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From Neval Ceyhun, Senior Scientist Technique of Vitamin North America, Unilever

REV (Radiant Vitality Underneath Vacuum) expertise is a course of wherein microwave vitality and vacuum stress are mixed to offer high-speed, low-temperature dehydration of meals. REV is efficient for drying fruits, greens, herbs, meats and seafood under or above freezing. Maybe its best potential at the moment is in creating wholesome snacks. At a time when shopper information factors to elevated public consciousness and curiosity in wholesome snacking, REV can develop into a definite benefit within the market. An instance of its success comes from vegetarian snacks of chickpeas and zucchini, which yielded greater optimistic numbers for fiber, protein and potassium sources for every day consumption. REV dehydration of pineapples generated related outcomes. These developments point out that REV is on the forefront of making a sexy, bigger and more healthy marketplace for snack meals that retain their dietary worth.

The rise of wholesome snacking

Within the bigger meals panorama, snacks and snacks are greatest regarded as buffers between bigger primary meals equivalent to lunch or dinner, with snacks bridging the time between meals. Snacks are quite common. Second NielsenIQ In a 2022 examine, shoppers reported that snacks or small meals made up 73% of consumption events.

Past this basic understanding, folks will use snacking to offer completely different advantages relying on their wants. The Hartman Teams Fashionable Snacking Framework, developed as a part of 2021 Snacking: rising, evolving and disrupted report, exhibits that snacking typically fulfills a minimum of one among 4 primary objectives: nourishment, optimization, pleasure and distraction. Of those 4, nevertheless, nourishment and pleasure are the commonest: 54% of snacking goals to offer vitamin and 51% present pleasure.

Wholesome snacks goal to meet lots of the identical roles, however with an emphasis on vitamin and well-being, transferring away from extra conventional snack meals that may be extremely processed or comprise important quantities of salt or sugar. Trade analysis means that with regards to meals, shopper curiosity in well being is on the rise, particularly because the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. NielsenIQ analysis studies that 42% of shoppers mentioned they’ve adopted more healthy consuming habits up to now two years, with an extra 42% reporting that they eat much less salt, saturated fats and sugar.

In October 2022, McKinsey launched a report which surveyed shoppers within the US, UK, France and Germany and located related outcomes. Wholesome consuming, recognized by the report as a decreased consumption of salt, sugar and processed meals, was a high precedence for 50% of shoppers surveyed. In the US, 38% of respondents mentioned they’ve modified their consuming habits to prioritize more healthy consuming following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whereas the demand for more healthy, extra nutritious snacks has elevated, it is vital to keep in mind that pleasure can also be strongly related to snacking, and taste is a key element of enjoyment. To satisfy shopper demand for more healthy meals in the long run, it is crucial that the meals trade provide snack meals that ship vitamin with out compromising on taste. Vegetables and fruit are important sources of important vitamins and fiber and, if they are often saved with out compromising taste or vitamin, supply the chance to offer shoppers with minimally processed snacks with out added sugar, salt or fats.

Vacuum Radiant Vitality (REV)

With regards to storing and drying contemporary vegetables and fruit, air drying and freeze-drying have been the commonest conventional strategies for many years. As a expertise, REV is a comparatively new method: microwave vitality is utilized to meals beneath vacuum and leads to fast dehydration of the meals at a low temperature. Each air drying and freeze drying take for much longer than the REV course of and the warmth utilized by air drying may end up in decreased high quality of the ultimate product. Freeze-drying additionally usually makes use of a vacuum, however it might have an effect on the flavour of some merchandise.

A 2020 examine performed by researchers on the College of British Columbia (UBC) and revealed within the journal Meals, in contrast the dietary and sensory impacts (flavour, look, aroma and texture) of those three drying applied sciences on several types of fruit and greens and located that REV was a extremely aggressive expertise. For dietary worth, the examine appeared on the retention of beta-carotene and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The REV dried merchandise misplaced lower than 20% of their whole ascorbic content material, whereas the air dried merchandise misplaced 30 to 60%. Air drying resulted in an 83% discount in beta-carotene content material, whereas REV dried merchandise misplaced 58%. Whereas freeze-dried samples retained extra beta-carotene and ascorbic acid than another methodology, it ought to be famous that each vitamins are weak to warmth and oxidation. Air drying depends solely on each warmth and air motion, and whereas the REV methodology used within the examine reduces oxidation utilizing a vacuum, it’s nonetheless carried out at the next temperature than freeze-drying.

