Available exclusively through 915 Labs, Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilization (MATS™) and Microwave Assisted Pasteurization (MAPS™) solve one of the most pressing challenges facing the food industry today: providing consumers with high quality, natural and additive-free packaged foods.

By shortening the time food is exposed to high heat, the patented MATS and MAPS technologies preserve the color, taste and texture of food — while eliminating the need for excess sodium, additives and enhancers.

The result? High-quality, great-tasting, safe and convenient packaged foods.


 
915 Labs offers a solution that meets the needs of big food today and has the potential to contribute in a very real way to improving the global food ecosystem.
— Michael Locatis, CEO, 915 Labs
 
 
 
 

Processing food with MATS is dramatically different than conventional food processing, also called ‘retort.’ In conventional processing, packaged foods are placed in pressurized cookers at high temperatures for up to an hour. To mask the damage caused by this prolonged exposure to high heat, salt, flavor, texture and color enhancers, and other unnatural ingredients must be added.

MATS simultaneously immerses packaged food in pressurized hot water and heats with microwave energy at a frequency of 915 megahertz, eliminating pathogens and spoilage microorganisms in a matter of minutes. This patented process preserves the nutrients, color, texture and flavor of foods — while providing a shelf life equivalent to conventionally processed foods.


 
MATS has the potential to emerge as a game-changer.
— John Nash, Head of Strategic Research at AMI Consulting
 

 
When you shorten cooking time [with MATS], you retain more nutritional value. You produce a product that is more appealing to the consumer.
— Juming Tang, Ph.D., MATS inventor and Distinguished Chair of Food Engineering, Washington State University
 


MAPS is similar to microwave sterilization and in fact, can be performed on the same system. In microwave pasteurization, foods and beverages are heated at 915 MHz to a temperature of 70-90° for up to 10 minutes, eliminating viral and bacterial pathogens. The result is restaurant-quality, ready-to-eat foods and beverages with a shelf life of up to 12 weeks. With a longer shelf life, MAPS-processed foods and beverages also help reduce food waste due to spoilage across the supply chain.

MAPS-FRIENDLY FOODS

Refrigerated product lines of prepared foods and beverages that are sold in retailers, convenience stores and/or food service channels are all ideal for MAPS processing, including: 

  • prepared foods and ready-to-eat meals 
  • beverages • vegetables 
  • fruits 
  • dips, sauces and salsas 
  • baby food 
  • egg dishes.

MAPS processing can also be used as a safety intervention step to improve the safety of prepared, ready-to-eat and frozen foods and batch ingredient sold or served by grocery chains, restaurant chains, convenience stores, nursing homes, hospitals, school meal programs and commissaries/cafeterias.

Microwave processing creates the possibility of a whole new range of healthful, shelf-stable foods — from tender spears of asparagus to spicy Indian dishes to seafood and pasta — each with an additive-free label. Even foods that have never been successfully thermally processed can be processed with MATS and MAPS, including eggs and other diary ingredients, seafood and pasta.

Food companies around the world are busy working to develop new food products with MATS and MAPS.  When developing new recipes for microwave processing, culinary experts are able to start with 50 percent less sodium than comparable packaged foods — and to eliminate artificial enhancers and additives.

With the light touch of microwave processing, micronutrients and flavors in foods remain intact, making food more naturally nutritious and flavorful. As a result, spicy cuisines and other highly flavorful meals can be prepared and packaged for the shelf and refrigerator case.

With MATS and MAPS, foods:

  • are naturally nutritious
  • need fewer additives and salt
  • taste freshly prepared
  • offer a restaurant-quality dining experience


 
MATS offers significant improvement in product quality and energy efficiency over legacy process technologies. Food color, texture, flavor, and nutrition is better preserved through less over-heating.
— Michael Hyche, Principal at Process Capability Partners, a consulting firm specializing in shelf-stable food manufacturing