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Sustainable Biogas in Meat Processing

This Australian article shows the state of the art in biogas recovery and consumption.

While biogas has been around and used for centuries, this plant focusses on increasing the sustainability by controlling the anaerobic digesting more efficiently and managing the gas storage and consumption.

The “Green Energy Orb” is just a methane storage tank, but then greenwashing is allowed! 

Spectacular green energy orb to deliver sustainable profits to beef processor FoodProcessing

click the image to view the paper

Ice Pigs in Food Processing?

Talking of pigs in a food processing plant brings to mind an abattoir or a plant in a really sad state of cleanliness. However, this pig is actually behind new operations in Food Processing that improve hygine while saving capacity, chemical, product and water. The principle is explained in this video

I remember first hearing of pipeline pigs when the petroleum pipeline from Durban to Johannesburg was installed. This was basically a rigid plug with the diameter of the pipeline that is pumped through the pipeline between two different fluids. The novelty here is a flexible plug which can even separate fluids in a heat exchanger. The second video demonstrates the process although the transition back to process flow is somewhat spoiled by a demo failure.

While both this videos feature the Food Process Engineering company GEA, this is not to imply they are the only or a preferred supplier. The links below are to other online starting points, but it would be wise to approach your suppliers for further information.






Savings Through Reducing Pasteurisation Temperature

This is a video published by Tetra Pak, that describes research they undertook to establish whether the standard fruit juice pasteurisation conditions could be reduced to save energy while still guaranteeing shelflife and avoiding product “damage”.

They found that, for orange juice, the second pasteurisation could be reduced from 95C for 15 seconds to 80C. This reduces cost of energy for orange juice filling at 22 000 l/h over 500 shifts a year by 19% and carbon footprint by 20%.

They also found that the across plate temperature difference could be increased from 5 to 20C. This would have significant impact on the heat transfer surface required and hence the capital cost of the pasteuriser.

Some Focussed Food Based Reports – Free online Information

Over the past view weeks I have come across several rather focussed processing reports which I thought it was worhgwhile to share here in a simple form. I believe the image tells you what its about and clicking will open the document. The documents I link will generally be technology heavy although there will be there industry issues covered in detail. 

click an image below to view the relevant paper

IITA report on Cassava enterprises in West Africa


Small Scale Palm Oil Processing in Africa


Www iita org c document library get file p l id 786671 folderId 1074647 name DLFE 5910 pdf

Low cost sustainable cassava drying technologies pdf



Factory in A Box

One of the interesting exhibitors at Gulfood Manufacturing  next week, is UFT who are promoting a Factory in a Box. While this seems to be an extension of UFT’s normal turnkey factory offering, it makes me think of a time in the late nineties in South Africa when container based “factories” were very popular.

FiaB at Gulfood Manufacturing

This was driven in South Africa by an excess of used containers, Corporate Responsibility’s responses to the new South Africa and arguments of low cost, simplicity and portability allowing units to be relocated in the event of failure.

In my experience this didn’t work out as the excess of used containers was soon depleted, the costs of installation and modification where higher than predicted and relocation turned out to be expensive because of transport and service connection costs. Containers have fared better as retail or service outlets than as food processing facilities.

Research shows that the principle of an “instant”, prefabricated or modular factory that can be quickly installed on site is attractive. There are still many examples, including those developed by multinationals. This definitely needs to be borne in mind and investigated when new processing is being evaluated.

Click the images below to be directed to sites explaining the different concepts.

Flexible fast and functional Nestlé to adopt modular factories Nestlé Global

Www chocolateworld be pdfs CW concept pdf

Sint TECNOLOGIE Design and Realization Modular Slaughtering Systems

Biscuit Factory In A Box by WFP United Nations

Food Boccard From the modular solution of process to the complete factory www boccard com

Innovation in Food Modular Factories

Researching this has been an eye opener for me and it surely needs some research and evaluation to make sure we are not missing something by “going it alone”.

The Gelatin Bump Label – Food Safety Labeling

A new label is set to make a contribution towards reducing the terrifying food loss which is estimated to be one third of what is produced.

