Chilled Foods

The chilled-food market has expanded since the advent of freezing technology in the 1940s. Although foods were sold chilled at that time, these were generally raw product such as fish and meats. The current needs of society for timesaving and easily prepared meals has led to a wider range of products being offered to the consumer, including many ethnic dishes. Much of this chilled product development has coincided with expansion in the technology of chilling, modified atmosphere packaging, and an understanding of the microbiological safety issues during storage. The addition of microbiological hurdles has allowed shelf-life extension to many products, which has helped to meet the needs for an economic distribution system. Most supermarkets now offer chilled prepared foods that are fully cooked and ready to eat. The development of a food service industry both in vending and restaurants has allowed large companies to quickly exploit the refrigerated product market and to make the most of such opportunities. This article summarizes the issues and developments in the area of chilled foods related to production, safety, and market trends from different perspectives.

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