HPP and Freeze Drying of Raw Pet Foods and Treats ON DEMAND

This successful workshop is now an ONLINE COURSEHigh Pressure Processing and Freeze Drying of Raw Pet Foods and Treats

Register for the Course
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 & Marketing Manager,
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

About the Course

Thank you for your interest in our online course on High Pressure Processing and Freeze Drying of Raw Pet Foods and Treats. The materials in this course were developed for an in-person workshop held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on March 15-16,2023. Requests to host a hybrid workshop could not be accommodated, so the best thing we could do was allow interested parties to enroll in this complementary self-paced, online course to the workshop. Those who enroll will have access to all workshop materials for six months from the time of enrollment.

How to Enroll and Access the Course

All workshop materials, including recorded presentations, will be available on NU Advance, the University's course delivery platform for online non-credit and professional development offerings.

Step 1: Enroll in NU Advance ($300 USD fee)

Step 2: Access workshop materials online 

NU Advance Enrollment.pdf (step-by-step guide)

NOTE: Be sure to use the same email address and password used to enroll in the course when logging in to access the online course.  Videos of the presentations and pilot plant demonstrations during the in-person workshop have been uploaded in the course. We are working on uploading pictures of the sample products that were high pressure processed and/of freeze-dried that were used in the pilot plant demonstrations.

Step 3. Tell us about yourself

In order to better serve our online students, please fill out the following survey.

Step 4. Earning Your Digital Badge Learn more about the digital badge

All students enrolled in the online course has the opportunity to earn a digital badge (in lieu of paper certificate) for completing the training. To earn the badge, students must demonstrate understanding of the fundamentals of high pressure processing (HPP), freeze drying, and water activity by taking a quiz and earning a minimum score of 70% . The quiz in the online course will be posted during the first week of April 2023. Presentation Slides All the presentation slides are available through the course as interactive presentations, but they are not download-able. To get a copy of a presentation, please contact the corresponding speaker directly.

For More information

please contact Dr. Grace Danao