Packaged food trends in Kazakhstan and other CIS countries

packaged food retail display

Due to changes in consumers’ lifestyles, increased product ranges, and greater product availability, the development of retail chains has had a positive impact on sales of packaged food in Kazakhstan. There is a wide range of packaged food that is preferred more during hot seasons and a wide range that is preferred during cold seasons.

Due to the fact that the majority of consumers in Kazakhstan, CIS, and Asian countries have low and moderate disposable income, packaged food unit prices play a significant role in the purchasing process. Therefore, many manufacturers have started to offer interesting promotions and discounts that help consumers to save money.

In Kazakhstan, the old generation that is part of the post-Soviet culture is loyal to the country’s traditional and local food, which is mostly sold by domestic manufacturers and producers from CIS countries. Meanwhile, the young generation is more interested in Western products and ready meals, because such consumers are more open to new experiences and desire to save time in the cooking process.

Packaged food trends in CIS countries

Packaged food is one of the largest consumer markets in the CIS region. In the last decade, eating habits have changed significantly, due to fast-paced lifestyles, increasing product availability and the spread of modern retailing. A typical consumer in this region, who used to be loyal to traditional food products and local specialties, is becoming more interested in modern and convenient Western products than ever before. However, now consumers also face economic instability and shock price rises in many countries and have to make more rational choices in packaged food, trading down to traditional, standard, domestic and economy brands. Despite the current slowdown of consumer demand, the future outlook of packaged food sales remains positive. There are many categories that have considerable room for future growth. Baby food, ready meals, dairy, processed fruit and vegetables, breakfast cereals, sauces and dressings, and sweet and savory snacks are amongst the most dynamic categories, benefiting from product and packaging innovations and growing consumer interest.

An increasing number of consumers are now choosing packaged food rather than unpackaged alternatives. Volume consumption of packaged food per capita in the region is still lower than in Western European markets, but it is steadily growing: 19% in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, 13% in Kazakhstan, 6% in Russia, and 12% in Georgia over 2010-2015. One exception is Belarus, which saw a decline of 3% in volume per capita consumption over the last five years, as the market has suffered heavily from local currency devaluation and seen extreme price increases for imported products. The expanded presence of modern grocery retailers is creating demand for packaged food that is more convenient in storage, easy to consume and fuels demand by new product and packaging developments.

Uzbekistani consumers increasingly opt for packaged food variants as health concerns and the belief that packaged products are cleaner and healthier. Kazakhstan is characterized by growing demand for on-the-go snacking and fast meal preparation, as well as the growing popularity of internet grocery retailing in big cities. Georgian buyers are becoming more demanding as to what they eat and look for packaged food that provides information on ingredients, nutrition and expiration date. While packaged food has a widening prevalence across the region, some categories are still dominated by artisanal and generic products, particularly, staples such as bread, pastries, and cheese.

We are looking forward to establishing a mutually beneficial collaboration with you! Call us today +1 (514) 516 1178 or email us marketing@okean.kz!

For more information, please visit our website http://www.okean.kz and http://www.madeinkazakhstan.org

Partner with “Raspredbaza” LLC to grow your business in the CIS and Asia-Pacific regions.

Partner with “Raspredbaza” LLC to grow your retail business in the CIS and Asia-Pacific regions

The Kazakh company, “Raspredbaza” LLC, acting as an anchor company in a partnership with several Kazakh producers of meat, vegetables, and fruits is expressing an interest to collaborate with international retail chains planning to develop their private label products with a production location in Kazakhstan.

Кайсар

The criteria for the ideal partner are:

  • A retail chain planning to get involved in ready meals (chilled lunches, chilled pizza, chilled ready meals, dinner mixes, dried ready meals, frozen pizza, frozen ready meals, prepared salads, shelf stable ready meals etc.), organic processed food production, packaged baby food or become a producer of meat, vegetable or fruit puree for babies.
  • A retail chain willing to grow its business in the CIS or Asia-Pacific regions.
  • A retail chain, which is not yet involved in the halal sector in the CIS or Asia-Pacific regions.
  • A retail chain, which did business with Russia before the sanctions period.
  • A retail chain that has not yet developed its own private label products in the food industry.

The following advantages are listed hereinafter for your consideration of a strategic collaboration with a group of Kazakh companies lead by “Raspredbaza” LLC in Kazakhstan.

DOWNLOAD “Strategic collaboration proposal for retail chains” in pdf.

We are looking forward to establishing a mutually beneficial collaboration with you! Call us today +1 (514) 516 1178 or email us marketing@okean.kz!

For more information, please visit our website http://www.okean.kz and http://www.madeinkazakhstan.org

Partner with “Raspredbaza” LLC to grow your retail business in the CIS and Asia-Pacific regions.

