University of California

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Fresh-cut Fruit Processing

(Alessandro Turatti) (Turatti North America)

Production of fresh-cut fruit is on the rise because consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of healthy dietary habits while looking for convenient and easy meal preparation, requiring a shorter amount of time. At the same time we are also seeing a radical change in the food available for meals eaten outside the home, whether this be at work or in school. Many of these food items represent an innovative and more practical way of eating fruit and drinking juice. Examples include peeled and cut fruit products, raw juices and fresh smoothies which are now readily available in cafeterias or in vending machines.

A fresh-cut fruit is a product whose original state has been physically altered by washing, slicing and peeling, while retaining its fresh nature. Indeed, it is precisely because it is fresh – free of preservatives and unpasteurized – that minimally processed fruit can retain its content of natural antioxidants, vitamins, fiber and minerals.

Nevertheless, despite the potential, processors of these types of products are facing numerous challenges not commonly encountered during fresh-cut vegetable processing. While not insurmountable, these difficulties encountered with fresh-cut fruit, require an higher and brand new level of technical and operational complexity. Research and technology will be required to assist all the stakeholders in this segment of the fresh-cut market to offer more convenient, safe and nutritional products, while guaranteeing continuously improved sustainable solutions. Automation and Food Safety will be the main guideline to providing a new generation of fresh-cut fruit products.

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