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Shelf stable process wins award

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AUSTRALIA’s red meat industry is set to gain an additional $9 million a year thanks to a new innovative process that is putting Aussie lamb shanks on pub tables throughout the United Kingdom.

The secret of the lamb shank success is an advanced shelf stable process known as IFL Technology developed by Innovative Foods Australia in partnership with Tatiara Meat Company and Meat and Livestock Australia.

What this special process means is that the lamb shanks (in mint sauce or red wine and rosemary sauce), which are portion-controlled in a single serve and come in a plastic pouch, have a shelf life of up to 12 months without refrigeration or freezing.

The product is shipped in food grade containers without chilling or freezing, reducing costs and allowing more flexible distribution and storage.

The process uses modified retort technology to gently shelf stabilise foods for an un-refrigerated shelf life.

The process and its creators were presented with the prestigious 2002 Food Industry Innovation Award from the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology Incorporated (AIFST), at the 35th Annual AIFST Convention in Sydney.

The award is made for achievements in food science and technology and acknowledges a significant new development in a process, product ingredient equipment or packaging, which has achieved successful commercial application in any section of the Australian food industry.

The lamb shanks have been exported to the UK since December 2000 and when fully commercialised will add $9 million per annum turnover to the red meat industry. The value added impact is in the order of seven times that of the raw shank.

The process is also being used for a lamb curry product that is currently being tested in the UK. Collectively, these two products have opened a $20 million a year export market that was non-existent two years ago.

A further five products are currently being developed for export.

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