The technology involves the preservation of cooked or pre-cooked food at warm temperature (60 Degree Celsius and above), while maintaining the organoleptic properties of the food. Depending on the food types, the technology can extend the shelf-life of the food for a period of time from one to three weeks, allowing to have always a ready-to-serve meal.
At a temperature of 60 Degree Celsius and higher, the growth of microorganisms is restricted as bacteria grow rapidly between 5 to 58 Degree Celsius. Nutrients in the food can be retained as the food is not exposed to freeze-thaw process that results in cell lysis. There could also be higher food digestibility with the hydrolysis of complex carbohydrates and proteins.
The technology is patented and has two main pillars. The first is the framework of temperature control and the second is the packaging of the food once cooked. These two elements allow to preserve food at warm temperature for a timing that can go from days to weeks.
In addition to the two main pillars, the trade secrets involve the expertise and knowledge of food for better and longer preservation at warm temperature (i.e. ingredients, formulation, etc.).
This technology holistically involves ingredient, processing and packaging aspects to achieve the goal to extend shelf-life while maintaining the organoleptic characteristics of cooked and pre-cooked food.
It is possible to incorporate the technology into:
(i) Industrial and household kitchen appliances
(ii) Automatic distribution and delivery business
(iii) Food production and operation by food manufacturers
(iv) Food preparation process by food caterers
As compared to the convention 'Cold chain' method, this 'Warm chain' solution could be explored for:
(i) Energy efficiency. Temperature is consistently kept warm during cooking, storage and serving; without the need for chilling, freezing, thawing and reheating process.
(ii) Improvement in organoleptic performance- taste, texture and digestibility of food. No thermal stress/phase changes to impact these sensorial properties.
(iii) Food waste reduction
(iv) Consistent ready-to-serve safety
(v) Labour and operation cost reduction