Food processing is defined as a combination of methods that are used to produce foods like meats, vegetables, fruits, and more. This includes not only factors pertaining to the equipment needed in food production, but also energy efficiency, and more.
“A lot of people don’t realize just what a technology-driven industry food manufacturing actually is. When it comes to food processing, various techniques are employed to assist with goals like canning, dehydration, irradiation, and freezing, just to name a few” says Matt Frauenshuh.
While these technologies have certainly helped to change our lives in immeasurable ways, they also have their own set of potential downsides, too. The key to leveraging food processing technologies effectively involves understanding as much about the situation as possible to enjoy as many of the benefits with as few of the potential disadvantages as you can.
Increasing Your Volume
By far, the biggest advantage that modern-day food processing technologies have brought with them has to do with the volume of products that they’re capable of producing. Now, it’s easy to produce essential food items on a mass scale, getting quality products into the hands of the people who need them the most with ease.
A Potential Drawback: The Quality of Processed Food
One drawback to this part of the process, however, has to do with the overall quality of what is being produced. That’s not to say that there is anything inherently wrong or even dangerous with processed foods. Far from it. It’s just that some have argued that modern food processing technologies eliminate many of the nutrients that are found in fresh foods, to begin with. This is simply baked into food processing by its nature. Not only that but depending on the provider, you may also be adding things like preservatives into food which can diminish the overall health properties of items as well.
The Benefits of Preservation
Of course, there are two sides to every coin and that is very true when it comes to food processing and things like preservatives. The food processing process can help dramatically extend the lifespan of many of the products that people enjoy. Consumers can store foods for longer periods of time without worrying about them going bad, which also encourages them to purchase more when they’re able to as well. None of this would be possible without food processing technologies and those aforementioned preservatives, among other factors.
This type of food processing has also led to major benefits when it comes to not just the volume of food that is being produced, but the variety as well. In an era before things like food processing and preservatives, people were limited in terms of choice. The vast majority of what they could consume was produced locally due to the understandably short lifespan of the items. Thanks to food processing advancements in terms of things like preservation and packaging, food can now be shipped easily all over the world. This has dramatically expanded the number of options that people have whenever they make a trip down to the grocery store.
Additional Effort Will Be Required
There are ways that food manufacturers can combat these perceived issues, but they do require a bit of additional work. Best practices must be enacted at the organizational level to eliminate the risk of food contamination as much as possible. Preserving the health properties of food items should also be a top priority.
Food processing strategies also need to be created in a way that works to eliminate disadvantages like those outlined above. When it comes to long-term storage, for example, it must be understood that certain vitamins and nutrients may be lost during various processing steps. Because of that, additional measures must be taken – like fortifying fruits and vegetables with things like vitamin B12. This is not a naturally occurring vitamin in plants, but doing so will help counteract some of the natural properties that may have been lost as a result of food processing. The same types of measures can be taken with drinks, which are often fortified with calcium.
Depending on exactly what is being processed, advanced techniques like controlled atmosphere storage may need to be employed. This is a specific type of storage room where all properties – from the temperature to the humidity to the amount of oxygen – can be carefully regulated through technology. This too goes a long way towards preserving not only the quality of processed food products but their overall safety as well.
In the End
It’s safe to say that food processing technologies have brought with them a myriad of different advantages for both businesses and consumers alike. As is true with most things, however, it is not a process without its potential drawbacks. Only by fully understanding both the pros and the cons will you be able to make the best possible decisions given the moment and what you’re working with.
About Matt Frauenshuh
As Chief Executive Office for Fourteen Foods and Double Seven Development, Matt Frauenshuh has led his family’s business to become the largest Dairy Queen franchisee in the U.S. Fourteen Foods currently owns and operates over 240 DQ Grill & Chill Restaurants in 13 states. He leads the company modeling the core values of faith and family. Matt has sat on the boards of the National Prayer Breakfast CEO Panel and United Heroes League.
Matt has a bachelor’s degree in business economics from St. Olaf College. He received his MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Matt is on the national board for The Salvation Army.
Leave a Reply