For the global juice industry as it operates amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of ensuring stringent food safety – combined with sustainability – has surely never been more important. But given the economic challenges many companies face, the ability to become more efficient during processing and keep waste to a minimum is arguably just as crucial.
JBT’s approach to both food safety and sustainability is encapsulated in six key Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles for juice processors: aiming for food security and nutrition; ensuring economic viability; encouraging good governance; being environmentally responsible; creating acceptable working conditions; and promoting the transfer of knowledge.
“One of the six principles of sustainability is food safety: that foods are not just sustainable, but that they have to be safer,” explains JBT’s Technology Assistance Manager for Liquid Foods, José Lorente. “If you don’t clean properly, you can’t be sure of eliminating micro-organisms, and if the sterilization process is not adequate, this can result in serious problems.”
While food safety is undoubtedly important, another significant element of achieving sustainability is maximizing yield. Getting more out of the same volume of fruit – including valuable by-products or ingredients – means far less wastage and potential contamination, and improved profitability at the end of the process; a massively important consideration given the current economic pressures driven by the global pandemic.
“Recovering by-products, such as citrus essential oils, generated during citrus juice processing, enables companies not only to be more environmentally friendly, but also more profitable by being more efficient during the extraction process using the same raw materials,” explains Lorente.
“Over recent years, we at JBT have been working on maximizing and optimizing yield by developing solutions that help customers obtain more juice and by-products. Being efficient is part of sustainability. The more efficient a company, the more sustainable it becomes and the more profitable.”
A clear example of how JBT solutions can help juice customers maximize yield is when it comes to essential oils, which can be recovered during the extraction process. These include valuable d-Limonene, a natural organic solvent used as an ingredient across a wide variety of applications, from cleaning products to the aroma industry. However, what makes JBT solutions different from standard extractors is their ability to recover significantly more essential oil.
“With a standard extractor, you can recover around 55% of the essential oil present in the fruit, but thanks to the efficiency of JBT’s ORES (Oil Recovery Extraction System), customers can recover up to 65%,” says Lorente. “You have to bear in mind that otherwise this 10%, which is a contaminant, would be thrown away. By recovering that extra 10%, customers not only earn more money, they also help protect the environment.”
To achieve even better results, JBT has developed the MORE (Modular Oil Recovery Extractor) system, which recovers essential oil before it reaches the extractor. By softly scraping the peel, without damaging the integrity of the fruit, more than 90% of the essential oil available can be recovered.