915 Labs, a Centennial, Colo., provider of microwave assisted thermal sterilization (MATS) technology for food processing and packaging, exceeded aggressive product development targets with proceeds from its recent $3 million initial round of funding. The use of funding includes engineering and designing the MATS-150 commercial-scale system and supporting international food companies in developing new products with MATS to enable the consumer packaged goods sector to meet growing consumer demand for high-quality, natural and additive-free packaged food.

Pilot-scale MATS systems are now deployed at a major CPG company and two co-packers, including Wornick Foods, Cincinnati.

“For some food categories, the resulting food quality is better than any other sterilization process ever used. The flavor, appearance and texture are top restaurant quality,” says John Kowalchik, president and CEO of Wornick Foods.   

Building the first commercial-scale MATS-150 system, capable of processing 150 food packages per minute, will commence in early 2016, and MATS-processed foods are due to hit store shelves in early 2017.

MATS natural food processing creates the possibility of a wide range of healthful, packaged, shelf-stable foods—from pastas, rice dishes and vegetable soups to spicy Indian dishes and gourmet ready-to-eat meals—each with an additive-free or clean label. 

“By drastically reducing cooking times to preserve flavor and nutrients, MATS removes the need to use additives to enhance flavor and simply makes processed food healthier,” says Mike Locatis, 915 Labs co-founder and CEO.