DANBURY, Conn., August 7, 2003 — Praxair, Inc. (NYSE: PX) today announced new applications for its Better Than Fresh™ beverage processing system. The new applications are for low acid juices, including carrot, and dairy-based beverages both of which are major pillars in the functional food segment. The Praxair® Better Than Fresh™ technology utilizes carbon dioxide CO2 as a processing aid, in lieu of heat, to significantly extend the shelf life of low acid beverages while retaining the nutritional and sensory characteristics of fresh product. The Better Than Fresh™ process has previously been commercialized for the orange juice industry as an alternative to thermal pasteurization.
"This is a new product category that holds great potential," commented Sam Johnston, Praxair business development manager. "Our success with orange juice has created an opportunity to apply the technology to less acidic fruit and vegetable juices. In addition, we see a growing trend in dairy-based foods which will also benefit from Better Than Fresh™ processing." Carbon dioxide has been used for years to extend the shelf life of dairy products such as cottage cheese when trace amounts are sparged into product. Praxair’s recent testing with the its dense-phase CO2 system is producing consistent results including the finding that with the dense-phase CO2 process, the number of spoilage microorganisms is greatly reduced allowing for extended shelf life without subjecting product to detrimental levels of heat in thermal pasteurization.
Praxair conducts tests on scaled-down commercial equipment in its Food Technology Laboratory near Chicago. The lab evaluates product produced at a rate of 0.5 gallons/minute to simulate actual production conditions. In product evaluation, Praxair looks at sensory attributes, nutritional components, microbial control and shelf life testing. As on option for customers, the demonstration units are skidded for transport and easily installed to allow testing at their facilities.
Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2002 sales of $5.1 billion. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric and process gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies bring productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others. More information on Praxair is available on the Internet at www.praxair.com.