Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Jan 05 2015

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

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Nov 20 2014

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.

http://www.zap-icepigging.com

http://www.purecleanicepig.co.uk/pcip_002.htm

http://www.jhed.mk/filemanager/JHED%20Vol%202/01.%20HED/02.%20Full%20paper%20-%20Ian%20Sterritt.pdf

http://www.ice-pigging.com

 

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Nov 03 2014

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”.

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Oct 30 2014

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.

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Sep 17 2014

Industrial Bread Baking – free video

This video from Grain Chain gives a good overview of how a large industrial bakery works.

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Jul 18 2014

Should Sun Drying be Rejected as a Food Unit Operation

Papers describing food drying techniques normally list the obvious contamination risks of drying in the open air as a major disadvantage and and based on this dismiss its application. However, the large volumes of food that are sun dried every year and the savings in energy and capital bely this quickly reached conclusion.

Searching the literature and regulations doesn’t give any guidance on the advisability of establishing a new sun drying business.

However, the two videos below show the large scale use of sun drying and the associated technologies applied at Cecilia’s Farm, near Prince Alfred in South Africa.

It seems that the critical point about the sun dried business they run, is that all fruit is washed before further processing and or packaging. Arguably this makes it comparable to fruit which is often not peeled, packaged salad and leafy vegetables. These are grown in the same environment and simply washed before eating.

The massive advantage of sun and to a lesser extent solar drying is that they produce shelf stable foods with minimal environmental impact and low processing and packaging costs.

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Jul 16 2014

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

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Jul 12 2014

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.

 

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May 09 2014

Food Product Innovation

This is another of the many manuals by FAO. This one discusses product development, although in a someone theoretical way.

click the image to visit the web page

The manual is broad, covering the following topics:

There is a lot of good information in here although for my liking its a bit theoretical and maybe it could do with some more interesting case studies.

It is, however, worth downloading and reading. It is 35 pages and was published in 2006 so is up to date and comprehensive.

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Apr 06 2014

Commercialising Cactus Pears – Free Online Information

If your community has large areas of cultivated cactus pears or if it is a good climate for cactus pears but little is grown, this manual could be of real value to you.

Commercialising Cactus Pears - Free Online Information

click image to visit site

This 150 page manual with 13 pages of reference, will surely give you all you need to know about the utilisation of cactus pear. You can then build your business by integrating this information with you knowledge of your community using you entrepreneurial skills.

A quick scan through the chapters of the manual illustrates the breadth and detail of the information.

Chapters of   /http://www.fao.org/docrep/019/a0534e/a0534e.pdfCommercialising Cactus Pears

The manual is available for free download, however, if you have problems please email me and I will make sure you get a copy.

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