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JBT Fresh Produce Technologies celebrates landmark 90th anniversary

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JBT’s recent appearance at two of 2019’s most prominent produce trade events – Fruit Attraction 2019 in Madrid, Spain and PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim, California – was made even more significant by the fact that JBT’s Fresh Produce Technologies (FPT) business unit is this year celebrating its landmark 90th anniversary. 

It is an achievement that John Siddle, JBT’s FPT Global Product Line Director, describes as a testament to the enduring quality of JBT solutions. “We’re excited about being in business for 90 years,” he says. “It speaks to the quality of what we produce and the longevity of our organization.”

From founder John Bean’s invention of a continuous spray pump to battle scale in his almond orchards through to the introduction of the world’s first continuous rotary pressure sterilizer for processing low acid foods such as vegetables, the development of FPT can be traced through the history of JBT. 

This commitment to developing new FPT solutions has continued with the Endura-Fresh™ line of coatings and the Freshgard™ decay control range, which can help improve product appearance, shelf-life, and guard against weight loss. More recently, JBT has brought on board two companies that can offer innovative solutions in fresh-cut machinery and produce packaging – FTNON and Proseal – both of which featured at PMA Fresh Summit 2019 and Fruit Attraction 2019.

According to John Siddle, much of this continued success can be traced to JBT’s technical expertise, which has allowed the company to adapt to the changing needs of the produce sector.

In particular, he says JBT’s FPT business has grown significantly over the past 20 years, almost doubling in size as a result of a move into produce labelling, fruit coatings and a focus on natural and water-based products. 

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Global expansion
The growth in the FPT business unit over the past two decades can be traced back to the outbreak of citrus greening in JBT’s former core market for juice extractors, Florida, which prompted a shrinking of the industry and a move of much of the production to California. “We saw growth opportunities for other FPT solutions in other parts of the US and we have made strides forward with that,” says Siddle. These solutions included the introduction of the JBT Tall Bin Scrubber, which has become a valued tool for field bin sanitization and the Freshgard® Chemtrol Programmable Controller for safe, reliable and low-cost control of the pH and sanitizer level in re-circulating water systems.

However, another major factor was JBT’s desire to develop its FPT market share outside the bounds of the US by taking the solutions and technologies to customers worldwide. “We’re now a whole lot more global than we were 20 years ago and we keep expanding,” adds Siddle who identifies the Middle East and Asia as two key growth markets for the years to come.

Request more information about JBT’s FPT solutions

JBT y LARCE: una historia de éxito en Costa Rica

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Read this article in English

Costa Rica es el mayor productor a nivel mundial de piñas MD2 destinadas a la exportación, y es el responsable de aproximadamente 75% del mercado. Aunque no es un fruto nativo del país centroamericano, Costa Rica se ha construido una magnífica reputación como productor y exportador de piña desde la década de 1970, un éxito que ha sido capaz de replicar en una amplia gama de sectores, tanto de productos frescos como procesados. Pero lo que quizás muy pocas personas conocen es el papel que desempeñó JBT en la historia de la piña costarricense y el fuerte lazo que la une al país y que sigue vigente hasta el día de hoy.

Distribuidora LARCE, empresa importadora, distribuidora y proveedora de sistemas y equipos especializados para una amplia gama de sectores, asentada en Costa Rica, ha sido pieza fundamental en la historia que tiene JBT con esa nación prácticamente desde el inicio, al contribuir y apoyar en el desarrollo de la marca JBT en industrias tan diversas como frutos frescos, lácteos y salsas de tomate.

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Las primeras piñas
LARCE es un negocio familiar de tres generaciones, fundado en 1949 por Alberto L Arce. Su hijo, Roberto L Arce Sr., estuvo al mando de la empresa hasta 2017, cuando Roberto Arce Jr. asumió el puesto de director general. La relación con JBT – entonces denominada FMC – comenzó unos años después cuando JBT prestó ayuda a LARCE en el combate contra la plaga de mosca de la fruta del Mediterráneo. Esta relación pasó a primer plano cuando, en 1965, la erupción del volcán Irazú cubrió de cenizas buena parte de la ciudad de San José. JBT proporcionó equipo que se utilizó en la limpieza de las calles y aeropuertos de la capital costarricense.

Para la década de 1970, la rápida industrialización dio pie a que LARCE y JBT se abrieran puertas a oportunidades de negocio con una diversidad de empresas dedicadas al procesamiento de jugo y salsas de tomate, productos lácteos, y paletas heladas a base de agua.

