Claire Rowan is group technical editor, magazines, FoodBev Media. This is a personal blog and views expressed are her own.
As we hurtle towards the end of another year, I am struck by all the marvellous technologies and innovations we have reported on this year at FoodBev. The ingenuity in the food and drink industry seems to know no bounds.
In January 2014, not only did we celebrate the sixth birthday of the www.foodbev.com website, but we reported on the latest round of innovation funding by the UK Technology Strategy Board, which saw Nutrition for Life funding – designed to tackle nutrition, food safety, dietary requirements and food waste – award 39 different research projects with funds totalling £8.5m.
The funding will inject life into a project looking at how a distributed UV and near-infrared and fluorescence sensing systems can be used for real-time monitoring of food quality, contamination and process control. Further funds are supporting a research team to address the nutrient recovery possible from meat processing effluents and enabling water reuse.
In February, we let you know that Coca-Cola Amatil had picked up the coveted Australian Packaging Design Award for its NitroHotFill bottle designed by Krones used in its new 60cl Powerade sports bottle. Using Krones nitroHotfill process, bottles have been reduced from 33 to 24 grams without the need for typical vacuum panels. Coca-Cola Amatil also switched its filling from hotfill to warmfill making further savings in energy consumption.
From energy consumption to health and an interesting story at the end of February about the launch of Copper Moon Coffee’s French Vanilla Cappuccino Insta-Kups packed with probiotics from Ganeden Biotech. Reported to be the first probiotic to be incorporated into K-Cups for single-serve coffee brewing, the technical innovation makes probiotics easily accessible for consumers as they sup their daily coffee.
Fast forwarding to April and we look at another innovation in environmentally friendly packaging. Reports highlighted Tetra Pak is now using bio-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE) made from sugar cane combined with paperboard to create 1 litre cartons using as much as 82% material from renewable sources. First adopted by Coca-Cola Brazil for its Del Valle juice beverages, the bio-based LDPE (produced by Braskem) cartons have the same physical and chemical properties as that offered by traditional fossil-fuel derived polyethylene, and no modifications are needed to equipment for fillers to adopt them.
And, the highlight of my year, was in May when I travelled to Vietnam with Tetra Pak to visit the most state-of-the-art dairy in the world to date! Vinamilk has invested $110m in the first phase of its 20-hectare plant in Binh Duong province near Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam.
The most advanced plant industry leader Tetra Pak has ever built, Vinamilk’s ‘mega plant’ is now producing 400 million litres of milk products – with a further 400 million litres scheduled for production in phase two. Automation has been taken to new heights throughout the plant, which incorporates Tetra Pak’s latest high speed lines, and is controlled by Tetra PlantMaster from beginning to end.
“We have invested in the highest quality, safety, traceability, efficiency, high capacity and high automation and integration. The plant operates as a closed loop system, with all processes fully automated from the moment that the milk is delivered to three 150m3 silos; to the laser guided vehicles that operate without people at any point even including recharging; and to the 27,168 position automated warehouse, which operates in the dark 24/7,” states Nguyễn Quỗc Khánh, executive director supply chain, Vinamilk.
To be fair, it was hard to come back down to earth when I returned from such a stimulating trip, but the news from Vitafoods and Interpack that punctuated the pages of the FoodBev magazines and pages of www.foodbev.com quickly stimulated excitement back home.
Ensuing months revealed developments such as Buhler’s new high capacity optical sorter for rice, the Sortex S UltraVision; Merck Millipore’s ReadyBag pre-weighed, gamma-irradiated pouches of dehydrated culture media that reduce sample preparation time for pathogen testing in food by more than 50%; and Hydrosol’s new stabilising systems for producing analogue pizza/mozzarella and feta cheeses with excellent melting properties to simplify production and reduce costs.
I loved the news that Royaan had introduce the first oven baked snacks under the brand name Kwekkeboom using Crisp Sensation’s ground-breaking crumb coating that matches the deep-free characteristics in the coatings for its oven baked snacks. I’ve been watching the evolution of oven-baked and microwaveable snacks for a while and it is always great to see technology for healthier snacks come to fruition.
By the end of Autumn, the silly season for shows was upon us and innovations galore. Our adventures and discoveries at BrauBeviale, Hi Europe, Emballage and Food Matters Live have all been recorded in the pages of www.foodbev.com and throughout Food & Beverage International, Beverage Innovation and Dairy Innovation. The technological advancements that had been saved for unveiling at the shows was staggering from digital printing galore and plastic packaging technology, to rapid filling processes, improvements in automation at every step of food and beverage production, and savings in energy and manpower. There will be dedicated articles on automation, conveying, lean manufacturing and data monitoring in the magazines in 2015 – there is just such a vast array, there is no space in this brief summary to do them justice. Sign-up to receive your copies here:
And, to celebrate the breadth of innovation throughout the industry you can join in with the World Beverage Innovation Awards to be presented at BrauBeviale again next year; and new for 2015, theWorld Food Innovation Awards, which will be presented during IFE in March.
Don’t miss out, if you have an innovation you are proud of in any of the 16 Awards in seven categories including finished products/ingredients/packaging/brands/manufacturing and processing/sustainability and marketing – let us know!
We have thoroughly enjoyed bringing you the news during 2014, and we look forward to reporting on more innovations in processing technology, packaging, ingredients, formulation, and safety & QC, environmental issues and the strategies at the top in the months to come. [email protected]
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019