) is cost-effective to tackle micronutrient deficiencies. Demand for such goods will spur research across several scientific disciplines to better understand physiological-food connections in vivo.

Food processing also extends the shelf life of perishable goods, boosting distribution options and lowering reliance on seasonality. Fresh food storage losses are often higher than those connected with food processing, implying that processed foods might positively influence sustainability. Furthermore, food processing allows for a greater variety of foods and, as a result, more customer choices. As a result, food processing sophistication promotes customer convenience, expands nutritional options, and provides diverse sensory characteristics to match consumer demands and requirements. Unlike domestic food production, industrial food production is carefully regulated and monitored based on current scientific understanding.


Conclusion


Food science, nutrition science, and consumer science are dynamic fields that continuously develop new information. New scientific knowledge must be incorporated into rules and their enforcement. In an ideal world, advances in food technology would prevent the degradation of desired nutrients, reduce the formation of process pollutants, retain good quality features, and accomplish microorganism/pathogen reduction objectives all at the same time.


References

[1] Gert W. Meijer, Liisa Lähteenmäki, Richard H. Stadler & Jochen Weiss (2020): Issues surrounding consumer trust and acceptance of existing and emerging food processing technologies, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1718597.

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