The Gelatin Bump Label will give consumers a much more realistic view of the safely of food in the kitchen.

click the image to read the full story

The label works by mimicking the deterioration process with gelatin filled label. The gelatin characteristics and concentration ensure that the gelatin this in parallel with the food leading to the gelatin liquifying at the same time as the food becomes unusable.

Improved measurement of when food is no longer fit for consumption will in turn reduce the amount of usable food that is currently discarded because the consumer is not sure of its state and safety.

This is an ingenious device and along with temperature logging systems that can give a dynamic measure of remaining shelf life during the life cycle of the product and other ingenious measuring and monitoring devices could have a major impact on waste which should in turn reduce costs.

The only losers should be the Freegans whose food supplies will be reduced!

The video features the inventor of the lable explaining the device.

click the image to see the video

This turned out to be an interesting story and was reporting widely. Googling Gelatin Bump Label will introduce you to a range of articles many of which are very good sources.

Will Food Waste Drive New Date Labelling


The last several years have seen a marked change in the understanding of food loss across the complete food value chain which has come as a shock to many. 

Food waste Infographic produced by FutureFood 2050

click the image to view the infographic

Solving the problem is definitely not a simple matter as many factors ranging from improved crops to household meal planning and supermarket shelf management to pest control will impact on the loss.

A recent paper called for a “move toward uniformity in date labeling, thereby decreasing confusion among stakeholders and reducing food waste.”

Applications and Perceptions of Date Labeling of Food Newsome 2014 Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety Wiley Online Library

click the image to view the paper

The report identified Date Labeling Uniformity, Regulatory Enforcement, Consumer Education and Indicator Technologies as important focus areas. The paper presents information from a number of studies, the essence of how well or badly consumers understand date labling of food appears near the end of the infographic at the head of this post.

Screenshot 2014 11 07 14 14

While the technological reasoning behind some of the Indicator Technologies being developed is sound, the work required to get the consumer to understand and use such technologies will need attention. If a temperature logger system is linked to a microbial growth model and used to predict the time to the end of a safe life understanding becomes even more difficult. Too much reliance on what the technology tells them may lead to consumers ignoring more traditional indicators of deterioration like acidity, smell and consistency.

So its an interesting time ahead. This might not be effecting smaller food businesses in sub Saharan Africa, but is interesting and helps the entrepreneur keep an eye on where it will need to move at some time in the future.

Smaller Bakery Process and Equipment – online video

After the previous post which showed an industrial baking operation, here are a few videos that show smaller scale baking. The first is a slightly mechanised bakery that is producing standard non industrial breads.

The next video is of a small artisinal bakery – these are becoming popular where health, environment and simplicity are traits that consumers are willing to pay more for.

The third video, published on YouTube by Vincent Talleu, shows his love for the tactile aspects of baking.

▶ Bakery Work YouTube

Please let me know if you find these videos useful or merely a waste of bandwidth and I will adjust my posting appropriately.

Small Scale Popcorn Equipment

Here is a business that can be set up with quality equipment at an affordable cost.

This is a manual oil kettle based popping plant which can produce 55 kg/h from the two poppers. More poppers can be combined with a larger sifting and cooling table. Poppers can also be combined in automated units.

please note this is not a recommendation, only a sharing of information

A Collection of Sorghum & Millet Information

If you need to get to know about Sorghum or Millet or want to get some of developments, this conference publication could be very useful.

Website presenting papers of the Afripro 2003 Conference

Unfortunately this conference is now 10 years old so doesn’t present the very latest state of the industry, but does contain two good reviews which are always relevant and some of the science of the time around food products, nutrition, plant breeding, sorghum based polymers and consumer preferences.

With international researchers like Professors Belton, Rooney and Taylor one can rest assured that the standard and focus of the work was of the highest standard. The web site presents a wide range of papers as well as the questions arising and the way forward through focus group and a prioritised list of research needs.

This conference was the output of a development funded project, so has no direct project follow up. However, there has surely been more work in the technology areas identified and maybe there were activities in ideas/groups born from the conference. I have not been able to find a collection of this type of information and would be interested to hear about your experiences and share further information here.