Demand For Home Meal Replacements Challenges Food Industry

May 07, 1998

CHICAGO--Today's consumer demand for minimally-processed, easy-to-eat, and nutritious foods has created a booming market for home meal replacements. The challenges of developing these products, while ensuring their safety and quality, will be a focus of the Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT's) 1998 Annual Meeting & FOOD EXPO in Atlanta in June.

"Balancing Quality Retention and Microbiological Safety of Chilled and Hot Home Meal Replacement Prepared Foods" (Session 41, June 22, 1:30 PM) will address ways to ensure the safety and quality of homemade-tasting, store-bought meals and minimally-processed foods, such as fresh-cut vegetables. The use of good manufacturing practices, modified atmosphere packaging, natural antimicrobials or food additives, temperature control during and after processing, and limited expiration dates can help prevent the growth of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms in these products. The responsibilities of food manufacturers, supermarket workers, and consumers in ensuring their safety will be outlined. Factors driving the market for home meal replacements and ways supermarkets can take advantage of this market will also be included.

"Home Meal Replacement: Issues and Opportunities" (Session 25, June 22, 9 AM), will address the who, what, why, when, and where of freshly prepared meals: Who is involved in producing and selling these meals? What are good guidelines for safely producing, packaging, storing, and handling them? Why are home meal replacements expected to account for a $100 billion "share of stomach" in America? When does their shelf life end? Where is the market for such meals outside the United States? These questions and more will be answered during the symposium.

IFT's Annual Meeting will be at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Institute of Food Technologists

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