High pressure processing (HPP) — also known as high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) or ultra-high pressure (UHP) processing — is quickly rising in popularity within the food packaging industry.
How Does HPP Packaging Work?
HPP subjects a food — liquid or solid — to pressure levels between 100 and 800 megapascal (MPa) and a temperature between 5°C (41°F) or below and 15°C (59°F) or above.
Unlike homogenization, HPP achieves decompression by expanding the compressed food against a constraining liquid, thereby reducing the food’s temperature and bringing it toward its original value.
Market Trends and Stats
Food retailers and brand owners alike are increasingly turning to HPP packaging rather than retorting and aseptic packaging — a trend that is expected to continue.
One report, “Global High-Pressure Processing Market: Trends Analysis & Forecasts to 2021,” published by Infinium, predicts that HPP packaging will make up $1.1 billion of the food packaging market within the next five years.
Another study, “High-Pressure Processing Equipment Market – Global Trend and Forecast to 2022,” predicts an annual 11.26% growth rate. This study identified several key drivers of this robust expansion, including the paradigm shift in consumer behavior; once primarily concerned with cost, today’s consumers are placing more focus on environmentally friendly, sustainable purchasing.
A recent Nielsen study of 30,000 consumers from nations across the globe found that over half of consumers are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products and that 52% of consumers base their purchase decisions, in part, on the eco-friendliness of the packaging. Natural, low-resource, and environmentally friendly, HPP packaging utilizes recycled and recyclable materials and allows food products to be refrigerated rather than frozen, appealing to consumers’ shifting concerns.
Other market drivers include an uptick in non-solid food products, such as juices and dips, and rising demand for flexible packaging, with which HPP is compatible.
HPP Packaging vs. Retorting and Aseptic Packaging
The use of HPP packaging in the food industry offers several advantages.
Just as with thermal methods such as homogenization, the high-pressure levels used during the HPP process remove harmful agents — including bacteria, mold, parasites, viruses, and yeast — from food products. HPP, however, doesn’t result in loss of vitamins and nutrients or cause thermal degradation of flavor and covalent bonds.
HPP also performs uniformly across food products of any shape or size, simplifying the packaging process; the success of retorting and aseptic packaging, on the other hand, depends on product size, shape, and food composition. Extremely versatile, HPP packaging is compatible with both rigid and flexible packaging materials, extends product shelf life, and negates the need for preservatives and other add-on chemicals. When considering the HPP process, it’s important to choose the right packaging that can survive the rigorous process. If you need help determining if your product’s packaging solution will survive the rigors of the HPP process, reach out to our packaging engineers.
The use of HPP packaging within the food sector provides a range of benefits; eco-friendly and safer than other options, HPP extends product shelf life while meeting consumer demands for sustainability. As a packaging manufacturer with current ISO 9001 and SQF Level Three certifications, Plastic Ingenuity is proud to provide HPP packaging for the food industry.
To learn about HPP packaging, download our eBook, “Avoid Food Spoilage with HPP Packaging.” Inside, we explain how this type of packaging process can extend shelf life of food products up to four times longer.