Three main chemical changes that should be taken into consideration when designing freezing and frozen storage

freezing and frozen storage-1Quality losses are the major concern in frozen food industry. Ice formation involves a serious of modifications that deteriorate food quality. Although these modifications slow down at low temperatures, they continue during frozen storage conditions.

During the freezing of food, water is transferred into ice crystals and solutes concentrate in the unfrozen matrix. Slow freezing results in a maximum ice crystal purity and maximum concentration of solutes in the unfrozen phase, leading to equilibrium conditions.

In contrast, rapid freezing results in a considerable entrapment of solutes by growing crystals and a lower concentration of solutes in the unfrozen phase. The increasing concentration of solutes in the unfrozen matrix increases the ionic strength and can produce changes affecting the biopolymer structure. Water structure and water-solute interactions may be altered and interactions between macromolecules such as proteins may increase. Formation of ice crystals can produce the release of contents of food issues; reactions that normally do not occur in intact cells may occur as a consequence of the freezing process. The possibility that enzymes come in contact with different substrates increases, leading to quality deterioration during frozen storage. Most enzymes exhibit substantial activity after freezing and thawing and many enzymes show significant activity in partially frozen systems. Freezing can give unusual effects on chemical reactions; temperature and concentration of the reactants in the unfrozen phase (freeze concentration effects) are the main factors responsible for changes in the reaction rates in frozen products. In many frozen systems, reaction rates as a function of temperature go through a maximum at some temperature below the initial freezing point. This is a consequence of opposing factors: low temperatures that bring reaction rates down, and increasing solute concentration in the unfrozen phase that may increase these reaction rates. For example, oxidation of myoglobin (meat pigment) was accelerated at temperatures close to -5℃.

The most important chemical changes that can proceed during freezing and frozen storage are enzymatic reactions, protein denaturation, lipid oxidation, degradation of pigments and vitamins, and flavor deterioration.

ENZYMATIC REACTIONS

Storage at low temperatures can decrease the activity of enzymes in tissues but cannot inactivate them. In raw products, hydrolases (enzymes catalyzing hydrolytic cleavage) such as lipases (carboxylic ester hydrolases), phospholipases (phosphatide cleaving enzymes), proteases (hydrolases cleaving peptide bonds) etc., may remain active during frozen storage.

Hydrolytic enzymes can produce quality deterioration in products that are not submitted to thermal treatments before freezing: however, blanching of vegetables or cooking of meat inactivates these enzymes.

Lipases and phospholipases, hydrolyze ester linkages of triacylglycerol and phospholipids, respectively; the hydrolysis of lipids can lead to undesirable flavor and textural changes. Certain lipases can remain active in frozen food systems stored even at -29 ℃. Lipase activity is evident in the accumulation of free fatty acids. Freezing may accentuate lipolysis by disrupting the lysosomal membrane that releases hydrolytic enzymes, the release of short-chain free fatty acids can lead to hydrolytic rancidity, producing off-flavors and may interact with proteins forming complexes that affect texture.

Proteases catalyze the hydrolysis of proteins to peptides and amino acids; in meat these endogenous enzymes are considered beneficial, tenderizing the muscles during rigor mortis.

Conditioned meat on freezing not only retains the texture quality but also has a smaller tendency to drip on thawing.

 The browning of plant tissue is caused by enzymatic oxidation of phenolic compounds in the presence of oxygen. Disruption of cells by ice crystals can start enzymatic browning by facilitating contact between o-diphenol oxidase and its substrate.

The oxido-reductases are of primary importance because their action leads to off-flavor and pigment bleaching in vegetables, and browning in some fruits.

 In vegetable and fruit tissues, endogenous pectin methyl esterases catalyze the removal of the methoxyl groups from pectines. In the case of frozen strawberries, these enzymes produce gelation during storage. Hydrolytic enzymes, such as chlorophylases and anthocyanases present in plants, may catalyze a destruction of pigments in frozen tissues affecting the color, if they are not inactivated by blanching.

PROTEIN DENATURATION

The main causes of freeze-induced damage to proteins are ice formation and recrystallization, dehydration, salt concentration, oxidation, changes in lipid groups and the release of certain cellular metabolites. Freeze-induced protein denaturation and related functionality losses are commonly observed in frozen fish, meat, poultry, egg products and dough.

