In 2022, the Global Non-Thermal Processing Market
was valued at USD 871.39 million, exhibiting a robust CAGR of 7.58% throughout
the projected period. The driving force behind this market revenue growth stems
from the escalating demand for sustainable food, as expressed by both consumers
The integration of eco-friendly technology into the
food production process takes center stage, with a primary goal of converting
basic agricultural inputs into food products of superior quality and desirable
attributes, all while enhancing production efficiency. Companies are
strategically emphasizing competitiveness in response to the increasing
emphasis on environmental sustainability among governments and consumers alike.
Non-thermal methods are gaining prominence as
environmentally responsible alternatives to traditional food processing
methods. They offer direct advantages such as reduced energy and water
consumption during processing, along with indirect benefits that lead to
decreased energy impact during storage. Additionally, non-thermal processing is
anticipated to generate secondary benefits by curbing solid waste and enhancing
the value of biomass resources.
The indirect impacts of non-thermal processing on
the sustainability of food processing could surpass the direct effects due to
significant inefficiencies within the food manufacturing sector. These
inefficiencies manifest as food waste, degradation of quality along the supply
chain, and underutilization of by-products and processing residues, all of
which are poised to contribute to the growth of market revenue.
Increasing Consumer Demand for Safe and Natural
One of the key drivers of the global non-thermal
processing market is the growing consumer demand for safe and natural foods.
Consumers are increasingly health-conscious and seek food products that are
minimally processed, devoid of chemical additives, and retain their natural
nutritional qualities. This demand for cleaner and safer food options has led
to the adoption of non-thermal processing methods. As consumers become more
aware of the relationship between diet and health, they actively seek out foods
perceived as healthier. Non-thermal processing methods, such as high-pressure
processing (HPP) and pulsed electric field (PEF) processing, enable food
manufacturers to achieve microbial inactivation without compromising the
nutritional and sensory attributes of food products. This aligns with the
consumer trend towards healthier eating. The clean label movement is gaining
momentum, with consumers closely scrutinizing food labels for artificial
preservatives, additives, and chemicals. Non-thermal processing methods
typically do not involve the use of chemical additives, making them a preferred
choice for food companies aiming to provide clean label products. This trend is
particularly pronounced in developed markets like North America and Europe.
Ensuring food safety is a top priority for consumers. Non-thermal processing
techniques have proven effective in eliminating harmful pathogens and bacteria,
thereby making food products safer to consume. This is especially crucial in
the case of products like fresh juices, ready-to-eat meals, and deli meats,
where the risk of foodborne illnesses can be significant.
Stringent Food Safety Regulations
Stringent food safety regulations and standards
established by government agencies worldwide serve as a significant driver of
the global non-thermal processing market. These regulations aim to ensure the
safety of food products for consumers and compel manufacturers to adopt
advanced processing technologies. Food safety authorities, such as the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority
(EFSA), have implemented rigorous regulations concerning microbial safety in
food products. Non-thermal processing methods, renowned for their ability to
mitigate harmful microorganisms, aid food manufacturers in meeting these
regulations. Foodborne illnesses continue to be a public health concern.
Non-thermal processing technologies effectively eliminate pathogens such as E.
coli and Salmonella, thereby reducing the risk of foodborne outbreaks and
recalls. Businesses embrace these methods not only to comply with regulations
but also to safeguard their brand reputation. In an increasingly globalized
food market, adherence to food safety standards is indispensable for
international trade. Non-thermal processing methods enhance the safety and
quality of products, rendering them more conducive to export. They enable food
companies to access new markets and compete on a global scale.
Expanding Applications Across Food and Beverage
Non-thermal processing technologies have evolved to
cater to a wide range of food and beverage product categories, extending beyond
limited sectors. For example, HPP is employed in the processing of seafood,
poultry, and even guacamole, while PEF processing is applied to fruits,
vegetables, and liquid foods. The value of non-thermal processing lies in its
ability to prolong the shelf life of perishable products, which is particularly
relevant for convenience foods in high demand due to changing lifestyles and
increased urbanization. These technologies empower manufacturers to produce
products with extended shelf lives, thereby reducing food waste and logistics
costs. With the rapid growth of the market for functional and nutraceutical
foods, non-thermal processing methods play a crucial role in preserving the
bioactive compounds and health benefits of ingredients, such as vitamins and
antioxidants. This enables the production of functional foods without
compromising on nutritional quality.
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High Initial Investment Costs
One of the notable challenges faced by the global
non-thermal processing market is the substantial initial investment costs
associated with the implementation of non-thermal processing technologies.
While these technologies offer numerous advantages, such as enhanced food
safety and prolonged shelf life without the use of chemical additives, the
upfront costs can prove to be prohibitive for many food manufacturers.
Non-thermal processing methods necessitate specialized equipment such as
high-pressure processing (HPP) machines, pulsed electric field (PEF) systems,
and ultrasonic processors. These machines are often capital-intensive, with
costs varying depending on the production scale and technological complexity.
The setup of non-thermal processing equipment may require modifications to
existing production lines or the construction of dedicated processing
facilities, contributing significantly to the overall investment. In addition
to upfront expenses, ongoing operating and maintenance costs can be substantial.
