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Column: Consumer Demand For Fresh Products Expands Role Of HPP

HPP column, Brad Key, Universal Pure
Brad Key

by Brad Key, Universal Pure

Consumers’ shopping and eating behavior is changing, with many spending more time shopping the perimeter of the store for fresh products. In line with this trend, the perimeter—which includes fresh meat, deli, produce, bakery, seafood and prepared foods—is reported to comprise up to 40 percent of a store’s footprint in some cases.

As demand for fresh food grows, more retailers are stocking their shelves with foods and beverages that are high pressure processed (HPP’d), a food processing method that enhances food safety, provides cleaner labels, and extends shelf life. The adoption of HPP by the beverage and food industry continues to climb at a double-digit pace. The global HPP food market is estimated to reach $27.4 billion by 2023 and will grow to $51.1 billion by 2027, according to Visiongain, a UK-based business intelligence company.

A recent Universal Pure survey found that a whopping 85 percent of retailers say their companies are affected by the fresh food demand, and 78 percent go so far as to say they’re favoring companies that produce fresh product options. Demand is so high that more than 60 percent of retailers say they’re stocking more refrigerated and fresh products, while 48 percent say they’re expanding their refrigerated section.

High Pressure Processing uses high pressure at cold temperatures to improve food safety. This helps ensure the quality, taste, texture and nutritional content of food products. The process significantly extends shelf life, too—a major benefit for retailers.

 

Consumers want fresh and healthy

There’s no doubt about it—consumers are busier than ever but want to put fresh foods on the table. One report found that 85 percent of Americans buy dinner ingredients the same night they’re preparing it, further underscoring the desire for fresh. Other reports have found that consumers want fresh, grab-and-go foods without sacrificing healthy ingredients. A recent food marketing report listed consumers’ top three needs in beverage product attributes as natural (62 percent), clean label (47 percent) and healthy (47 percent). This further bodes well for HPP foods, as they don’t require preservatives or additives.

Meats, cold salads, dips, salsa and beverages are the most popular foods now being HPP’d. Newer categories include baby food, cold soups and pet food.

 

Marketing HPP products

New activity to further market and promote these foods is underway. One advancement is the introduction of the Cold Pressure Council’s “High Pressure Certified” seal. In order to be certified, a third-party organization verifies that a food or beverage product has undergone the HPP process. Products from companies like Suja Juice and Evolution Fresh have the seal.

Education about HPP is on the rise, too. Industry events now include more sessions on food safety and HPP, and events and webinars dedicated to HPP are being introduced.

With healthy foods on the rise, fresh foods are here to stay and the category will continue to grow. More manufacturers are turning to HPP for their products, and more retailers are stocking their shelves with HPP foods and beverages.  We anticipate the double-digit growth of HPP adoption to continue. And that’s a good thing for consumers and retailers alike.

 

Brad Key is a retail business development executive at Universal Pure, a Villa Rica, Georgia-based provider of High Pressure Processing (HPP). Its six U.S. locations and 15 HPP machines in operation make it the largest service provider of HPP services in North America. Companies also outsource with Universal Pure for value-added services such as cold storage, kitting and assembly, bottling, pre-pricing, code dating and inventory control.

About the author

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Lorrie Griffith

An observer of the grocery industry since 1988. Away from her editor job, she's a wife and mother of two grown sons and thinks cooking is (usually) relaxing.

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