Analysis manufactured by EnWave Corpa producer of REV drying gear, demonstrated that drying temperature impacts ascorbic acid retention by evaluating air drying and freeze drying with two completely different REV strategies: to freezeREV, which operates at a most temperature of 30C, e what number ofREV, which operates at a most temperature of 68C. The outcomes confirmed that air drying, working at a most of 70°C, retained solely 188 milligrams (mg) of ascorbic acid per gram. To freezeREV maintained 325 mg, what number ofREV retained 339 mg and freeze drying, which is the coldest of the 4 strategies and operates at a most temperature of 25°C, retained 367 mg. Regardless of working at greater temperatures than freeze-drying, REV-dried vegetables and fruit preserve aggressive ranges of ascorbic acid.

Relating to sensory high quality, UBC researchers requested audio system to fee merchandise on 4 primary attributes: look, aroma, texture and taste, with an extra rating for general sensory expertise. The outcomes confirmed that the REV-dried merchandise scored greater in all sensory attributes than each the freeze-dried and air-dried merchandise.

EnWaves analysis has demonstrated one other advantage of REV expertise: a considerable discount in drying time. Air-drying the pineapple slices took 13 hours, however each what number ofREV e to freezeThe REVs had been a lot quicker, at 1.4 and seven.6 hours, respectively. It took 72 hours to acquire the marginal enhance in ascorbic acid content material offered by freeze drying. Relying on the particular software and wishes of an organization using REV, these time financial savings could possibly be a big profit.

The present standing of REV

As a comparatively new innovation in meals drying expertise, REV has not but gained widespread use, and corporations wishing to make use of this drying methodology could encounter widespread challenges that accompany early adoption. At present, only a few firms manufacture the gear used for REV drying, which might make accessing the expertise troublesome. That is very true if the businesses providing the expertise are in numerous areas than these wanting to make use of the method. Additionally, till the method has extra widespread adoption, REV drying will probably stay comparatively costly.

The purposes of REV have been comparatively restricted. It was primarily used to dry vegetables and fruit, though there are additionally REV dried cheese and fish merchandise in the marketplace. As adoption expands, extra meals merchandise are more likely to develop into accessible to shoppers.

REV sooner or later

Whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has actually elevated shopper consciousness and a focus to wholesome snacking, the emphasis on vitamin and well being in meals has been rising for years. A great metric by which to have a look at this alteration is authorities assist for higher vitamin labelling. In 2016, for instance, the US Meals & Drug Administration (FDA) up to date the necessities for the Vitamin details label on packaged meals. The brand new label higher highlights info equivalent to serving dimension and Each day Values ​​that buyers must make knowledgeable selections in regards to the dietary worth of merchandise. Maybe most vital, nevertheless, is the brand new labeling requirement for added sugars, which displays a rising shopper want to eat meals with much less sugar. In September 2022, the FDA has proposed an replace to the dietary necessities for a wholesome meals declare, suggesting that meals with a declare on the bundle ought to meet sure limits for salt, added sugar and saturated fats. Whereas this rule remains to be beneath assessment, the FDA has demonstrated a dedication to supporting shoppers’ want for extra transparency and more healthy meals choices.

Whereas nonetheless new, REV has the potential to open up alternatives for firms to benefit from the ubiquity of snack meals and supply shoppers with minimally processed, low sugar and low salt meals. Regardless of the challenges related to early adoption, firms which are prepared to make a strategic resolution to innovate with applied sciences like REV have the chance to construct model energy and take a look at new merchandise.

Client demand for wholesome, additive-free meals continues to develop, supported by new laws and meals labelling. The meals trade should proceed to speculate time, analysis and cash to innovate, as manufacturers that may ship nutritious and scrumptious snacks to shoppers will help dismantle the notion that wholesome packaged meals require abandoning taste and look. New applied sciences like REV, which might present each vitamin and taste, will help firms lay the strategic basis for constructing model energy sooner or later.

*Function picture courtesy of the creator

Neval Ceyhun is a Senior Scientist and Technical Venture Lead for Unilever’s Analysis and Growth Middle based mostly within the North America Vitamin Enterprise Unit. He’s answerable for product growth of the dietary portfolio and strategic operations for the innovation funnel. Neval leads progressive initiatives and has a variety of expertise within the confectionary, oil and paper industries. Join with energetic Neval LinkedIn.