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Understand the Stages of Food Processing

Posted by OAFVC on Nov 30, 2018 9:00:00 AM

If you're looking to launch and grow your food business it's important to educate yourself on the different stages of food processing and the tools available. A food processing and commercial kitchen facility is one of those tools; here's what food processing means at OAFVC.

Three Stages of Food Processing

When we hear “food processing,” we might immediately jump to conclusions about "processed foods," so let's break down what food processing is.

Primary Food Processing

Not all processed foods are bad, and almost all foods must be "processed" in some way to make them edible. Primary food processing turns agricultural products into something that can eventually be consumed.

Primary food processing happens after harvesting, and examples include:

When processing your food, make sure your room is sanitary. Maintaining national standards of food safety, OAFVC’s fruit and vegetable processing room is regularly cleaned, with food-grade hygiene baths for cleaning produce. The temperature is also controlled and can be adjusted to the type of food being processed. A large prep table and centrifuge drying also make it easy to clean and prep large quantities of fruits and vegetables.

Secondary Food Processing

Secondary food processing is the process of creating ready-to-use ingredients and edible food — usually from ingredients that have already been through the primary stage of food processing.

Usually, a combination of different primary processed foods help to create a final edible product.examples of secondary food processing include:


 Anyone can engage in secondary food processing, whether it’s done in a commercial factory, small bakery, or at home.

If you’re looking to scale up the amount of secondary food processing you’re doing, OAFVC has the equipment you need, including:

  • A Hops Pelletizer — great for processing hops
  • Double stacked convection oven & baker’s racks — suitable for breads and cakes
  • Large tilting kettle — for processing jams

Tertiary Food Processing

Tertiary food processing is the commercial production of processed foods (like frozen tv-dinners). These are the foods that often get a bad rap — sometimes rightfully so because they've been stripped of their nutrients, contain too much sugar and salt, and too little fiber.

But with snap freezing technology, you can now process your products through the tertiary stage without adding artificial preservatives, and still preserve the nutrients and texture of your meals. Pasta Tavola, for example, make frozen, meal-ready ravioli without the use of artificial preservatives — and it tastes great when reheated. At OAFVC you can make great tasting frozen meals using liquid nitrogen to flash freeze products.

Scale Up Your Food Processing At OAFVC

Most of the businesses that use OAFVC’s equipment do so for primary and secondary food processing — producing great tasting, innovative products.

If you’re interested in growing your business, start creating your business plan with this free checklist. Get practical advice on best practices, equipment know-how, and see how you can set your business apart.

Farmers Market Business Plan Checklist


Topics: Food Processing