Posted: Apr 16, 2021
Servair, the French and African leader in airline catering, has been asked by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a gourmet menu suitable for consumption in space.
The intergalactic banquet will be enjoyed by French astronaut, Thomas Pesquet, and his colleagues, who will be travelling to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the upcoming Alpha space mission.
The ESA and NASA require a shelf life of at least two years at room temperature and follow very strict hygiene and health standards, so how do you create a gourmet product which is not only safe for space transportation but also tastes good?
To develop this menu, the Servair team had to follow strict nutrition rules (less than 500mg of salt per serving and no alcohol), change its production from fresh to sterilised – while keeping the same flavours – and adapt recipes so the food could fit into bags and be safe for consumption beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
The biggest challenge was developing a gourmet product with the constraints of heat treatment and reduced sodium and alcohol content, at the same time as delivering a menu which offered a dense texture suitable for consumption in weightlessness, the team explained.
To ensure the preservation of taste qualities while guaranteeing their duration through a very long shelf life at room temperature, Servair’s engineers worked in collaboration with the CTCPA (Technical Center for the Conservation of Agricultural Products) and chose a technology whereby the finished product is sterilised in a flexible bag.
The team believes their work will “enable long shelf-life food production with an excellent gustative finish”. The technique also has potential in other markets, including retail, military ‘meal ready to eat’ (MRE) and humanitarian food.
By Bethan Grylls
Source and complete article by: newfoodmagazine.com
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