Photo report: 10 years of Elea Ltd & PEF Advantage Days 2022

"PEF enables gentle processing without loss of quality and with lower water and energy use"

On November 16 and 17, Elea Technology Ltd hosted the now annual PEF Advantage Days at its headquarters in Quakenbrück, Lower Saxony. At the same time, the innovative company celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. In a wide-ranging supporting program full of technical presentations, machine demos and discussion panels, researchers and partners from Elea and the neighboring German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL) looked back on the development and market launch of the innovative PEF system (Pulsating Electric Fields). Additionally, the latest findings were presented with regard to the further application potential of the process.

Click here for the photo report.

PEF makes inroads in the fruit, vegetable and potato sectors
In recent years, the PEF process has proved particularly successful in the potato sector, i.e. in the processing of potato chips and fries. However, the novel technology is also becoming increasingly established in other application areas, such as fruit, vegetables and dairy. Marianna Giancaterino of the BOKU Austria Research Institute provided insights into the latest research results in freeze-drying.

"After PEF treatment, the treated strawberries were significantly crunchier than conventional products, which in turn has a positive effect on the attractiveness of the product as a snack for consumers. The same applies to the processing of cherries, he said. "PEF enables gentle processing without loss of quality and with lower water and energy consumption."

Less cutting losses due to increased flexibility
Elea researcher and moderator for the day Claudia Siemer followed up on these findings with insights into the benefits of PEF application at various stages of product processing. Among other things, she said, PEF allows for more precise cutting of fruits and vegetables, which ultimately contributes to a more beautiful coloration and appearance of the product. "Regarding mushrooms, for example, we have already seen a 15 percent reduction in cutting losses. There were similar results with asparagus, where PEF led to demonstrably less breakage due to increased elasticity and flexibility," Siemer stated.

Lower energy consumption, lower costs
The added value of the PEF process in blanching was outlined with a case study in carrots. PEF accelerates the reduction of temperature during blanching, which is why the entire process is run through more quickly. This, he said, in turn has a positive effect on energy use and therefore costs. A similar conclusion was reached for freezing carrots, as freezing times were reduced by up to 25 percent thanks to PEF while maintaining the same texture.

Great application potential in drying
Artur Wiktor, a researcher in the field of food technology at the University of Warsaw, then focused on the use of PEF in drying. Drying is still considered the best method for processing surpluses and residual stocks in the fruit and vegetable sector, but it is very energy-intensive, Wiktor said, which is why efforts are being made to reduce energy costs.

"What is particularly advantageous about the PEF process is that the technique can be combined with all conventional drying methods, whether air-drying, freeze-drying, etc. For air-dried mangoes, for example, we observed a 50% reduction in drying time, and there were similar results for carrots. In the latter product, we also observe that the product discolors less during long-term storage, which is just an additional advantage of PEF treatment."

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For more information:
Elea Technology GmbH
Prof.-von-Klitzing-Str. 9
D-49610 Quakenbrück
+49 (0) 5431 92629 70  

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