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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The manual is available for free download, however, if you have problems please email me and I will make sure you get a copy.
This is a really impressive manual published by UNIDO.
click image to visit site
The manual covers the following subjects with the focus being on the post production processes used including a very informative section on essential oils.
- Major spice crops in world trade
- Economic Impact and Trade
- Operations Losses
- Pest control
- Economic and Social Considerations
Food Processors are well equiped with knowledge and equipment that could be adapted to the production of herbs, spices or essential oils. They, therefore, have an opportunity to consider changing or expanding their business.
Small scale farmers in rural areas with a a few cows can easily produce more milk than their family consumes, opening the opportunity to earn income by selling milk. However climate, lack of reliable energy and long distances make this an unreliable business. Introducing standard fresh milk handling technology does not work because of the costs are too high, the quantities too low and energy too unreliable. Other solutions such as increasing shelf life with fermented products and introducing the Lactoperoxidase System have there place but there is real demand for fresh milk.
This new system being introduced by Promethean Power could change this.
click the image to open an online story
This is a mechanically simple system that is powered by local electrical supply which does not need to be consistent or reliable. Whenever electricity is available it is used to “charge” a thermal storage system, the system is then used to cool milk whenever it is available.
The thermal storage system consists of a cylindrical stainless steel tank, containing an unspecified phase change chemical in a heat transfer fluid. When electricity is available it is used to refrigerate the tank, freezing the chemical which absorbs large quantities of energy as it changes phase.
The simplicity of the system lies in the design of what they have termed the Rapid Milk Chiller. The milk is distributed on the top of the stainless steel tank, it flows over the total surface of the tank and is thereby cooled quickly. With gravity transferring the milk there are no pumps, pipes and controls which would complicate maintenance, be difficult to clean and require electricity.
There is also the potential to use any other alternative energy source e.g. solar, wind, biogas and biomass which can be converted into electricity.
I like the idea and look forward to hearing about how it works out in practice.
This simple description outlines the process and equipment used in the commercial production of potato crisps.
click image to see article
If you are interested in the smaller scale production of potato crisps as the basis for a household business, Practical Action publish a Technical Brief
click image to see article
This is a detailed article that provides a lot of useful information and also has contact details for Practical Action who are specifically experienced in small scale businesses with a developmental side.
Hungry Planet, a recent book by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, presents the food consumption of households around the world. The results are presented in the form of a picture of the family and the food they ate in a week, just like this German family.
click the image to visit the website
In each case the total cost of the food is given (in this case $500) as well as demographics of the country and some information on favorite foods. Besides just being interesting and revealing eg this German Family drinks 4 bottles of wine in the week while the French family appears to drink only one, it gives a view of food culture an food processing.
Revealing and concerning is the difference between first and third world countries and in particular, Central African countries. The family from Chad spends only $2,50 on food, just a 20th of the German Family!
click the image to visit the website
This is quite startling, although the environmental impact is probably even more interesting given the almost complete lack of processed food, besides post harvest processing, and one way packaging in the food of the Chadian family. While the German family shows that in a week they used around sixty glass, plastic and board beverage containers.
Not much scope for a Food Processor in Chad!
The answer to the question in the title is that we can’t tell from these single images. However, we can be sure that the general differences highlighted are an indication of the food culture differences. We also know from the research on waste, that a significant fraction of the food (maybe a quarter) shown in the German home is probably wasted, while very little of that reaching the Chadian household is.
FAIRTRADE has been a great success based on its rapid growth in turnover. There are, however questions that linger around the benefit to farmers compared to the turnover as well as other issues.
from: Shebeen (click image for full story online)
A new idea that also allows the consumer to generate income for development is the Australian Shebeen. This food and drink outlet carries products that are linked to specific developing countries e.g. Tuskers from Kenya, Valdivieso Pinot Noir from Chile and Mumma Ho’s Vietnamese meatball.
It then distributes “100%” of its profits to “Not for Profits” in the country of origin of the food or drink bought.
I really like the idea, but it needs more information and transparency to understand its real benefit. Does $2 really go to development for each beer drunk as reported in one story?
what are profits – e.g. how are salaries, disbursement and reinvestment set
how are “Not for Profits” selected and what is the cost of this
how do normal developed country products contribute
is this a once off or is it scalable – i.e. when do we see an Australian she been in Soweto
I will be following up on this over the next while.