HPP and Freeze Drying of Raw Pet Foods and Treats Workshop

March 15-16, 2023High Pressure Processing and Freeze Drying of Raw Pet Foods and TreatsNebraska Innovation Campus | Food Innovation Center |1901 N 21 ST Lincoln, NE 68588-6206

petfood conference, photo by Shutterstock


U.S. retail sales of cat and dog food hit $50 billion in 2021 – an increase of 15% from 2020 – and the growth is driven by consumer demand for premium, expanded fresh/raw category, human-grade, and science-based formulations. The UNL Food Processing Center is pleased to offer a workshop to pet food manufacturers and entrepreneurs interested in learning more about high pressure processing (HPP) and freeze drying technologies to produce high quality, safe raw pet foods and treats. 

The introductory and hands-on workshop provides participants an opportunity to interact with industry experts and university researchers and learn more about HPP, freeze drying, water activity, product shelf-life, food safety regulations, market trends and best practices. The workshop combines lectures and pilot plant demonstrations. There will also be an opportunity to visit HPP and freeze drying co-manufacturing facilities near Lincoln, Nebraska.

How are high pressure processing, freeze drying and water activity used in manufacturing high quality, safe raw pet foods and treats?


High-Pressure Processing (HPP) is a cold pasteurization technique by which products, already sealed in its final package, are introduced into a vessel and subjected to a high level of isostatic pressure (300-600 MPa) transmitted by water. HPP offers several key advantages over traditional heat pasteurization:  
• it inactivates harmful bacteria and food spoilage microorganisms, resulting in longer product shelf-life; 
• it reduces the need for food preservatives; and
• retain "raw-like" attributes of the food proect with minimal effects on flavor compounds, vitamins and nutrients. 

Freeze Dryer
Freeze Dryer

Freeze Drying is a process by which water is removed from a food product by sublimation (i.e., allowing solid water or ice turn into water vapor). Of the different methods of dehydration, freeze drying produces a high quality food product that has a porous, non-shrunken structure that facilitates rapid and nearly complete rehydration when water is added to the freeze-dried product at a later time. 

 The goal in freeze drying is to reduce the water activity of the pet food product to a level that does not support microbial growth and minimizes chemical changes and physical deterioration, even when the product is stored at room temperatures for an extended period of time. The initial water activity, ingredients, storage conditions and packaging material properties have a combined effect on the shelf-life of a dry pet food product.


The UNL Food Processing Center is proud to offer this workshop in collaboration with its industry partners:

Intended Audience

This workshop is geared towards product developers who want to learn more about best practices of using HPP and freeze drying technology in pet food manufacturing or any food industry professionals with the goal of expanding their HPP and freeze drying knowledge base.

Session Topics

(subject to change)

Pet Food Processing: Trends and Innovations

HPP Equipment, Operation and Process Variables

Freeze Drying Equipment, Operation and Process Variables

Microbial Food Safety, Validation and Product Shelf-Life Extension

Packaging Considerations with HPP and Freeze Dried Pet Foods

Working with Co-Manufacturers in Recipe Development, Raw Meat Processing, High Pressure Processing, Freeze-Drying and Packaging Solutions



Dr. Grace Danao
Research Associate Professor,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

Matt Graunke
Sales Engineer and Marketing,
Parker Freeze Dry 

Dr. Tony Moses
Dr. Tony Moses
Director of Product Innovation and Fellow,
CRB Group 

Dr. Steven Moore 
Vice President, Food Safety, Quality, Regulatory and Innovation (FSQRI)
Petsource by Scoular

Dr. Vinicio Serment-Moreno
HPP Applications and Food Processing Specialist, Hiperbaric 

Franklin Sumargo, M.S.
Research Technologist, Food Processing Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln  

Zachary Cartwright, Ph.D.
Lead Food Scientist and Isotherm Application Specialist,

Tom Woodward
Chief Commercial Officer, Universal Pure


Day 1, Wednesday, March 15th, 08:00 – 19:30 Food Innovation Center at Nebraska Innovation Campus, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • All lectures and hands-on demonstrations will be held all day at the Food Innovation Center.

  • All registered participants will receive a digital badge from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for having completed this training.

