Tag Archives: products

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.

Lost Crops of Africa – Fruits – Free Online Technical Manual

I posted some general thoughts on this book when it was published a few years ago. The other day I came across it again, on the USAID site as a free download, although its published by The National Academic Press . I felt it would be worthwhile reminding readers of the book and giving them the link to the download.

Http pdf usaid gov pdf docs PNADS877 pdf

from: USAID
(click image for full story online)

The book covers cultivated and wild fruits in two parts. Each part presents general information on the fruits’s potential role in addressing issues such as Malnutrition, Food Security, Rural Development and Sustainable Landcare. The part on Wild Fruit also covers particular issues such as
Increasing Wild Fruit Usage, Developing Wild Fruits, Nutrition, Sustainable Forestry and Social Difficulties.

Both parts then cover a large number of fruits separately and in detail.

The cultivated fruit section covers Balanites (Balanites aegyptiaca), Baobab (Adansonia digitata), Butterfruit (Dacryodes edulis), Carissa (Carissa species), Horned Melon (Cucumis metulifer), Kei Apple (Dovyalis caffra), Marula (Sclerocarya birrea), Melon(Cucumis melo), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) and Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus).

While the wild fruits include Aizen, Chocolate Berries, Custard Apples, Ebony, Gingerbread Plums, Gumvines, Icacina, Imbe (Garcinia livingstonii). Medlars, Monkey Oranges, Star Apples, Sugarplum, Sweet Detar (Detarium senegalense) and Tree Grapes.

Each fruit is covered in detail with abundant drawing and photographs and information on all aspects from cultivation to utilisation.

This is an amazing resource which an enormous amount of detail.

Free Broad Technology Information Source

HYFOMA (European Network for the Manufacture of Hygenic Food) maintains a site which aims to centralise and coordinate literature from food equipment manufacturers.

 

Food Processing Equipment and manufacturing knowledge portal - Hyfoma.com.jpg

from: HYFOMA
(click image for full story online)

 

The website is funded by food equipment manufactures and states that it intends to capture all available information but seems to be still in the process.

Articles range from full reviews eg Ohmic & Induction Heating for Microbial Inactivation to pretty simple outlines. Articles are basically focussed on products or technologies.

Although this site is still building and you may find articles that are notyet available or only in a foreign language, its still worth a look as its such a large source of free information.

 

 

African Food Processing Company – Cotton Seed Processors (Pty) Ltd

Cotton Seed Processors (Pty) Ltd is part of the Clark Cotton Group of Companies and was commissioned in April 1999.

The extraction plant is situated at Mokopane in the Limpopo Province and is ideally situated for exports to Africa and the import of African raw materials.

The plant was erected to add economic value to cotton seed derived from the Ginning Process by extracting oil from the seed. The versatility of the plant enables the processing of both Cotton and Sunflower Seed allowing it to run year round.

 

Home.jpg

from: Cotton Seed Processors
(click image for full story online)

 

This is a really interesting site as it presents a lot of good information on processing, products and byproducts in the sector. For instance there’s a great overview of the process at http://www.vegetableoil.co.za/Information/Untitled/Process_Flow/process_flow.html

 

Purchasing patterns on unpredictable incomes

Some of the uniqueness of supplying consumers at the Bottom of the Pyramid is illustrated by this view of what drives product purchase by the very poor from the Perspective 2.0 Blog.

When income is irregular and unpredictable, both in amount and frequency, such as it is for the majority at the bottom of the pyramid, buying behavior is not quite the same as for mainstream consumers. At least four patterns emerge based on a combination of need and money available.

Paid for in advance – Usually a service which can be used or consumed over time can be purchased in advance when funds are available and then made to last as long as possible. The best known example of course is prepaid airtime.

Bought in bulk – Usually food staples or something you cannot live without would be purchased in this manner, either when there is a sudden influx of cash or a payment at the end of manual labour or if managing on a fixed amount each month such as remittances from abroad. This ensures that there is something to eat even if money runs out before the next payment might be due. If its a sudden influx of cash for someone not on a pension or remittance then these are the funds that often go towards a consumer durable purchase or big ticket item of some kind.

Sachets or single portions – A form of on demand purchase. Interestingly, I came across this working paper by Anand Kumar Jaiswal at IIM, saying that sales results in rural India seemed to imply that only shampoos and razor blades were more successful in sachet form, whereas things like milkpowder, jam etc sold more in the larger size. The author cautions against assuming all sachets will sell. I believe it could be based on the usage pattern of the product in question or its nature – what if you packaged a perishable item in single servings that didn’t need refrigeration until opened?

On demand or daily purchase – mostly perishables like bread, eggs, fresh vegetables purchased for the day’s needs. Partly cultural but also influenced by availability of cash in hand. Cigarettes sold loose or two slices of bread and an egg are some examples we’ve seen. Indian vegetable vendors are also willing to sell you a small portion of a larger vegetable either by weight or by price. You can buy 50p worth of cabbage for a single meal. Minimizes wastage whether you’re cooking for one or have no fridge. This is also the most common pattern if you earn small amounts daily, like the vegetable vendor, shelling out what you have for what you need and then if there’s some change, debating what do with it.

I feel there might be three issues counterbalancing each other in this namely cash in the pocket, the potential of future income and the perceived risk of a purchase. What products work, surely depends on the balance of the three factors above and is not a universal either across countries or consumer groups in a country.

The sachet or single portion sale definitely works for food, I have seen bulk broken pasta in plastic bags in Senegal.

What about

lower specification products– addressing the same consumer need? In South Africa the bottlers of coke launched a diluted cordial in a small well decorated plastic sachet and seem to have established at least some market as the product has been available for many years.

sharing of bulk packs – in South Africa’s townships it is well known for neighbours to by large packs together and share directly without splitting and repacking. A product and package design could bedeveloped to make this process easier/ more efficient.