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Some Focussed Food Based Reports – Free online Information

Over the past view weeks I have come across several rather focussed processing reports which I thought it was worhgwhile to share here in a simple form. I believe the image tells you what its about and clicking will open the document. The documents I link will generally be technology heavy although there will be there industry issues covered in detail. 

click an image below to view the relevant paper

IITA report on Cassava enterprises in West Africa


Small Scale Palm Oil Processing in Africa


Www iita org c document library get file p l id 786671 folderId 1074647 name DLFE 5910 pdf

Low cost sustainable cassava drying technologies pdf



Real Good Cheese and Dairy Information

The website of Dairy Science and Food Technology, an information and consultancy service for the food industry, provides useful and applicable information, calculators and reports which are surely of great use to the dairy processor. 

 Science and technology of milk and dairy products

click the image to access the website

The website was established by Dr Michael Mullan who is CEO of the Dairy Science and Food Technology consultancy.

Originally the site was intended as a project aimed at exploring the use of the Internet as a means of communicating with students. Over the years the site has grown and contributions are now invited from the wider scientific community and industry.

DSFT gets around a million ‘hits’ a year and there are hundreds of links back to the site.

The content of the site is illustrated by the navigation menu which includes topics like Cheese Yield, Food Models, Lactic Bacteriophages, Calculators, Links, Packaging and Labelling, Writing Tools, Thermal Processing, Ice Cream and Probiotics.

The nature of information is illustrated by the screen grab below from the Cheese Quality page.

Cheese yield

click the image to access the website

To me this kind of information on the INTERNET is what we need to access, not the generic marketing type information that abounds. Please share the information you use by commenting on this page. 

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.


Using Food Science and Technology to Improve Nutrition and Promote National Development

This is an interesting and detailed paper presenting detailed information on the processing of traditional foods.

Chapter from an IUFOST publication

from: IUFOST
(click image for full story online)

The paper concludes that the existing small scale processing is important to food supply, food preservation and employment.

It finds that the expansion of the production of these traditional foods would make business sense, this has been hampered by the normal culprits – access to technology, poor management, lack of funding and low profit margins.

The paper presents information on the mechanization of gari, the production of instant yam flour and flakes and the production of traditional products including soy-ogi, dawadawa, kilishi and cheese.

The article has a detailed list of references.

National Mission on Food Processing – Free Online Information

The National Mission on Food Processing is an Indian web site that provides very detailed information for food processing entrepreneurs on a wide range of food products.

A webpage offering detailed food processing business information

from: National Mission on Food Procesing
(click image for full story online)

The site provides wide ranging information including product and process descriptions as well as costing and financial analysis. It is focused on the needs of smaller and start up entrepreneurs, although the information would be valuable to any processor. Some 110 product are covered in this manual.

Unfortunately, the information and especially the suppliers and costing is developed for application in India. However, it is still a useful source of information for any entrepreneur.

DIGIVU Offers Free Technology Information Searches.

I have for many years been closely involved in extracting free technology information from the INTERNET. I believe I have developed a real skill at this and want to offer to do free searches for all the users of digivu.co.za. Either leave a comment or email me – unless you request otherwise, I will publish the result as it will surely interest others. Note that for more complex technology information and evaluation you could use the Food Industries Information service.

Normally there is all sorts of information available – as an example I searched on extrusion and came up with the following:


There are obvious places to look, like WikipediaStart of Wikipedia's webpage on food extrusion.

click image to visit site


The interesting thing about Wikipedia is that it seems to be as reliable as any other encyclopedia. A study by Nature of Wikipedia and Britanica found that there were only 8 serious errors in the entries evaluated. Four of these from Wikipedia and four from Encyclopedia Britannica. They also found that while Wikipedia articles had 162 less serious errors Britannica had 123. These results were disputed and the measuring of the reliability of Wikipedia information is ongoing, but seems to indicate Wikipedia is a legitimate source of information.


