Food As Nature Intended

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-By Robert Hoshowsky

In today’s hectic world, many of us race from one moment to the next, and are often too busy to pay attention to our most important possession of all – our health. Instead of taking the time to eat and drink properly, we often grab fast food, or drink highly-processed fruit and vegetable juices that are pale imitations of the real thing. Fortunately, an Australian-based company is changing all that, one juice glass at a time.

Established in 2006, Preshafood Limited has been manufacturing products using High Pressure Processing (HPP) since early 2007. Unlike other forms of processing such as heat pasteurisation – which involves heating juice, milk and other liquids to slow microbial growth – HPP is a state of the art technology which uses up to 87,000 pounds per square inch to render vegetative bacteria inactive. For consumers, this sophisticated form of food processing means the ability to purchase natural, quality, and nutrient-rich products with a long shelf life.

“The word ‘presha’ is relating to the fact that we use high-pressure processing to process our products, so that’s where the Preshafood comes from,” says Alastair McLachlan, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. The company, formerly Donny Boy Fresh Food Company Pty Ltd, is passionate about its commitment to quality. While other refrigerated juices sold in stores contain genuine juice, the product has often been altered through pasteurisation or the addition of sugar, food colouring, stabilisers, preservatives, or added water. Once these products are packaged, many of these juices no longer have the same appearance, flavour, colour, nutrients, fibre, digestive enzymes, or freshness as Preshafruit juices.

“Everyone else in the industry either uses preservatives or they use heat to pasteurise, whereas we use cold high pressure processing to process our juices, to give it shelf life,” says Mr McLachlan. “When you use cold high pressure processing, you keep the original taste of the freshly-squeezed juice, with a seven-month shelf life. Whereas, as you can imagine if you heat something to 70 degrees, its going to have that heated taste, rather than the natural, original taste.”

High Pressure, Great Taste

Developed by the Japanese, High Pressure Processing has become commercialised in the past decade. At present, Preshafood Limited is one of only two companies in Australia to take advantage of this exciting technology. Used for food processing, HPP technology works especially well with foods such as fruit juice, which are especially heat-sensitive – old-fashioned processing methods greatly alter the taste and appearance. All flavours in the Preshafruit Juice Range are pressurised cold, resulting in juice that is just as delicious as the day the fruit was harvested.

“We use pressure, which kills all the microorganisms,” says Mr McLachlan. “When the product is kept chilled, it keeps its original taste. The definition of pasteurisation is to heat, so we can’t say that we pasteurise, but we get the same results as pasteurisation without changing the taste or colour.”

“All of our raw ingredients come from Australia,” comments Mr McLachlan. “We don’t use any concentrates. We take fresh produce, and crush it ourselves to make our quality juices.”

Operating from a purpose-built, state of the art HPP and food processing facility located in Derrimut in Melbourne’s west, Preshafood’s first commercial product – an apricot, peach and apple mix for yoghurt – was the world’s first HPP fruit product used in the dairy industry. Containing 100 per cent Australian fruit, Preshafruit juices taste just like the fresh fruit from which they are derived, without added preservatives, artificial colours, synthetic flavours, or heat.

Preshafruit offers a range of delicious juices and coulis in a variety of flavours and sizes, including Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Apple Strawberry, Apple Raspberry, Apple Passionfruit, Apple Lemon, Apple Pear, Apple Pomegranate, Valencia Orange, and Blood Orange. New flavours include Organic Apple Juice, Apple Cranberry and Orange and Lemon. Eager to please all tastes, the company also has a line of juices for kids. Packaged in handy 250ml bottles, flavours like Apple Mango and Banana, Apple Blackcurrant, Tropical and Navel Orange are sure to please kids of all ages. For families and those who just can’t get enough Preshafruit juices, the company also offers a number of its flavours in convenient 1 litre sizes. No matter which size customers choose, all Preshafruit juices pack a nutritional punch.

