JBT Corporation is staging a one-day Citrus Technical Workshop for its Brazilian customers and interested companies this week, which will demonstrate how JBT technology can help deliver 3% more high quality juice than was previously available.
JBT’s Januário Soligon explains that the event will update customers and potential clients on new developments from JBT aimed at improving the yield and quality of juices, oils and pulps extracted from citrus fruits, particularly oranges and lemons.
The workshop will also look at how automation of citrus processing can improve performance and reduce labor costs, filtering systems, Stork sterilisation and aseptic filling technology for juices, citrus processing good practices, and systems for oil recovery that have shown outstanding results.
As Soligon explains, JBT has already achieved outstanding results when it comes to improving juice quality and delivering effective lemon oil extraction technologies, with the company’s MORE (Modular Oil Recovery Equipment) extractor system having proven to be highly efficient.
On the juice side, JBT will be highlighting recently-developed new components that can be added to existing systems to deliver better juice yields.
“This is very important for the business – every 1% gain that you have in this business is a lot, so you are talking about huge volumes,” says Soligon. “Brazil produces a lot of juice – out of every five glasses of orange juice being consumed worldwide at any given time, three of those are likely to have been produced in Brazil.”
The workshop will also cover how companies can save on labor costs through increased automation on processing lines, as well as focusing on how JBT’s new finisher technologies can boost the amount of high quality juice produced.
“We have a finish automation system that can deliver a 3% gain in the amount of primary, high quality juice produced – this is something we are going to be introducing to the Brazilian market,” adds Soligon.
Over the past decade, JBT has worked hard to establish its systems and solutions in the Turkish and Middle Eastern markets, and now counts some major players among its customer base, including Göknur, Dimes and Anadolu Etap.
Carlos Saavedra, global marketing manager for JBT’s Liquid Foods business, explains that Turkey and the Middle East are among the few global markets that are currently growing in terms of both citrus production and processing.
“The Middle East is one of the few growing markets in citrus production – from a relatively small base, but nevertheless it is still growing,” he says. “Egypt has grown over the past decade and Turkey has grown as well, and we’ve been pretty effective in gaining a share of those markets.”
“Turkey is a market that is growing in terms of citrus processing – we have some relatively new customers and a few others that we are talking to, so Juiceful Istanbul is an opportunity to see those new customers and new prospects,” Saavedra adds.
JBT Fruit Juice Account Manager, Jerry King, says JBT will be speaking to restaurants and hotel chains that are interested in providing fresh juice for their customers, as well as grocery retailers that are looking to open in-store juice bar kiosks.
King explains that JBT will be focusing on highlighting the juice quality and high yield capabilities – two of the most sought-after features that the Fresh’n Squeeze juicers offer.
“The foundation of the Fresh’n Squeeze juicer is in our years of experience in citrus processing and extraction – with that technology, we are able to achieve anywhere from a 30-50% juice yield advantage over our competition, which is huge,” he says.
“If you are familiar with what juice yield can mean in terms of having to buy, store and handle less fruit, as well as the labor savings involved, there’s a lot of ways in which that benefits the user.”
Equally importantly, King says Fresh’n Squeeze juicers offer the best juice quality available in terms of peel oil content and the system’s ability to remove fruit core and seed material.
Unlike many rival systems, which King says can involve major adjustments depending on fruit size; Fresh’n Squeeze juicers are very versatile when it comes to handling all types and varieties of citrus fruit.
“Competitors machines are very size sensitive, so components have to be changed depending on the type of fruit, or separate machines have to be purchased – with our machine, the fruit size range is very open and no adjustments or separate components are required,” he adds.
With presentations in Thai and English, the event will also include sessions covering filling and closing technology, and validation and optimization for thermal process design, as well an update on process technology developments.
As an event sponsor and long-standing associate member of the association, JBT will participate in committee meetings and other events during the gathering, which takes place in Sanibel Harbour, Florida from May 15-18.
