Insights from BCC Research

Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilization (MATS) the Future of Food Steralization

Posted by Jeff Schmerker on Oct 5, 2017 11:00:00 AM

In as little as a year, your food could be coming to the table thanks to MATS—a revolutionary food-preparation technology formally known as microwave assisted thermal sterilization.

MATS was developed by researchers at Washington State University and may be utilized by online retail giant Amazon, which would sell tasty meals which don’t require refrigeration. Since the dishes don’t require refrigeration, they’d be simple to stockpile and ship. Amazon has already ventured into food delivery and recently purchased Whole Foods Market Inc.

“The method involves placing sealed packages of food in pressurized water and heating them with microwaves for several minutes,” noted Reuters. “Unlike traditional processing methods, where packages are in pressure cookers for up to an hour until both bacteria and nutrients are largely gone, the dishes retain their natural flavor and texture, the company said. They also can sit on a shelf for a year, which would make them suitable for Amazon’s storage and delivery business model.”

MATS are part of a new wave of food sterilization technologies with origins in the U.S. military, who pioneered MREs—meals ready to eat.

“Because the meals have long shelf-lives at room temperature, they could be offered at prices significantly lower than the cost of take-out,” reported Eater. “MREs made by other companies and sold online cost between $4 and $7 per meal; Amazon currently offers from third party sellers.”

Maple Valley, Washington-based Food Chain Safety is the exclusive provider of the MATS food sterilization system.

Feeding a growing world population will require innovations, such as MATS, to safely distribute food on a massive scale. This may be why the market for sterilization technologies is experiencing huge growth around the world—especially in places with exceptionally high population growth and density.

Food Steralization Market Across the Globe

The sector is booming in the Asia-Pacific region, and food sterilization is just one part of a booming general sterilization revolution. Growing awareness about disease, the expansion of processed foods and beverages and better healthcare infrastructure are all combining to grow the Asia-Pacific sterilization technologies market, which is expected to grow at 6.5% annually through 2021, when it could be valued at $2.5 billion.

Asia’s growth is not the paralleled in North America, although the market is still poised to grow at 5.6% annually through 2021, when it could be valued at $2.9 billion. Why? Even though the market is mature, leaders in this segment are still growing thanks to collaborations, acquisitions and production

Sterilization technologies in the food and beverage industry in the Asia-Pacific region are forecast to grow an average 6.5% annually through 2021, according to a recent report by BCC Research. By 2021, the market there could be worth $520 million, and according to the BCC Research report, food and beverage sterilization technologies account for more than one-fifth of the region’s total sterilization technologies market. Within the Asia-Pacific region, China accounts for 25% of the market, while Japan nabs 21% and Australia has 13%.

In general, the report notes, sterilization technologies are poised to grow in the Asia-Pacific area. “As with other global regions, market influences in Asian countries include aging populations, the need to combat emerging and persistent pathogens, expansion of the processed food and beverage market to accommodate changing lifestyles and growth of the electronics industry,” the report states. “Greater access to healthcare and growing populations, particularly in India and China, are also contributing factors.”

For more information on food sterilization and the global markets for sterilization technologies, click on the button below to download a free report overview.

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Topics: Chemicals