Food Processing

Food Processing | History, Methods, & Benefits

The way used to transform raw ingredients into highly demanded food products. Food Engineers have always worked for the betterment of people whether it is food processing automation, food processing preservation, or food processing. And packaging many novel technologies are introduced in the food industry to develop healthier, safer and nutritious food products,

What is processed food?

A food that is manufactured or preserved using different food processing methods. To increase the nutritional quality and safety value of those products is known as processed food.

List of processed food are :

  • Cheese
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Bread
  • Canned vegetables/fruits 
  • Savory snacks
  • Cake and biscuits 

History of Food processing

Food processing is a technique used to make and preserve food. It is as ancient as humans the need for survival generates the need to make and preserve food for a living. Crude processing methods were used in ancient times. That includes slaughtering, sun drying, fermenting, and some ways of cooking which include roasting, steaming, and smoking. 

In the early period when canned foods were not introduced soldiers use salt for preserving their food for a long period. These traditional methods were used to follow until the advent of the industrial revolution.

The food processing techniques used nowadays were developed in nineteen and twenty centuries. When Nicolas Appert invented a vacuum bottling technique that would supply food for French troops. This vacuum bottling technique later used by peter Durand to develop the canning process. But those cans were still not reliable as the lead used in cans becomes hazardous for food. Later canned food becomes staple food around the world. And later Louis Pasteur introduced the pasteurization method which created significant change in ensuring microbiological safety of food.

During the period of world war, 2 many advances in food processing occur. The space race and other consumer societies working as the food processing companies that time introduced advances. Such as spray drying, freeze-drying juice concentrates some preservatives like sodium benzoate was also introduced,. Artificial sweeteners and coloring agents were developed. At the end of twenty century ready to eat meals were developed.

How your favorite foods were used to process ??

Ever wonder the processed foods you are using today how they were processed in the early stages? And how this food product processing have evolved? Here find some of your favorite food product histories.


Food Processing

About thirty thousand years ago. The early Europeans used starches from the roots of cattails and ferns. Pounded into flour mixed with water and baked bread. Bread gained popularity because it is portable, nutrient-dense, and resisted spoilage.


About 7,000 years ago the earliest evidence was found of cheese making from archeological sites of Poland, where holed ceramic containers were used as rudimentary strainers for milk fat remains .but it is concluded later that cheese making was started as early as 8.000 years ago than this because of the domestication of sheep and goats.

Food Processing

We don’t know what is the first type of cheese but it is concluded from geohistorical backtracking that hot regions(middle east and south Asia) would have used salt to preserve their cheese because of the hot humid weather and feta cheese from the middle east is still developed from this process, whereas countries having colder regions require fewer salts for preservation in the recipe of cheese which helps to the growth of local microbes that add the characteristic flavor of famous cheese Swiss, Brie.


Food Processing

About 2400 B.C. Ancient Mesopotamians dipped vegetables in vinegar to preserve them for out-of-season consumption.


Food Processing

About 2,000 B.C. the evidence of noodles was recorded from stored millet-based noodles in a clay bowl in northwestern China.


Food Processing

About 3,400 years ago, Hernando Cortes brought the cocoa beans to Spain. Where sugar was added for the first time to prepare the chocolate.


Food Processing

In 1767 A British philosopher joseph priestly discovered oxygen and then placed a bowl of water above a brewery in Leeds England and discovered carbonated water.


In the 1950s A food scientist Robert.C.Baker at Cornell University coated some pieces of chicken with breading to increase demand for chicken in upstate New York.

5 methods of processing food 

Food Processing

Some common method of food processing are:


The process involves placing food in the can and heating it to the temperature that will kill all the microorganisms involved in food spoilage and preserving the food for a longer period. For example Canning of tomatoes: tomatoes are washed thoroughly then dipped in the boiled water to peel off the skin a Can is sterilized first and then lined up the jars and add 2tbsp of lemon juice or 1/2tsp of citric acid then add the tomato mixture and sealed through vacuum sealing process and sterilized again.


The definition of fermentation is the process in which the sugar breaks down by any microorganism under an anaerobic atmosphere.

Fermented products include wine, beer, cider, and this process also helps for the preservation of products like sauerkraut(the recipe of sauerkraut is finely chopped raw cabbage which is fermented by lactic acid bacteria ).


The activity of bacteria seizes at a low temperature so freezing is chosen as the preservation technique for many fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and ready-made meal .chest freezers, deep freezers, and upright freezers are used for preservations of these products.


It is a process where low heat treatment short time, high heat treatment short time, or ultraviolet heat treatment methods are used to destroy pathogens for safer products. Not only this process is used for dairy products but also canned foods juices and alcoholic beverages.


This process is used for enhancing the flavor of food and also for its preservation. Foods like meat and fish are cooked, preserved, and flavored using this process.

Many other process are also used such as drying (an older technique to reduce the water content of food for preservation and packaging), adding additives (to increase flavors, nutritional quality and safety level of food), salting (inhibit microbial growth in food), vacuum packaging (inhibit the growth of bacteria by producing an oxygen-free environment in the packaging of food), pickling.


  • Food becomes edible: crops like wheat and grains can’t be eaten in their raw forms so due to milling and grinding food process these crops are converted into flour and through flour different food products like bread, cereals, and pasta is formed.
  • Increases food safety and shelf life: harmful bacteria are removed through food processing which helps to increase the food product life.
  • Quality: Food processing increases the nutritional quality of food e.g. fortification of vitamins in some food products or lowering fat or sugar to make the food healthy,
  • Expediency: Food processing increases the comfort of people by introducing ready to eat meals, canned fruits, and vegetables that are easy to prepare and can be eaten on the go.
  • COST: buying frozen food products with the same nutritional quality as the fresh one and less cost stored for a longer period is the advantage of freezing (food process)


Many food processing companies like nestle, PepsiCo, dalda, National foods Mitchlles, and many more are working in Pakistan to achieve the fundamental purpose of food processing which is nutritious quality food available and distributed everywhere when it is needed. Consumers are the main assets of the food processing companies who trust them in the quality and safety of food products and that is how the food industry grows in Pakistan.

Food processing revolutionizes the world many new processes are developed to increase the shelf life and quality of food moreover many works have been done to reduce the food waste generated after food processing.

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Hey, there my name is Memoona Arif I am a Food Engineer by profession and a writer by heart. I am currently enrolled in the Masters of chemical engineering at NED university of engineering and technology. The writing was my leisure time activity to the date when I got to know this writing thing can actually benefit people. Now content writing is my passion and engineering brings the soul of analytical thinking and creativity is my passion. Love to write articles/science tech articles, short stories, and scripts in English and urdu . Writings adds happiness in my life

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