Organic food processing on the rise

Organic food processing is gaining popularity.

Organic food processing is gaining popularity.

Food and beverage manufacturing has seen organic products rise immensely in the last couple of years. The sudden change is from customers wanting safer and more natural products to consume since some processing plants can have a bit of a curtain over their operations. According to a 2014 report by Hartman Group, 73 percent of typical American respondents admit they consume organic products every now and then, while 9 percent said they do so daily.

The report also discovered that 86 percent of the respondents saying they sometimes choose organic products were millennials, which fall between the ages of 18 and 35. On the other hand, only 63 percent of that same group were baby boomers.

Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said sales hit $35.1 billion in 2013, which was a nearly 12 percent rise over 2012, Food Processing News reported. Batcha also expects that number to grow even more in 2014, since more people are gaining awareness of organics.

"The growing interest in organic foods is not just for fruits and vegetables," said Batcha, according to the source. "There is an even greater interest in organic ingredients for the production of processed foods. Americans eat a large percentage of their food as processed goods. They want to know that the ingredients are safe, nutritious and free from unwanted additives."

Shift in organic food processors

According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Organic Food Processing Basics, for food processing equipment to be used for organic, it has to maintain the item's organic status by keeping it from synthetic and banned materials. Additionally, the processing system has to take caution with tracking the products ingredients and keep highly detailed records of how the food or beverage is processed.

Also, food processing equipment has to be extremely easy to clean if plants are switching between organic and non-organic products. Some of the left over ingredients that would be banned in organic-labeled products could still exist on tough-to-clean equipment.

Stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers are sanitary and corrosion resistant, and can handle numerous cleanings each day, which makes them an ideal solution for those who make both organic and non-organic food products.

Organic sales have reached double-digits, which means this is not a fad for processing plants, but something they should invest in for the future.

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