Monthly Archives: March 2010

Organic Business Guide – From field to market

This is not an organic food processing book that aims to get businesses into Organic Production. It is however a complete book on Organic business that will give the Food Processor a very good background if they are trying to bring organic into their business.

Organic Business Guide - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks.jpg

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The complete book covers a range of topics including:

  • Organic production and Fair Trade
  • Starting from the market
  • Developing organic value chains
  • Designing the organic production system
  • Planning and managing your business
  • Organising producers for the market
  • Certification and internal control systems
  • From field to market
  • Marketing

A nice overview of the complete value chain of organic food which does have a small section on food processing of organic foods is presented in “From field to market”. This will give the food processor a good overview.

Organic Business Guide_From field to market - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks-2.jpg

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Small and Medium Scale Fruit Juice Processing – Free Online Technical Manual

This 220 page book by Bates, Moris & Crandall is available free online via

This book covers an extremely wide range of juice processing technologies for a large number of fruits and is published by the Food and Agricultural Organisation.



Principles and practices of small - and medium - scale fruit juice processing.jpg


from: FAO
(click image for full story online)


This review was originally published in Food Processing Africa.

The book starts with background information that includes history, value of juice, definitions, standards, morphology, composition and safety. It then addresses raw materials including cultivars, seasonality and post harvest handling.

A general description of fruit juice manufacturing, is followed by detailed discussion of juice processing principles focussing on the stabilisation/preservation processes, namely refrigeration, freezing, canning, hot fill, aseptic processing, sterile filtration, chemical preservatives, concentration, jelly and jam manufacture, wine making, dehydration and vacuum drying.

The second half of the book presents very practical and detailed information on specific juice products focussing on citrus, grape, apple, pear, peach, apricot, plums, cranberry, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, cherry, pineapple, mango, passion fruit, guava, papaya, guanabana, acerola, naranjilla, carambola, lychee and banana. The book also covers tomato and carrot juices and complementary products where juices and pulps are an ingredient including jams, jellies, syrups, smoothies, dairy, Sports drinks and even the use of supplements as equipoise that help with athletic performance.

Throughout the material is well presented with photographs, tables, diagrams and flowsheets. While the scientific base is given, the focus is on practical descriptions of industrial process at a very detailed level.

A disappointing feature is the limited focus on process management and commercialisation. The reader would do well to use a book such as “Setting up and Running a Small Fruit or Vegetable Processing Enterprise” to address these.

The book ends with a large set of references.


Market Research for Agroprocessors – Free Online Technical Manual

This book by Andrew Shepherd is available via



from: FAO
(click image for full story online)


This review was originally published in Food Processing Africa.

This 100 page plus manual, published by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, presents a simple and logical look at how a small agroprocessor should go about making sure that there is a market for the product they intend producing. The contents of the manual indicate the scope of the information:

✓ Why do we need market research?
✓ How much can be sold, where and when?
✓ Researching consumer attitudes to your products.
✓ How can your product be made attractive to consumers?
✓ How should your product be distributed?
✓ How should you promote your product.
✓ Are your agroprocessing plans feasible?
✓ Will your business be profitable, and at what prices?
✓ Annex 1 – Questions for market research
✓ Annex 2 – A consumer questionnaire
✓ Further reading

The manual introduces each chapter with an outline of the main issues to be covered and provides “hint boxes” which present practical ideas and “word of warning boxes” that identifies particular problems. The sections on collecting information, distribution and advertising contain practical examples and illustrations.

The last two sections on feasibility and profitability are really important and often don’t get enough attention in the euphoria of a new product. The former goes through all (things such as production and seasonality, location of the farmers and buying costs, price variation, scope for farmers to increase production, labeling, distribution and promotion, licensing and regulations) that has to be in place to run a production business while the latter provides examples of costing and cash flow.

Each section ends with a “Reaching Conclusions” box, which identifies the new information the user should generate by following the manual. The manual is illustrated with cartoons and contains real examples of checklists for research and a consumer survey in the annexes.

The book ends with a set of references.

Africa’s Big Seven Exhibition

Two weeks after the end of the 2010 World Cup, Johannesburg hosts the annual conglomeration of Food Processing exhibitions. This minimizes transport costs and allows attendance at seven exhibitions in a week.

Ems - Exhibition Management Services - The only Exhibition Organiser that is truly African.jpg

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Last year the exhibition which displayed the wares of 401 exhibitors from 39 countries was visited by almost 12 000 visitors from 45 countries.