Full of flavour and freshness, all the company’s juices are rich in vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes. Each 350ml size bottle of apple juice, for example, is made from four fresh apples, and Preshafruit’s delicious Valencia juice is extracted from three oranges and provides over 200 per cent of the daily Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) of Vitamin C. Since all juices are processed using HPP, they deliver an antioxidant value two times or greater when compared to conventional pasteurising techniques.

Since Preshafruit fruit mixes and juices are not cooked or heated and are packaged using HPP, they retain much more nutrition, vitamins, and antioxidants than conventionally-processed products. We have all heard of the need for Vitamin C to help maintain healthy bones and teeth, yet many of us don’t get enough of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ in our daily diet. Preshafruit (HPP) Orange Juice retains a full 85 per cent of its Vitamin C when stored at four degrees Celsius for 30 weeks. When stored at the same temperature, conventional thermal-processed orange juice retains just 40 per cent Vitamin C.

Vitamins, minerals and nutrients found in juice are vital in the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. Vitamin A helps to supports vision, skin, bone and tooth growth, immunity and reproduction, while B Vitamins are essential for energy, metabolism, nerve function, skin, digestion, red blood cell production, and other crucial functions. These vitamins – along with minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc – help promote good health, and are found in many Preshafood products. The company uses many ‘superfoods’ like apricots, blueberries, kiwis, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, mangoes, and others fruits which help promote health, increase longevity, and ward off disease, in the preparation of many of its products.

Along with a range of delicious and healthy juices, Preshafood also produces Coulis, a tasty and healthy fruit topping that tastes just like real fruit. As with the company’s fine line of juices, Preshafruit Fruit Coulis are packaged cold using HPP to maintain freshness, an extended fridge life, flavour, and maximum nutrition. Never heated or treated, and free from artificial colours and flavours and preservatives. Preshafruit Fruit Coulis come in sizes ranging from 250 gram pouches for retail to 10.5 kilogram food service packs. With flavours like strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, mixed berry, passionfruit, and mango, Preshafruit Fruit Coulis are perfect for topping on ice cream, yoghurt, cereals, pancakes, muffins, or even for making smoothies and cocktails.

At Preshafruit, the company’s triangle-shaped packaging design is as unique as the juice it contains. With HPP, pressure vessels are very small – the diameter of the machine used to make Preshafruit juices measures only 30 cm – and the company needed to find the right shape to tolerate the enormous pressure. The triangle-shaped bottles are the most efficient shape in which to process Preshafruit’s range of quality juices.

Award Winning Juices

In late 2009, Preshafood’s innovation saw the company win a number of awards and accolades at the Beverage Innovation Awards held in Munich, Germany. At a gala dinner attended by over 500 industry representatives, Preshafood won the “Best overall concept award” in the 2009 Beverage Innovation Awards, emerging as the best product from over 340 entries from 40 countries in 24 categories. In addition, the company also emerged as the winner of the “Best new juice or juice drink” category, and was a finalist in the “Best newcomer brand or business” and “Best design in PET” categories, with its unique, triangular-shaped bottle setting it apart from other juice offerings. Perhaps most impressive of all, Preshafood won over entries from beverage giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

At Preshafood Limited, the company offers confidential short and long-term High Pressure Processing research and product development services to outside clients interested in the technology. Certain food products are better able to withstand the HPP technology, and products must have a moisture content of at least 30 per cent and be in plastic containers or bags (without glass or metal packaging), and be delivered at a chilled temperature (0-4°C).

For Preshafood, the company remains confident in its abilities to deliver products that are not only great tasting, but at the peak of freshness and nutrition. “Our customers want themselves and their children to consume a natural product, rather than a processed product,” says Mr McLachlan. “Our goal is to grow knowledge of the process, and that knowledge will crystallise into sales. We are in the process of preparing a new vegetable juice range, which will be released shortly.” With expertise in the innovative HPP technology, and a truly delicious product line under its belt, a bright – and fresh – future is undoubtedly ahead for Preshafood.

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December 16, 2018, 3:53 PM AEDT