  • A digital badge is an indicator of accomplishment or skill that can be displayed, accessed and verified online. The digital badge  may be attached by the participant to their LinkedIn profile.

  • All registered participants will have access to all workshop materials using an online learning management system (NU Advance) for up to 6 months after workshop completion.

  • Continental breakfast items, lunch, snacks and refreshments will be provided throughout the day and are included in the workshop registration cost.

  • At the end of the workshop, there will be a Networking Social with ingredient suppliers, equipment manufacturers, co-manufacturers and university researchers at the Nebraska Innovation Campus.

Day 2, Thursday, March 16th, 08:00 – 13:00. Optional: Field trip to HPP and freeze drying co-manufacturing facilities near Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Optional: Field trip to HPP and freeze drying co-manufacturing facilities near Lincoln, Nebraska Roundtrip transportation between Nebraska Innovation Campus and these facilities will be provided.
  • Bottled water and light snacks will be provided. This optional field trip is limited to 25 people.

Workshop Fees & Registration

The fee for the one-day workshop (March 15, 2023), which includes digital badge for workshop completion, access to workshop materials for up to six months after the workshop conclusion, meals and break refreshments, campus parking, and participation in a Networking Social is $450 per person. Due to the hands-on activities and demonstrations in the pilot plant, seats in the workshop are limited. Early registration is encouraged.
For those who want to join the optional field trip on March 16, 2023, please make sure you indicate on your registration form that you want to participate in the field trip. Workshop attendees should contact Dr. Danao by February 15th whether you will be able to join the field trip. There is no added charge to this field trip, but seats are limited to 25 people. Early registration is encouraged.

Item DescriptionFee
Registration for one-day workshop (March 15, 2023) Includes digital badge, access to workshop materials for up to 6 mos., meals and break refreshments, campus parking $450 per person

Optional: Field trip, half-day (March 16, 2023)
Includes round trip transportation to facilities, light snacks, bottled water, and campus parking. Pick up/drop off will be at the Nebraska Innovation Campus.

Free, but space is limited to the first 25 people who choose this option on their registration form.


  • Individuals who wish to participate in the Networking Social only on March 15th (i.e., not attend the full day workshop) to network and distribute their company materials to workshop attendees, please contact Dr. Danao (HPPServices@unl.edu) to register for the event for a nominal fee.
  • University students who wish to participate in this workshop and field trip for a reduce workshop fee should contact Dr. Danao (HPPServices@unl.edu) directly to register.


Travel & Lodging

Attendees are responsible for their own hotel reservations. 

The Nebraska Innovation Campus features the Scarlet Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, which is located less than one block from the Food Innovation Center on the Nebraska Innovation Campus. The hotel features several restaurant options and a coffee shop along with many other amenities.

In addition, the Scarlet Hotel offers free shuttle service to and from the Lincoln Airport. Attendees can also make arrangements directly with the hotel for free shuttle service to and from the Lincoln Haymarket area each evening for dining and shopping. The location and services provided by the hotel will allow you to visit Lincoln without needing to rent a car or utilize a taxi.

As a workshop attendee, you will also receive a code that will allow you to park in the paved lot north of Transformation Drive (i.e., located across the street from the Scarlet Hotel and one block from the Food Innovation Center) while you are on campus.

Scarlet Hotel logo

Scarlet Hotel, Nebraska Innovation Campus
2101 Transformation Drive Lincoln, NE 68508, 531-300-6300

Each room provides:

  • Complimentary WiFi, 55-inch HDTV
  • Dedicated workspace
  • Sitting area with an overstuffed high back leather chair. 

Individual Cancellations are due 24 hours prior to arrival.

Book Hotel

A limited number of rooms have been reserved at a discounted price of $139 + tax per night. This rate is for 1-2 people per room and includes breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Breakfast vouchers can be requested at check-in. This special pricing is available until January 15, 2023 or until the room block is full. To obtain the discounted pricing, please reference the UNL FPC HPP and Freeze Drying Workshop.

Additional accomodations can be found in Lincoln's Haymarket District. Some of the hotels have shuttles to transport you to the NIC.


Ground Transportation


OMALiNK Airport Shuttle