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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.

Tired of “One Third of All Food Produced is Lost or Wasted”

Its true that “One Third of All Food Produced is Lost or Wasted” but it does get a bit boring when we hear it over and over along with a means of reducing it which is simple and obvious. This is made worse by the fact that these means of reducing loss are often very daunting and require actions that you have little effect on.

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This CTA briefing paper does a good job of summarizing the various places and ways in which these losses can be addressed. It for example shows that consumers in upper income communities need to take care of their actions and reduce losses – something that's hard for the individual to impact on and where no progress is evident. But we should all keep enthusiastic about it and do whatever we can to reduce waste even if our little effort is not going to be significant on its own.

As a Food Processor, a way of looking at this and keeping up the enthusiasm is to see the other benefits of saving food, which are not always considered. Whatever you do to reduce losses in you plant doesn't only reduce losses of food it

  • Reduces agricultural input usage
  • Increases sustainability of you business
  • Saves you money, when the action required (as is often the case) does not require extra cost
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduction in water and energy consumption


Canned Food – Growing Consumption

What at first glimpse seems to be a rather crude processing technology that produces mass market foods, is growing in the UK and seems to be attracting attention.

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At first glimpse it also appears to be an energy intensive process, but it needs to be compared to the energy input along the whole value chain and over time. I also needs to be seen as a cooking process, a preservation technique and as food packaging.

Some time ago I did a Google Plus post on a recent study that claimed the nutrition provided by canned beans was cheaper than that fom dried beans. I noted that this seemed unlikely and undertook to follow up on it. I contacted the author and received the paper on which the report was based. The reason was clear, in calculating the cost of nutrition from dried beans the cost of preparation time was included. This is the correct approach but the time calculated for dried beans was not just for the preparation and cooking, but included the hours that the beans were soaked in water. Canned obviously beans did not have such a cost included and the total cost worked out to be lower than the dried beans.

This just shows how careful one needs to be in these kinds of evaluations. Other issues that could be important when convenience, considering canned foods is the low cost of storage, the long shelflike and the reduced in home cooking needs. On the negative side the high cost of packaging and the limitations on the products that can be offered through canning.


Enviromental Success Stories

This document is really well worth the read.

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Two things that are interesting about the examples discussed are:

1) They mainly reduce the factories impact on the environment by saving water, energy or reducing emissions which are often product, raw material or byproduct. So the fixed production costs are very often reduced at the same time as the environment benefits.

2) They are seldom complicated or technologically groundbreaking and are often common sense.

A few examples are

  • Campbell Soup reduced energy consumption by 4,85 and water by 13,45% by installing utility meters, introducing recycling, installing energy saving light bulbs and introducing low flow water nozzles.
  • Craft Foods reduced its energy cost by 60% for a new cold store by installing it underground in a limestone formation.
  • General Mills produces 90% of the steam it uses in its milling and preparation plant for Breakfast cereal production production, by burning the bran produced in the plant.
  • Musco Ollives uses 15 tons of olive pressing waste a day to produce enough steam from waste water to produce power for production.
  • Kroger distributes 30 million meals a year from food that, although safe and wholesome, is destined for landfill for commercial reasons.


Eco-Efficiency Issues

This document from a Queensland (Australia) initiative to improve eco-efficiency covers a number of emerging issues in Food Manufacturing.

ecoefficiency factsheets foodprocess general ecofoodgen fsg4 pdf

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Some of the topical issues discussed are Food miles, Virtual water, Life cycle assessment, Supply chain management and Food eco-labelling.

The site also contains case studies and manuals that provide implementable information for food processors.

Solving Factory Waste Through Extraction of Valuable Chemicals

At first sight it seems like a good idea to add value to waste strems in the food processing industry.

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However, as the project leader says this is not rocket science. The composition of waste streams is generally well known and the technology to extract valuable components already established.It's naive to think companies are paying to dispose of waste streams that contain valuable chemicals which they could be easily extracting and selling.

