The trend towards all-natural food and ingredients is not new, but is becoming a “must-have” for food companies, like food safety. Plant-based is another trend. TOP started 15 years ago with plant-based food – particularly plant proteins – combined with a low sugar, low carbohydrate approach. It’s now accelerating through the entire food chain. Convenience is becoming an ever stronger part of retail, especially in mainland Europe. We work with our clients to ensure the optimum balance between productive operations, an efficient supply chain, and an adequate product shelf life, which in reality means 2-3 weeks.
How are you responding to the growing consumer appetite for “meat-like” plant-based products?
Through BOX NV we have formed a joint venture with Cargill called Bflike (“beef-like”). We are working on patent-pending vegan fat and blood platforms. This ground-breaking technology results in plant-based meat and fish alternative products that are virtually indistinguishable from their animal-based counterparts, with similar visual appearance (both raw and cooked), texture, mouthfeel, melting behavior and cooking performance.
What innovative concepts have TOP successfully launched?
Our Radio Frequency sterilization technology uses radio waves to quickly heat up food products to sterilization temperatures. The technology is suitable to sterilize packaged food products and creates products of improved sensory quality because of the reduced heating time.
Our High Pressure Processing (HPP) technology, also known as Pascalisation, significantly increases the shelf life of packaged food products like smoothies, sauces, meat and fish, and ready-to-eat meals. HPP is now well integrated in the food industry, so we are moving on to develop the next step: Pressure Assisted Thermal Sterilization.
A third innovative concept is Cold Press No.20 which is being taken up by a number of medium-sized industrial juice producers. It empties the bags fully automatically and can be operated by a single operator. Cold pressing preserves all the great nutrients and flavor of fresh fruit and vegetables juice.
At the Free From Food Expo 2021 in Amsterdam, Wouter de Heij will be presenting on “Practical Food Innovation to bridge the gap between food technology and retail marketeers – How to design and implement successful food concepts.” He will be looking at how food companies can meet consumer demand and get more successful products on the shelves, while avoiding failures and unsuccessful product launches.