No obstante, se puede afirmar que el parteaguas fue la introduccción de la gama de recubrimientos de JBT distribuidos a través de LARCE, acontecimiento que coincidió con la entrada de Del Monte a Costa Rica y la llegada de piñas al país para su cultivo. «FMC ayudó a Del Monte a traer las primeras plantas de piña a Costa Rica y también le abasteció ceras naturales, las cuales seguimos proveyendo a los productores hasta el día de hoy», afirma Roberto Arce Sr.

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(i-d) Roberto Arce Jr; Laura Arce; Roberto Arce Sr

Éxito continuo
Actualmente bajo el mando de los hermanos Roberto Arce Jr. y Laura Arce, LARCE distribuye las soluciones de JBT a clientes como TicoFrut –procesadora de piña y naranja ubicada en la región de Alajuela, al norte de la capital– y Del Oro– especialista en jugos y concentrados ubicado en la provincia noroccidental de Gunacaste. 

TicoFruit abrió la primera planta industrial de extracción de jugo en Costa Rica; LARCE contribuyó a esta fábrica con los primeros extractores de jugo de la empresa y, más adelante, con una llenadora ASEPTIC. «Surgió la necesidad de tener una llenadora ASEPTIC en la planta de TicoFruit, y ha sido un rotundo éxito», detalló Arce. «Los costos de operación son mucho menores que los de cualquier otra máquina de nuestros competidores».

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De acuerdo con Arce, la gama de extractores Fresh’n Squeeze® de JBT, encabezada por la versión recién lanzada del exitoso Multi Fruit Juicer, también se ha visto favorecida en el país, tanto entre los grandes supermercados como con los pequeños productores de jugo.

Por tratarse de una empresa que vende, renta y da servicio al equipo y maquinaria, a Arce no le cabe duda de que LARCE seguirá beneficiándose de su vínculo tan cercano con JBT, relación que, él afirma, ha permitido a LARCE agregar valor a los productos que ofrece.

«Nuestro objetivo es brindar valor añadido y profesionalismo, desde el momento en que el equipo o la máquina está en desarrollo, hasta el servicio y la atención continuas durante la posventa», añadió Arce. «Esta estrategia nos ha permitido ganarnos la confianza de nuestra clientela».

Leer más información sobre LARCE

JBT and LARCE: an ongoing success story in Costa Rica

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Leer este artículo en español

Costa Rica is the leading producer of MD2 pineapples for export worldwide, accounting for an estimated 75% of the market. Although not a native fruit to the Central American country, Costa Rica has built up a formidable reputation as a pineapple producer and exporter since the 1970s; a success that has since been repeated in a variety of other sectors, both fresh and processed. But perhaps what fewer people are aware of is JBT’s role in the Costa Rican pineapple story and the strong connection with the country that endures to this day.

LARCE Distribution, a Costa Rica-based importer, distributor and servicer of specialist systems and equipment across a range of sectors, has been part of the JBT story in Costa Rica almost since the beginning, aiding and assisting the development of the JBT brand in industries as diverse as fresh fruits, dairy and tomato sauces.

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(l-r) Roberto Arce Jr; Laura Arce; Roberto Arce Sr

First pineapples
LARCE is a third generation family business founded by Alberto L Arce in 1949. His son, Roberto L Arce senior, managed the company until 2017 when Roberto Arce Jr took the position of managing director. The relationship with JBT – then known as FMC – started a few short years later when JBT assisted LARCE in the fight against the invasive Mediterranean fruit fly. The relationship also came to the fore in 1965 when the eruption of the Irazú volcano covered much of Costa Rica’s capital, San José, in ash. JBT-supplied equipment helped clean the streets and airports.

By the 1970s, fast growing industrialisation created opportunities for LARCE and JBT with a variety of companies processing dairy, tomato for juice and sauces, and water-based ice pops.

However, arguably the most significant development was the range of coatings supplied by JBT through LARCE, which coincided with the entry of Del Monte in Costa Rica and the arrival of the first pineapples for production in the country. “FMC helped Del Monte bring the first pineapple plants to Costa Rica, and also supplied them with natural waxes, which we are still supplying to producers to present day,” says Roberto Arce Sr.

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Ongoing success
Today managed by siblings Roberto Arce Jr and Laura Arce, LARCE supplies JBT solutions to customers including TicoFrut, an orange and pineapple processor based in Alajuela region north of the capital, and Del Oro, a juice and concentrate specialist located in north-western Guanacaste province. 

TicoFrut was responsible for the first industrial juicing plant in Costa Rica; a facility LARCE contributed to with the company’s first juice extractors, and later an ASEPTIC filler. “There arose a need for an ASEPTIC filler at the TicoFrut plant and it has been a real success,” explains Arce. “The operating costs are far lower than any other piece of machinery from our competitors.”