During freezing, proteins are exposed to an increased concentration of slats in the unfrozen phase; the high ionic strength can produce competition with existing electrostatic bonds modifying the native protein structure. Losses in functional properties of proteins are commonly analyzed by comparing water-holding capacity, viscosity, gelation, emulsification, foaming and whipping properties. Freezing has an important effect in decreasing water-holding capacity of muscle systems on thawing, producing changes also in protein solubility. This decrease occurs during freezing because water-protein associations are replaced by protein-protein associations or other interactions. Proteins exposed to the aqueous medium of the biological tissues have a hydrophobic interior, and charges (or polar) side chains in the surface. The migration of water molecules from the interior of the tissue during extracellular freezing leads to a more dehydrated state disrupting protein-solvent interactions. Protein molecules exposed to a less polar medium have a greater exposure of hydrophobic chains, modifying protein conformation. To maintain the minimum free energy, protein-protein interactions via hydrophobic and ionic interactions occur, resulting in protein denaturation and the formation of aggregates.

Oxidative process during frozen storage can also contribute to protein denaturation; oxidizing agents (enzymes, haem, and transition metals) can react with proteins.

LIPID OXIDATION

Lipid oxidation is another reaction that severely limits the shelf life of a frozen product, leading to loss of quality (flavor, appearance, nutritional value, and protein functionality). Lipid oxidation is a complex process that proceeds upon a free radical process. During the initiation stage, a hydrogen atom is removed from a fatty acid, leaving a fatty acid alkyl that is converted in the presence of oxygen to a fatty acid peroxyl radical. In the next step, the peroxyl radical subtracts a hydrogen from an adjacent fatty acid forming a hydroperoxide molecule and a new fatty acid alkyl radical process. Decomposition of hydroperoxides of fatty acids to aldehydes and ketones is responsible for the characteristic flavors and aromas (randicity).

Redox-active transition metals are major factors catalyzing lipid oxidation in biological systems; iron, in particular, is a well-known catalyst.

Both enzymatic and non-enzymatic pathways can initiate lipid oxidation. One of the enzymes considered important in lipid oxidation is lipoxygenase that is present in many plants and animals and can generate offensive flavors and also a loss of pigment colors. Lipid oxidation is particularly important in meats (including poultry) and seafood. Fatty meats and fish, in particular, suffer from this adverse reaction during long-term frozen storage.

Oxidative flavor deterioration is produced in both plant and animal products. It is identified more with frozen muscle than with frozen vegetable products because blanching is typically applied to vegetables prior to freezing.

Pigment degradation and color quality deterioration are related to lipid oxidation. Haem pigments in red meats, and carotenoid-fading in a salmonid flesh are subjected to oxidative degradation during storage. Chlorophyll is also capable of serving as a secondary substrate in lipid oxidation.

How ice recrystallization affects the stable shelf life of frozen food

ice recrystallisation-2

Slow freezing results in a low rate of nucleation and the production of a small number of large ice crystals, whereas fast freezing causes a high rate of nucleation leading to the formation of a large number of small ice crystals. However, during frozen storage ice crystals undergo metamorphic changes. Recrystallization reduces the advantages of fast freezing and includes any change in the number, size, shape, orientation, or perfection of crystals following completion of initial solidification. In frozen aqueous solutions, recrystallization is the process by which the average ice crystal size increases with time. Small ice crystals are thermodynamically unstable, having a high surface/volume ratio and therefore a large excess of surface free energy. The net result of minimizing free energy is that the number of crystals decreases at constant ice phase volume but their mean size increases. Recrystallization basically involves small crystals disappearing, large crystals growing and crystals fusing together and affects the quality of the product because small ice crystals make the product quality better, large crystals often cause damage during freezing.

There are different types of recrystallization processes: iso-mass, migratory, accretive, pressure-induced, and irruptive.

SURFACE ISO-MASS RECRYSTALLISATION

This includes changes in the shape or internal structure of a crystal and reduction of the defects as the crystal tends to a lower energy level maintaining a constant mass of ice. This “rounding off” process may be produced by surface diffusion of the water molecules. Ice crystals of irregular shape and large surface-to-volume ratio adopt a more compact configuration with a smaller surface-to-volume ratio and a lower surface energy. Sharper surfaces are less stable than flatter ones and show a tendency to become smoother over time.

MIGRATORY RECRYSTALLISATION OR GRAIN GROWTH

This refers to the tendency of large crystal in a polycrystal system to grow at the expense of the smaller ones. Ostwald ripening refers to migratory recrystallization that occurs at constant temperature and pressure due to differences in surface energy between crystals, which is proportional to the crystal curvature. Melting-diffusion-refreezing or sublimation-diffusion-condensation are possible mechanisms leading to an increase in average crystal size, a decrease in the number of crystals, and a decrease in surface energy of the entire crystalline phase.

At constant temperature and pressure, migratory recrystallization is the result of differences in the surface energies of large and small crystals. The small crystals, with very small radii of curvature, cannot bind the surface molecules as firmly as larger crystals, thus, small crystals exhibit lower melting points than large ones. Migratory recrystallization is enhanced by temperature fluctuations inducing a melt-refreeze behavior can lead to complete disappearance of smaller crystals during warming and growth of larger crystals during cooling, or to a decrease in size of crystals during partial melting and regrowth of existing crystals during cooling. Melt-refreeze should occur to a greater extent at higher temperatures and more rapidly for smaller crystals.