JBT’s global marketing manager for its Liquid Foods business, Carlos Saavedra, says the event will provide an opportunity for JBT to interact with customers and prospects, and get together with people from across the juice and ingredient industries.
“Most of our traditional citrus processing customers have been members of the Juice Products Association for years. The Juice Products Association network has also served as a platform for JBT to meet representatives from other companies in the juice processing spectrum,” he explains.
During the three-day conference, JBT will be holding breakfast meetings and staging dinner events with customers, potential customers, and other third parties in order to establish and strengthen its relationships.
The history of what became JBT South Africa in many ways reflects the development of the country in the years since the dismantling of the apartheid system. In December 1987, the South African subsidiary of JBT (then known as FMC Corporation) was divested by the company in response to calls from anti-apartheid campaigners and was subsequently bought by management.
Current managing director, Dirk VanWyk, entered the business in 1990 following the retirement of his father, a shareholder of the business, before taking over the reins a year later.
With the collapse of the apartheid regime during the subsequent decade, JBT reentered South Africa, acquiring its former subsidiary once again in 1999 and taking the business from strength to strength in the years that followed.
The company continues to be guided by Dirk VanWyk, who explains that the recent opening of a new South African pilot plant will help boost JBT South Africa’s reach and capabilities in not only its domestic market, but across the region.
What importance does South Africa as a market have for JBT?
Dirk VanWyk (DVW): South Africa is a good market for JBT in the sense that we make reasonable margins and we have our fair share of the market. In citrus processing, our market share is approximately 90% on leased machinery equipment, while on the canning sterilization side, we have close to 100% of the market. We also have a substantial share of the market for fresh produce technologies.
With the opening of JBT’s first technology center pilot plant in South Africa late last year, our customers are now able to put in special requests where they want to change or optimize a process to get the most out of their raw materials.
Where do you see potential for further expansion?
DVW: I think Sub-Saharan Africa is still an untapped market for us. There is substantial competition from Chinese companies north of our borders, but we definitely see potential there.
Outside South Africa, JBT already has a presence in several African countries including Mozambique and Zambia. However, paperwork can be prohibitive and there are sometimes regulatory issues, so it can be a challenge to work in Africa.
The problem in Africa and South Africa is the lack of political stability and the difficulties in creating a climate for investment. One of our big hurdles is supply issues, where we don’t have enough electricity to grow the South African businesses. There’s a lot of investment that could come in here, but our power stations have not kept up with the requirements.
The exchange rate and events in developing markets also have an impact. The Chinese are going through a bad patch, so commodity prices are under pressure. As soon as gold and oil are under pressure, then the South African currency is under pressure. So that affects affordability as well.
However, in spite of having its challenges, we believe that Africa has the potential to grow and we want to be there.
What further opportunities does the South African market offer?
DVW: I think we have our fair share of the South African market and most probably offer the best value. We want to be number one in the markets we serve in terms of technology and quality, while also offering the best value for your rand or dollar.
For JBT, there is still big potential in South Africa. While there is likely to be slow growth in the citrus business, we can still gain some traction on the fresh produce technology side. We are also likely to see more growth in the sterilization business because the higher-speed lines are going to be the way of the future to make exports more efficient and competitive on world markets.
What advantages can South African – and African – companies gain from working with JBT?
DVW: Number one is the technology and the product itself. FMC and JBT have been long renowned for their absolute top quality. If you look at citrus extraction, we are probably more expensive than our competitors, but our yields are much better.
We offer extremely good service, back-up and spares. Our technology centers are exceptional. We have technology centers in South America, North America and Spain, and we have recently opened our first pilot plant in South Africa. This can offer additional services to customers on optimizing processes and yields, and meeting customer requirements, so we are definitely way ahead of the pack as far as that is concerned.
In terms of the cost of ownership of our products, we have fillers, closers and rotary sterilizers which can run for 50, 55, 60 years and we continue to maintain them. This makes a real difference to companies in South Africa and makes the cost of ownership of JBT products value for money.
The initial capital outlet may be slightly more, but from a yield, processing and reliability point of view, we are more than competitive.