915 Labs Taps Professional Chef To Create Signature Dishes For MATS Processing

Partners Create Great Tasting, Nutritious Foods for the Shelf

DENVER, Aug. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- 915 Labs has collaborated with professional chef and culinary expert Michael Kuefner from Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food, a division of NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas, to develop signature dishes using 915 Labs advanced food preservation system.

Brightwater Chef Michael Kuefner and 915 Labs CEO Mike Locatis.

Brightwater Chef Michael Kuefner and 915 Labs CEO Mike Locatis.

Chef Michael partnered with Marcia Walker, Director of Food Innovation at 915 Labs, to create clean label dishes for processing with microwave assisted thermal sterilization, or MATS™, including a gourmet mac & cheese, Hungarian goulash, and a Thai coconut soup.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with Chef Michael to demonstrate the ability of MATS to produce truly restaurant-quality food in a shelf-stable format," said Mike Locatis, CEO, 915 Labs. "We're planning to make these chef-inspired signature dishes, including our breakfast frittatas, available to food companies for private or white labeling. These MATS-Made dishes are exactly what ecommerce providers like Jet, Boxed and Amazon need to meet the demand for high quality, direct-to-consumer food."

MATS replaces conventional thermal processing, or retort, with a healthier way of preserving food for the shelf. The FDA-accepted MATS produces packaged foods that are closer to fresh in taste, texture and nutrient profile than anything commercially available today.

"MATS is a game-changer because you don't have to develop the product for the process like you do with retort," said Chef Michael. "The result is great food that tastes better than homemade."

Chef Michael is the lead culinary arts instructor at the Brightwater culinary arts program which is housed in a new state-of-the-art facility funded by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.

"As a certified chef with training in food science and microbiology, Chef Michael is able to really appreciate the difference MATS offers and what it means to the future of food," said Locatis.

Conventional thermal processing subjects food to high heat for an hour or more, which damages the food and forces food companies to adjust recipes and add flavor and texture enhancers to compensate. By shortening the time food is exposed to high heat, the unique MATS process keeps natural nutrients and flavors intact and eliminates the need for additives, preservatives and excess sodium.

"MATS completely changes the quality and variety of foods for the shelf," said Locatis. "With this technology, food companies can put restaurant-quality food in a package and ship it with ambient (room temperature) distribution."

Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food approaches food as art, food as wellness, and food as business to offer an entirely unique methodology to the culinary arts. The culinary school's goal is to develop leaders who combine culinary skills with the ability to recognize and address complex food issues. In addition to artisanal food, culinary arts, butchery, pastry and baking, and beverage management, Brightwater offers exclusive courses focused on culinary nutrition, food waste reduction, and food security.

915 Labs owns a growing portfolio of over 60 patents worldwide related to MATS and its companion pasteurization technology. The company currently manufactures pilot-scale and commercial production MATS systems along with providing a suite of services including product development and custom and stock packaging.

MATS systems are located in the United States, Australia, South Korea and India. The first MATS-processed foods were launched in June in Asia and a major food CPG company plans to put MATS-Made products on U.S. retail shelves in early 2018.