November 8, 2017
Canadian food scientists have come up with an innovative process that has been shown to improve the flavour and retain the texture in frozen vegetables. This is good news for Canadian producers of preserved fruits and vegetables – a sector with strong potential for growth currently valued at about $7.5 billion in 2015 with exports of more than $3 billion.
The variety and convenience of frozen vegetables have made this a popular alternative when fresh veggies aren't available. But, a loss of flavour and texture can occur as a result of the blanching process that has been used for decades to ensure food safety and prevent freezer burn.
Dr. Tony Savard, a researcher with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, worked with Bonduelle Amérique as part of the Canadian Food Innovator research cluster, to come up with a fresh alternative for processing vegetables for freezing: partially drying them using low doses of microwaves combined with a vacuum process.
The team tested this method on red peppers and onions - two vegetables known to suffer taste and texture losses when blanched. The new method not only retained the vegetables' texture, but actually improved the flavour in some cases, all with minimal nutritional loss. Today this technology is being used by Bonduelle Amérique's pilot processing plant and their products are called "In Flavor".
Dr. Savard and his team continue to explore other alternative processing methods so Canadians can enjoy their favourite veggies at their best year-round.
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