Challenges in Implementing Food Processing Technologies
From eras where food was sun dried and smoked to modern ways of food processing it can be agreed upon that the industry has come a long way. With the advancement of technology there are numerous viable food processing technologies that are coming up and are highly competitive. With all these up and coming food processing technologies the implementation of the same proves difficult.
In the implementation of new and improved food processing technologies there are a number of challenges that may be faced. These include;
Low consumer acceptance and rejection
This challenge is majorly affected by the consumers’ preferences, attitudes and cultural beliefs. How consumers relate to a certain food processing techniques determines whether they will readily accept it or reject it altogether. The implementation of new food processing technologies should consider consumer preferences at all times.
Lack of sufficient knowledge and information
Consumers need to be supplied with enough knowledge on the various technologies that are being introduced to them. Most food technologies do not provide the needed information and this leads to low adoption by the consumers. Consumers in their search for knowledge and information regarding the same may come across biased information that will further discourage them from adopting the new food processing technologies.
The food processing industry requires appropriate strategies to ensure that the implementations of their food technologies are readily adopted by the consumers. The problem is not in inventing new food processing technologies but in implementing them to the daily use of the consumers. The following are some of the strategies;
Food control and safety
The main aim of food processing technologies is in ensuring that food is able to be preserved for longer periods. Therefore, the safety of the food should be a major priority. The food processing technologies to be implemented should focus on ensuring that the food is in perfect conditions for eating. The i3-Food team, which was implemented by the EU, had to look at the various ways the new innovative technologies would save on energy and would ensure food safety. The i3-Food team came up with the Pulsed electric field preservation (PEF-P) for liquid products. They also came up with high-pressure thermal sterilization (HPTS) for ready-made meals and low shear extrusion (LS-extrusion) for cold foods.
The implementation of these food processing technologies has to be tailored in a way that it offers the consumer safe to eat foods and drinks. The food processing techniques should aim to increase the nutrient value of the foods and not take the nutrients away from the foods.
Sufficient research into the market and products
The food processing industry is closely tied in with the needs of the people that use them. Implementation of new and improved food processing technologies, therefore, depends on the ability of the product to meet those needs. Before invention of a new product the food processing industries should carry out research on their target market. This will give them knowledge about their consumers and how to best implement their food processing technologies.
Looking into the target market equips them with the appropriate information. It also enables the food processing industries to accumulate criticisms on their products. Once they are aware of the criticisms and bias that the people hold against their new technologies then it becomes easy for them to counter them. They are therefore able to provide their consumers with relevant information and knowledge which will push them to implement the new technologies into their daily life.
Problem oriented technologies and implementation
The food industry is highly problem oriented. The development of new technologies in food processing need to be tailored to cater for problems that the consumers are facing. The implementation of new technologies would be easily implemented if they solved emerging problems. A problem directed food processing technology is easily adaptable. The invention of the freezer was highly implemented because it saved people from drying methods such as sun drying and smoking. Previous food processing techniques were characterized by a high loss of food nutrients.
To counter the issue of low acceptance by consumers, therefore, need to use market research to come up with technologies that are needed. The case of the i3-Food team offers three viable food processing technologies that cater to people’s needs. The variety that they offer when it comes to liquid foods, ready to eat meals and for cold products, offers the consumers with a choice for all food categories.
The implementation of food processing theories poses a great challenge since it is mostly reliant on the external factors. To successfully implement new and improved food processing technologies, food processing companies need to look into these external factors. Only by preparing for and risking dealing with the external factors will they figure out successful ways to implement their new technologies.
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