To effectively address changing consumer needs, trends in packaging and market opportunities, product lines require thoughtful process development and process validation to deliver safe and high-quality outputs.
This is where JBT’s Process Technology Center comes in, explains JBT’s European Marcom Coordinator Patrick Schoenaers. The Belgium-based facility works behind the scenes to improve the processing of food and beverages, enabling brands to stay ahead of their competitors.
The Belgium site is just one of JBT’s Food Technology Centers, which can be found worldwide from Spain and Sweden to the US, Mexico, Brazil and China.
With consumers leading increasingly time-constrained lifestyles, the demand for more convenient, easy-to-prepare meal solutions has become ever greater.
At the same time, shoppers are also seeking healthier products that deliver natural, flavorful meals, and are moving away from foods that use chemical preservatives, have high levels of salt or are heavily processed.
Schoenaers says food processors have to balance such demands with pressure from retailers for increased product shelf-life and more convenient container types, meaning the product mix has to be adaptable on many different levels to satisfy both consumers and retailers.
These adaptations not only include product formulation and labeling, but also parameters for packaging and processing.
Package appearance – from pouches and cans to glass bottles and jars – and food sensory characteristics play a major part in the search to make fast-moving consumer goods more attractive to shoppers and retailers alike.
Ultimately, however, it is the processing line that needs to deliver high quality output and ensure consistent safety controls are in place, meaning that process development and validation is key, according to Schoenaers.
Validation of the thermal process is vital to ensure product safety and quality for the duration of its intended shelf-life.
Schoenaers says JBT’s Process Technology Center provides process authority assistance through support, review, testing and documentation, while also ensuring companies comply with thermal processing regulations.
The center, which is recognized as a process authority by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the European Food Safety Agency, carries out temperature distribution, and heat penetration and transfer distribution studies to check products are being fully sterilized.
Thermal Process Development
JBT’s Process Technology Center, explains Schoenaers, is able to harness years of experience and know-how in virtually all process-related areas to help companies develop the best possible process for their particular combination of products and equipment.
Using the client’s own facilities or one of JBT’s pilot plants, Process Technology Center scientists, he says, can simulate any type of sterilizer to help develop a new sterilization process – needed when a new product formulation or altered packaging is introduced.
JBT experts, Schoenaers adds, can also help optimize existing processes to improve the balance between product quality and safety, and energy consumption. The Process Technology Center can further assist with optimization of filling and sealing for cans and jars.