Ohmic heating offers a sustainable alternative for processed fruits and vegetables

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Ohmic heating offers a sustainable alternative for processed fruits and vegetables

Ohmic heating of foodstuff is the application of high voltage to the product flowing inside a heat exchange unit. The liquid food reacts as an electric resistance and generates heat through the Joule effect.

This was the technology that JBT Corporation showcased at the 2024 Fruit Logistica in Berlin. 

"Heating fruits and vegetables in this way is very effective and allows us to kill microbes and preserve quality. The color is better, and the taste is better," Antonio Aldini, R&D manager at JBT tells FreshFruitPortal.com.

The technology can be applied to a variety of processed products, including baby food, soups, sauces, as well as ready-meal products.


"Big companies want to stop burning fuel, oil, and natural in their production processes by 2030-40, so they want to use green sources of energy," says Aldini. "Ohmic heating machines use electricity, so companies want to replace their old steam heaters with this product to use green energy."

Aldini adds that the product is becoming more and more popular, not a niche product anymore, with a wide range of products that can be treated with the heater. 


In Europe, companies adopting these sustainable alternatives can get clean certifications through specific contracts with electricity suppliers, "and investors want to see this because it increases the stock value of big companies."

In terms of cost, the initial investment with sustainable systems is higher, "because the machine is more sophisticated, but the price is paid very quickly with a very high-quality product."

Running costs are another issue, and Aldini says it depends on where the machine is used, for example, electricity in Italy is very expensive, but in the U.S. and France, it's cheaper.

"In regions with access to renewable energy sources, this product becomes significantly more advantageous."


"We have a presence in all fruit-producing regions, the center part of the world, Mexico, Colombia, China, the Mediterranean, etc.," says Aldini. 

Essentially, JBT is present in all developed countries that process fruits and vegetables. 

JBT's strategy to approach clients is done through pilot plans where customers can see how the product works in small factories. 

"We do tests every year so the customer can see the quality of the product, we compare with traditional sterilizer and Ohmic sterilizer so they can see the results in a very practical way," says Aldini.


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