The ability to protect food from going off is a high cultural feat. Even more than 10,000 years ago, storing food by protecting meat or excess crops from spoiling was essential for survival. What we now call packaging was also a top priority back then.
Pits in the ground, leaves and animal skins were places of storage. Using clay jugs and woven baskets, our ancestors were able to meet further requirements: they were able to do trade with food, they were able to take stocks of food with them on journeys, during military conflicts and in times of crisis. They thus developed many ways of preserving and transporting food. The maxim always applied that food should not only taste good, but also be conveniently available.
These days, instant foods are offered as hot or cold meals. Instant food is all the better quality the more nutritional it is and the more natural it tastes. The preparation process must be simple, preferably with a “success guarantee”. What is more, an instant meal is all the more interesting the longer it can be stored without a loss of quality – preferably regardless of the ambient temperatures in winter and in summer and in the widest range of climate zones. Instant food is a long-term form of nutrition! The crux here is the long-term stability / minimum storage life (best-before date) of the instant food.
This requires effective preservation methods. Dry food mixtures can have outstanding instant properties and they can taste extraordinarily good. With regard to long life, particularly high importance is attached to the dry mixing process. It must be gentle to the ingredients and take place pre- ferably without any oxygen, and, if possible, it should happen immediately before the filling and sealing process.
If you take into account that the taste of non-perishable foods changes, then you can cure meat and fish in salt or smoke it, ferment white cabbage to make sauerkraut, preserve fruit in alcohol or wine vinegar, or cook fruit preparations to make jam and marmalade. Chemical preservatives such as sorbic acid, sodium sorbate, potassium sorbate, calcium sorbate, benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, potassium benzoate and calcium benzoate have little influence on the taste but require declaration. Their effect is specific in different ways. Some preservatives kill fungal spores, others deactivate microbes or enzymes. Their use requires a particularly homogeneous, even distribution. For nutritional physiology reasons, their use should be kept to a minimum. Some instant food manufacturers advertise the use of preser- vatives that are identical to nature.