 ACCRETIVE RECRYSTALLISATION

This is produced when contacting crystals join together increasing crustal size and decreasing the number of crystals and surface energy of the crystalline phase. The proposed mechanism of crystal aggregation is surface diffusion. Accretion refers to a natural tendency of crystals in close proximity to fuse together, the concentration gradients in the areas between them are high, thus, material is transported to the point of contact between crystals and a neck is formed. Further, “rounding off” occurs because a high-curvature surface like this has a natural tendency to become planar. The number of molecules leaving a curved surface is larger than the number of molecules arriving on that surface. The continues exchange of molecules at the interface serves to reduce the curvature of a single crystal (forming a sphere) or to reduce the number of small crystals by adding to the larger crystals.

PRESSURE-INDUCED RECRYSTALLISATION

If force is applied to a group of crystals, those crystals that have their basal planes aligned to the direction of force grow at the expense of those in other orientations. This type of recrystallization is found not very frequently in foods.

IRRUPTIVE RECRYSTALLISATION

Under conditions of very fast freezing, aqueous specimens solidify in a partially non-crystalline state and not all the freezable water is converted to ice. Upon warming to some critical temperature, crystallization of ice occurs abruptly. This phenomenon is called ”irruptive recrystallization”; however “devitrification” is also used when the frozen specimen is totally non-crystalline after initial solidification.

Besides, it should be taken into account that the stable shelf life of the product is influenced by the ice crystal size. This is important in products that are consumed in the frozen state (e.g. ice cream). In these cases, a coarse or sandy texture is normally observed when large ice crystals are present.

How to reduce the moisture migration effect causing the quality loss of frozen food products

IMG_3854A slow freezing process of tissues can allow sufficient time for water migration due to osmotic force from the inner region of a cell to the freeze-concentrated intercellular region. This can result in cell desiccation, cell wall disruption, loss of turgor and crushing of the dried cell by the large intercellular ice mass. These phenomena affect not only the texture of the frozen product but also a significant drip loss during thawing and cooking can occur, leading to a loss of nutrients.

During frozen storage, the existence of temperature gradients within a product creates water vapor pressure profiles resulting in moisture migration and relocation of the water, both within and from the product. There is an overall tendency for moisture to move into the void spaces around the foodstuff and to accumulate on the product surface and on the internal package surface. In packaged frozen food, moisture migration leads to ice formation inside the package. Temperature fluctuations (cooling-warming cycles) produce a net migration of moisture from the interior towards the surface of the foodstuff, or to the wrapping. The temperature of the packaging material follows the temperature fluctuations in the storage room faster than the product itself. As the surrounding temperature decreases, moisture inside the pores sublimes and diffuses to the packaging film; when ambient temperature increases, the ice on the wrapping tends to diffuse back to the surface of the food; however, reabsorption of water in the original location is impossible, and the process can be considered irreversible, producing undesirable weight losses.

Moisture migration can be minimized by maintaining small temperature fluctuations and small internal temperature gradients and by the inclusion of internal barriers within the product and within the packaging.

Weight losses during freezing and frozen storage have economic consequences unless the product is packaged in films of low water vapor permeability. Typical weight losses during meat processing are 1-2% during chilling, 1% during freezing, and about 0.5-1% per month during storage and transport unless the product is packaged in an impervious film; the rate of sublimation doubles for every 10 ℃ rises in temperature.

Freezer burn is a surface desiccation defect caused by sublimation that can occur when frozen tissues are stored without an adequate moisture barrier packaging. It manifests itself as an opaque dehydrated surface, produced by moisture losses in frozen foods. An excessive desiccation can accelerate oxidative alterations at the surface of the product. Freezer burn increases oxygen contact with the food surface area and raises oxidative reactions, which irreversibly alter color, texture, and flavor. It is caused by the sublimation of ice on the surface region of the tissue where the water pressure of the ice is higher than the vapor pressure of the environment. In cold storage rooms, the temperature of the freezing coil (evaporator) is always lower than the surrounding air, therefore ice forms and accumulates on the coil. As moisture is removed, the relative humidity of the air in the cold room drops. Since the water vapor pressure over the surface of the frozen product is higher than that of the air, a constant loss of water in the form of vapor is produced from unprotected materials; sublimation continues as long as this vapor pressure difference continues.

Glazing, dipping, or spraying a thin layer of ice on the surface of an unwrapped frozen product helps to prevent drying. Freezer burn is prevented if a product is packed in tight-fitting, waterproof, vapor-proof material, avoiding evaporation. Surface coating of prepared meals reduces the effect of this quality loss and may even add value to the product.