Originally published July 31 2015
New 'superchilling' technique allows organic food to be preserved naturally for long-term storage
by Jennifer Lea Reynolds
(NaturalNews) In an effort to help "purpose-driven consumers," or those who are mindful about healthy eating habits and improving the environment, a new technique has been developed that's likely music to their ears. Called "superchilling," it's a method that allows food to stay as fresh as possible - in the case of salmon, for upwards of an entire month - without the need for harsh, unhealthy chemicals.
This unconventional method, which involves cooling food almost to the point of freezing without actually freezing it, promises to maintain quality and freshness much longer that the cheaper, faster methods typically used by supermarkets. Specifically, superchilling would involve cooling the salmon to about -2.5 degrees Celsius, which is just below the temperature the food starts to freeze. However, it's not fully frozen, therefore negating the need for thawing while maintaining long levels of freshness.
The process is a fresh food eaters dream with several benefits. Not only is it poised to be a tremendous boon for organic food growers, but it may also help combat the problem of food waste by keeping more food on people's plates instead of in supermarket trash bins. In fact, 1.43 billion tons of food are wasted globally on an annual basis, mostly occurring on the supermarket and retailer level. With superchilled salmon having a shelf life of one month, the issue of tossing unpurchased or excess fish in storage goes by the wayside.
Superchilling may also contribute to lowered CO2 emissions, experts are hopeful as testing continuesFurthermore, experts suggest that superchilling may play a role in keeping the environment in tact. For example, fresh salmon is typically transported in heavy boxes containing 30 percent ice. With this new process, ice is inside the salmon, therefore contributing to weight reduction which reduces flight fuel use and related air pollution. Should superchilling prove successful, lowered CO2 emissions could also be a plus.
Currently, the idea has yet to gain traction on a widespread level; its claims are still being tested on Norwegian ecological meat and salmon. While some people have concerns that perhaps superchilling may tamper with the ability for fish - especially the organic kind - to maintain its lipid levels, which contributes to good heart health, Michael Bantle remains hopeful, saying he's "...fairly certain that superchilling will be adopted."
Environmentally-responsible, healthy process may be profitable for supermarket chains as well as health-conscious customersBantle, who is a project manager for the Scandinavian research and technology company behind this technique, SINTEF, says "The supermarket chains ought to have invested more in cold-stores that are capable of keeping both fish and meat superchilled at quite stable temperatures." Yet he explains that in interest of making a quick dollar, many places go with fast and unhealthy options. "Unfortunately, this is not being done today because these chains prioritize the simplest and cheapest solutions. However, I hope that this method will contribute to the adoption of the technology."
Although this idea appears to have potential, possible problems include supermarkets who may shun the one-month freshness in favor of the monies gained when food is NOT kept fresh as long. Tossing food in those garbage bins increases customer demand for more food and therefore, boosts sales. Superchilling may put a kink in this notion.
Still, Bantle reminds people of superchilling's many aforementioned pros, another of which may get supermarket chains to perk up: He says that the technique may actually be profitable for them. By advertising this process as a mark of quality, health-minded customers will gravitate towards stores' environmental and health commitments and in turn, make more purchases.
Hopefully, the idea will catch on. It seems socially and environmentally responsible, and continues to provide fresh, healthy foods to customers who want better things for themselves and the entire planet.
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