In any field such there are always a number of websites that are recognized as suppliers of information e.g. FAO, Practical Action, Unido, CTA, GTZ for smaller scale food processing. Sometimes for a specialised technology these are not as useful and more attention needs to be paid to other sources. In this case only Practical Action, amongst the above sources, seems to have any information at all.

Extrusion of Foods Practical Answers Practical Action

from: Practical Action
(click image for full story online)

However, these sources are often sufficient to provide whatever is required.


Using a knowledge of how to search and your understanding of the industry you are searching, allows you to find all types of useful information. For example searching for pdf documents only, gets you into areas where your chance of finding something useful is larger – for instance academic reports. As an example this one presents 30 pages of pretty broad and clear introductory information on extrusion.

University Lecture on Extrusion TechnologyScreenshot 12 07 2013 3 48 PM

from: Asharya N G Ranga University
(click image for full story online)

Universities, government departments and associations are often good sources.


Never forget that the equipment suppliers have excellent information on food processing technology and business. They are often prepared to share it openly in an effort to attract customers. As an example (and not a recommendation) Clextral offers some useful information on extrusion.

Clextral images expanded snacks

click image to visit site


This type of information needs to be used with caution because its actually advertising and needs to be evaluated like any advertising.


A picture being worth a thousand words, indicates the value of seeing a piece of equipment in operation. The fact that 48 hours of video are downloaded to YouTube every minute of the day, means that there is more than likely something of value to watch. Like this video from Buhler on making an expanded snack:

Running a twin screw extruder making a puffed snack

click image to visit site



Search Engines make searching too easy! Whatever word/s you enter are going to yield many results, possibly too many! Which is likely to make you worry about finding the useful information in amongst all that is generated by the search. Alternately you may miss information if your search is not accurate.

Take time to learn how the search engine works and learn the features that make your search more effect and efficient – things like searching by time, searching particular web domains, searching via images, excluding results, literal searches, boolean mechanisms etc.


Avoid the temptation to print and file the information you collect. Use read it later services, downloading, databases, structured storage and purpose designed software like Apple’s iBooks to sort everything you find. Then use searches to find the information when you need it.


The above information has all been legitimately posted on the internet. It is also possible to source information illegally, much like pirating music, which I do not recommend.

Often a legitimate search with identify information posted on a legitimate website which seems rather suspect, which the user could legitimately used assuming that the site had made sure this information could be shared legally.

Extrusion cooking technology manuakl

For example, although the book above shows up on a GOOGLE search and is downloadable from a legitimate university website, I suspect downloading and using it would be breaking the copyright. As to reading it online, I am just not sure, although this is the equivalent of reading the book in the university library.

Pulsed Electric Field Processing – Free Factsheet

This is clear, concise and brief information on all aspects of the technology.

click the image to visit the website



If you are looking to do some contract research for serious players in the food industry, here is an opportunity.

click the image to visit the website

It's exciting when the third-largest consumer goods company in the world and one that has a serious focus on Africa and on sustainability calls for assistance. They put it like this

We're looking for new designs and technologies that help us improve the way we make our products. There are a series of challenges which we're already working on, and where we'd like to work together with partners. We call these our ‘wants’.

These wants, such as preserving foods naturally, better packaging, sustainable washing and natural red colourants are listed on the webpage along with a link for potential suppliers to develop their ideas.

I believe this is really worth following up, it might lead to a relationship where your science backed by local knowledge are of great benefit to Unilever.

Fermented Foods – Free Online Information

This is a simple short article discussing the benefits and history of fermented foods as well as giving some of the science and simple generalized information on producing your own.

click the image to visit the website


Explaining Technology by Analogy.

This interesting diagram from emphasizes the fact that the Tetrapak cartons are separated under the liquid a key point of the aseptic packaging technology.

photo by Tetrapak – usable under Creative Commons license

The more modern version is maybe not as explicit but much more appealing. This is a technologyand a presentation thereof that Steve Jobs would have admired.

photo by Tetrapak – usable under Creative Commons license