Many waste streams are actually sold for other purposes such as animal feed and compost while many are already the source of high value chemicals such as essential oils and nutritional supplements. Waste streams have also been used for centuries to produce alternate energy.

Manufacturing companies focus strongly on waste and are just as capable of investigating such opportunities as are researchers.The issue is the financial viability of any particular process and the potential to set up all the players in the supply chain to ensure its sustainable operation.

Bespoke Fruit & Vegetable Washing Solutions?

Sometimes I expect more when I read. Headline like this one, probablyq because I am alive.

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Reading further this is a company that sells chlorine and sulphite based chemicals for fruit and vegetable rinsing. They now offer a service based on analysing the untreated water and developing a custom dosage regime for the factory's particular circumstances.


I would have thought that the chemical dosage is normally done on site using trial and error, but it makes publicity and marketing sense.

Mad River Food Hub – renting Processing Capacity

This processing centre in the USA appears to have managed to set itself up to support small scale processors, unlike many failed African attempts I have seen. It seems a sensible approach and I would really like to hear about successful businesses similar to this in Africa. But let's look at this one first.

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This facility in Waitsfield, Vermont covers 370 m2 facility and offers two meat processing rooms, a vegetable/herb processing room and a smoking room as well as a shared dish-station, Industrial sized freezer & cooler and dry storage area. The centre also makes available a distribution service through a commercial food distributor.

The facility is approved for food and meat processing and is run as a for profit business. It is currently running at about a half of the 60% utilization required to break even, but the manager is confident of reaching this within a year.

The plant is run within a list of process and storage prices and even has a series of defined fines for actions from not cleaning properly to missing a booking.

While I have seen a number of incubators, processing centers and other models aimed at promoting small enterprises in a number of countries, the closest I have seen to this model was at Mahala in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

That centre offered the use of equipment to produce a number of food products including bread, fruit juice and vegetable oil. The center only operated while it was grant funded and failed as soon as grant funding ceased as utilization was low. It is interesting to note that the technologies offered weren't focussed so much on farmer's needs but were product linked. The centre also offered non food technologies with concrete block making being the most successful.

What information do you have to add? Why not email me and I will publish it here, to allow others the chance to understand success factors and not make the same mistakes!


Canned Food Can Offer Cheaper Nutrients

These screenshots are from a Time article on a Conference Poster on a study that evaluated the cost of nutrition sourced from fresh, dried, frozen and canned foods. You will find more information in my Google+ posts. Time article on a Conference Poster

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Manual For Entrepreneurs: Food Processing Industry – Free Online Information

This is a free 200 page manual developed for Food Processing entrepreneurs in India.


Since it’s written for Indian entrepreneurs a lot of the business information is only really applicable in India, but there is still a lot of interest. This free version was written around 2000, so if the numbers in the overview of the food industry are important you would be advised to buy a newer version.

The scope of the manual as indicated by the table of contents:

1. The Food Processing Sector in India
2. The Impact of Policy on Enterprises
3. Who is an Entrepreneur?
4. Soft Skills for Entrepreneurs
5. Planning a Small-Scale Unit: Whom to Approach for What
6. Business Opportunity Identification
7. Market Survey Tools, Preparation of Schedule and Techniques of Data Collection
8. Production Programme, Plant Capacity, ManpowerRequirements and Layout
9. Business Plan Format for Tiny and Small Enterprises
10. The Financials of a Project Report
11. Assessing Financial Viability of the Project
12. Bookkeeping and Accounting and Financial Statements
13. Costing and Pricing of Products
14. Working Capital Management 14515. Marketing Management
16. Applied Management in Business: Learning from Existing Businesses
17. Legal Requirements
18. Support Institutions for Promotion of Food Processing Sector

Rather India focussed annexures include many contacts as well as a more general list of references and suggested reading.

The manual is very practical and detailed with many checklists, forms, case studies and financial calculations to assist the entrepreneur to cover all necessary aspects of setting up an enterprise.

The manual does not provide food processing information, only providing a list of potential technology and equipment suppliers