Pre-sliced apples for convenience
Consumers also want food to retain its natural goodness and prefer fruit and vegetable products with few or no additives.
The International Fresh-cut Produce Association (IFPA) estimates that sales of fresh-cut produce have more than doubled from US$5 billion in 1994. Changes in lifestyle and work habits mean that consumers are willing to pay more for prepared foods, and children in particular are targets for pre-prepared products, for inclusion in school lunches and as grab-and-go snacks.
The patented Fresh Appeal technology uses multiple steps to slice and package apples and other fruits, retaining nutritional content, taste, visual quality and texture while securing food safety. The proprietary process uses UV light to disinfect the apple slices and a short hot water treatment followed by antioxidant dip to prevent browning while also maximising the antioxidant content of the fruit.
THE FUTURE OF FRESH APPEAL
More than 20% of fresh-cut sliced apples in the US market are now processed using Fresh Appeal technology, which is licensed to food processors supplying supermarkets, quick service restaurants (QSRs), airlines and school lunch programmes. Royalties from licensing of the technology support further research and technology development, and product specific protocols are being developed and validated for a number of different fruit types, including blueberries, strawberries and grapes. It is estimated that by 2017 the company will see a fifty-fold increase in the volume of fruit processed using the Fresh Appeal technology.
Development of the Fresh Appeal technology was funded through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Fresh Appeal Ltd. Additional studies are currently funded through Fresh Appeal Ltd with support from Callaghan Innovation and Plant & Food Research.
Slicing and packaging apples to meet consumer preferences
Consumers are increasingly purchasing fruits and vegetables that are preprepared, meeting demands for both healthy foods and convenience.