Skilled technicians may be required to operate and maintain the equipment and
spare parts can be costly. Ensuring effective operation of non-thermal
processing equipment necessitates training and development of personnel. The
expertise required for handling these technologies can incur additional costs
in terms of staff training and development. Achieving a satisfactory return on
investment (ROI) can take time, particularly for smaller food producers. This
delayed return may discourage businesses with limited financial resources.
Limited Consumer Understanding and Acceptance
Another key challenge in the non-thermal processing
market is the limited understanding and acceptance of these technologies among
consumers. Despite the scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness in
enhancing food safety and quality, consumers often hold misconceptions or
reservations. Many consumers are unaware of non-thermal processing methods and
their functionality, leading to skepticism or misconceptions regarding the
safety and quality of products processed using these technologies. Furthermore,
some consumers associate "natural" with minimally processed foods,
which can create a perception that products processed using non-thermal methods
are less natural. Educating consumers about the benefits and safety of these
technologies is crucial. Additionally, there is a misconception that
non-thermal processing methods may negatively affect the taste and texture of
food products. In reality, these methods are designed to preserve the sensory
attributes of foods, although consumer perceptions may vary. To build consumer
trust, clear and accurate product labeling plays a critical role. Manufacturers
face the challenge of transparently communicating the use of non-thermal
processing methods on product labels, which can be constrained by limited label
space and regulations.
Expansion of Non-Thermal Processing into New Food
A notable trend observed in the global non-thermal
processing market is the ongoing expansion of these technologies into new food
categories. Initially, these methods were primarily applied in sectors like
fruit juice and dairy. However, non-thermal processing methods are now finding
innovative applications across a diverse range of products. They are no longer
limited to specific food types but are being employed across various product
categories, including fruits and vegetables, meats, seafood, and ready-to-eat
meals. The adaptability of these technologies makes them suitable for a wide
range of food and beverage applications. The industry is witnessing
cross-category innovations, where non-thermal processing techniques
traditionally used in one sector are successfully being applied to others. For
instance, high-pressure processing (HPP), which was originally popular in fruit
juice production, is now utilized in the seafood industry to extend the shelf
life of products while preserving their quality. Convenience foods, such as
pre-packaged salads, meal kits, and heat-and-eat meals, have become a focal
point for non-thermal processing innovations. These technologies are used to
enhance the shelf life of convenience products, ensuring they remain safe and
fresh without the need for excessive preservatives. This trend also extends to
the nutraceutical and functional foods segment, where non-thermal processing
methods are leveraged to preserve the bioactive compounds and health benefits
of ingredients, such as vitamins, antioxidants, and probiotics. This enables
the creation of functional foods without compromising nutritional quality.
Health and Wellness Market
There is ample opportunity for the continued growth
of non-thermal processing methods in emerging food and beverage sectors.
Manufacturers have the potential to explore inventive applications for these
technologies in products such as plant-based meat alternatives, baby food, and
functional beverages. By adapting these methods to diverse categories,
companies can effectively penetrate new markets and reach untapped consumer
HPP segment is expected to
dominate the market during the forecast period. High-Pressure Processing (HPP)
constitutes a significant sector in the global non-thermal processing market.
HPP serves as a food preservation technology that employs elevated hydrostatic
pressure levels to render bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds, and other pathogens
inactive in food products, all while maintaining their nutritional and sensory
attributes. The HPP division has witnessed substantial growth in recent years
owing to the rising consumer demand for minimally processed and safe food
items. The market size has expanded considerably, with HPP finding adoption
across various food and beverage categories, encompassing juices, dairy
products, ready-to-eat meals, seafood, and meat products. The primary impetus
behind the HPP segment lies in the mounting concerns surrounding food safety.
Instances of foodborne illnesses and outbreaks have underscored the risks
associated with consuming contaminated foods. HPP provides an effective means
to eradicate harmful pathogens, thereby enhancing the safety of food products
for consumption. HPP finds extensive application in the production of juices,
smoothies, and other beverages, enabling the preservation of the ingredients'
fresh taste and nutritional value. With consumers consistently prioritizing
food safety, clean label products, and extended shelf life, the HPP segment is
anticipated to sustain its growth trajectory.
Microbial Inactivation segment is expected to dominate the market
during the forecast period. The segment of microbial inactivation has witnessed
significant growth in recent years, driven by heightened concerns about food
safety, consumer demand for minimally processed foods, and regulatory
requirements. The market size has expanded as food manufacturers increasingly
adopt microbial inactivation techniques to ensure the safety and quality of
their products. The primary driver for the microbial inactivation segment is
the growing global concern over foodborne illnesses and outbreaks, which
continue to pose a significant threat to food safety. Consequently, food
manufacturers are embracing microbial inactivation methods to mitigate the risk
of contamination and safeguard their products. The adoption of microbial
inactivation techniques is further propelled by consumer preferences for clean
label products with natural ingredients. These methods, such as high-pressure
processing (HPP) and pulsed electric field (PEF) processing, offer an
alternative to chemical additives or excessive heat treatments, aligning with
the clean label trend. In the beverage industry, microbial inactivation methods
find widespread application, particularly in fruit juices, dairy products, and
alcoholic beverages. Given that food safety remains a paramount concern for
both consumers and regulators, the microbial inactivation segment is expected
to continue its growth trajectory.