Freeze drying offers waste reductions at every step of the journey

Freeze dried grilled mixed peppers in bowls

An incredible 17 per cent of all food available at consumer level is thrown away, while food services and retail outlets waste five per cent and two per cent respectively.

This, according to the UN Environment programme’s latest Food Waste Index, amounts to about 900 million tonnes of waste every year at a cost of 98 billion Euros each year.

To address this growing issue, technology and efficiencies in the supply chains are being used at all levels across diverse ranges of organisations and sectors.

At European Freeze Dry, the technology and manufacturing processes are inherently waste efficient, but this doesn’t stop the company from maximising waste reduction.

Its raw materials are sourced to provide only the food that will be freeze dried with zero waste. The process itself is then efficient in producing only what is needed as the final product, with minimal waste along the way.

Reducing food waste vital for climate change

For consumers, and the supermarkets, there are the added complications of packaging, labelling and presentation in store. Here, the scale of waste starts to rise in terms of what is used, best before dates and where does the waste go on it journey whether to foodbanks, the waste recycling plant or to landfill.

Consumers are often the ones blamed when it comes to food waste. Yet almost 50 per cent of food waste does not happen in our fridges, but rather in the pre-consumption steps, from production to food services. For instance, around 30 per cent of food waste in Europe happens at the production and processing steps.

Diana Morris, of European Freeze Dry, said: “It is shocking to stare at these figures and consider them. With increasing pressures on organisations to play their part worldwide, we all still have a long way to go on the journey, but it will be worth it if we can collectively address this challenge.”

As a policy, European Freeze Dry is committed to reducing CO2 emissions and reducing energy consumption in line with the Climate Change Levy, with a net reduction of energy consumption of four per cent year on year in from its UK facility at Preston, Lancashire.

Reduced weight leads to efficiencies

The transport of the company’s freeze dried food also brings efficiencies, with a lot less weight to carry than the equivalent ingredients which all have to be separately packaged and labelled.

Large-scale customers who use these freeze dried ingredients from meat and seafood to dairy, fruits, dried vegetables and pulses are receiving only the finished product with locked-in flavour, nutrition, aroma, colour and texture.

The customer can then weigh out precisely what they need, meaning there is no wastage from these products at that stage, while storage is ambient and therefore removes the need for industrial fridges or freezers at that stage.

Technology offers global possibilities

Diana Morris added: “With environmental pressures on sustainability to add value for the consumer, our products also come with clean ingredient declaration and traceability providing clarity for people about whether their food is sustainably sourced rather than being part of an eclectic mix of suppliers.

“Freeze dried ingredients and meals offer a real opportunity to significantly reduce food waste both in the supply chain and with consumers, with the product shelf life of fruits and vegetables extending up to two years without losing the flavour or nutrition, and without adding preservatives.

“Ultimately, the end customer wants to know that the super-foods they consume are everything they are claimed to be from source to shop. Increasingly, and in response to consumer demand and changing lifestyles, we are also seeing a rise of plant protein requirements alongside traditional protein products such as meat and seafood.”

Freeze dried food from European Freeze Dry lasts up to seven years, while the tinned versions can be stored for up to 25 years, making it an ideal solution to extend the product life of meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables and protect food security.

Freeze drying technology gently removes the water in a product whilst retaining the natural colour, shape and nutritional characteristics. This ensured ingredients remain natural, with no added preservatives needed, in addition to offering multiple benefits with its natural colours and flavours coming through in meals and beverages.

The process takes on average a day to complete, carried out in a set of ‘chambers’ which can be controlled at various temperatures and time schedules depending on specific product requirements.

Freeze drying also means there is a much reduced potential for microorganisms existing in such low amounts of water.

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