Scientists at the University of Georgia, US have confirmed that a new product, FreshTech, could be effective in the control of bacterial growth and extend shelf life in food service coolers.
The company FreshTech confidently writes in a statement that its new product could save the food service industry millions of dollars over the course of just one year.
FreshTech was developed specifically for the food service by the New York-based company and was designed to solve problems such as controlling excess moisture, odour and spoilage - common to food service refrigeration units.
FreshTech, in development for five years, is a powdered compound consisting of a variety of minerals, stored in a pouch and placed directly into a storage cooler. The University of Georgia experimented with FreshTech in US area grocery retailers.
Jason Englander, president of FreshTech, said the university finally gave FreshTech the academic backing it needed to break into the mainstream market.
Englander compares the action of the technology to baking soda, except, he said, that it not only deodorises but also provides a more balanced environment, which, he claims, allow food to be preserved for longer and with less risk of contamination.
Just as bacterial growth causes meats to change colours, ethylene gas hastens the ripening of produce and the blooming of flowers. Preventing excess moisture is crucial to the technology's greatest benefit, which is a significant reduction in bacteria growth and cross contamination.
"That's probably the most important thing about FreshTech, not the extended shelf life," said Estes Reynolds, a UGA researcher in the Department of Food Science and Technology. Reynolds and a team of researchers monitored FreshTech in use in supermarket retailers Kroger, Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart.
"We are expecting exponential growth in the next two years," Englander said. FreshTech currently has begun negotiations with several US food service chains and is expecting to be in the mass market soon. The product itself goes into a refrigeration unit much like a box of baking soda in a fridge, only FreshTech comes packaged in bags. It must be changed every month in commercial use, but in a home unit can last two months.