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JBT’s Fresh’n Squeeze® range of juicers – spearheaded by the recently-launched version of the successful Multi-Fruit Juicer – has also found favor in the country with large grocery retailers and small juice producers alike, according to Arce.

As a company that sells, rents and services equipment and machinery, Arce is in no doubt that LARCE will continue to benefit from its close relationship with JBT; a relationship which he says has enabled LARCE to add value to the products it supplies.

“Our purpose is added value and professionalism, from the moment the equipment or machinery is developed through to ongoing post-sales support and servicing,” adds Arce. “This approach has helped us gain the trust of our customers.”

Learn more about LARCE

JBT: a commitment to investment

Despite the threat of greening to Florida’s citrus industry – as well as the recent impact of Hurricane Irma – JBT remains committed to continuing to invest in its Florida facilities and business, Carlos Saavedra, global marketing manager for JBT’s liquid foods business unit tells the Business Observer.

In an in-depth interview, Saavedra (pictured above) explains JBT’s thinking behind its $13 million investment in a major renovation of the Lakeland citrus-processing equipment plant, detailing why JBT remains committed to maintaining its links with both the local area and the citrus sector.

Saavedra also outlines why JBT’s global mindset – demonstrated by the recent $36 million acquisition of the UK-based PLF International Limited – is the best way to sustain both JBT and its Lakeland plant.

CLICK HERE to read the full interview.

JBT aims to deliver solutions to tuna industry challenges

Today’s global tuna industry is faced with multiple challenges, from the need to minimize environmental impact to the challenge of how to meet retailer and consumer demand with a limited stock of fish. Albert-Frans Brouwer, JBT’s Global Product Line Manager for Tuna, here examines the challenges the sector faces and explains what JBT is doing to help tuna processors overcome them.

If you look at the global tuna industry as it stands today, it is clear that it is a sector which faces multiple challenges. To maintain a healthy population of tuna in the world’s oceans the number of fish we can catch is limited and that’s not going to change. So if you want to be successful in the industry, the key focus has to be on improving the yield, turning as much of the catch into product that can be consumed by people. Next to this the tuna industry is increasingly focused on minimizing the environmental impact of processing.

Where can improvements be made? To do that we need to examine how tuna is processed from the fresh catch to eventually becoming the finished tuna product in a package, ready for consumption.

Along the way, there are a number of essential steps. After being caught, tuna typically comes frozen into port. The fish is pre-cooked, cleaned and cut into smaller pieces before going to a filler, which fills the pre-cooked tuna into cans. From there, the canned tuna goes to a filler-closer where oil or brine is accurately added on top of the tuna cake and the can is closed. In a final step the closed container is sterilized again after which the finished product is ready to go out to retailers.

Learn more about JBT’s Vacuum Pre-Cooker Cooler for Tuna

JBT has a full range of product solutions for all the key process steps that serve tuna processors around the world. In recent years we have been very successful in the marketing of our filler portfolio in the Mediterranean region, with the focus on improving the efficiency of our solutions.

The JBT Tuna Filler series, which is designed to automatically add pre-cooked tuna into open-topped cans at high speed, has recently been augmented by a model that can fill three, 3 oz cans simultaneously, surpassing the industry-standards.

Learn more about JBT’s Tuna Filler

On top of that, for many years JBT has developed software that optimizes pre-cooking and sterilization parameters during processing, making sure the production potential of each of these stages is maximized. We evaluate the type of fish that comes in to make sure customers receive the best possible product after the process is completed.

Our focus at JBT is on the product quality and the environmental impact because that is going to be key to the future of the business. In particular we want to take a closer look at the pre-cooking stages because that’s where we believe we can offer new solutions to substantially reduce water consumption and a more sophisticated determination of processing conditions. We are also looking at ways in which we can we can integrate processing innovations from similar industries, such as poultry or meat.

I think it’s safe to say that although big challenges exist for today’s tuna industry, processors can be confident JBT will be working side-by-side to help meet them.

JBT Food & Dairy Systems moves into new markets

A version of this article was previously published by Dairy Reporter.com

JBT Food & Dairy Systems (JBT F&DS) has maintained a presence in the global dairy sector for over four decades, whether as a standalone business or as part of its former parent company Stork, working as a major supplier of sterilization and filling equipment to the European dairy industry. But following its acquisition by JBT in 2015, the Amsterdam-based company is preparing for a huge expansion in its activities, moving into new markets and integrating its technology into systems across the broader JBT business.

JBT F&DS has multiple product lines from processing – specifically sterilizing and pasteurizing dairy and juice products – to filling and blow molding systems. Products are sterilized using Sterideal®-branded UHT equipment, following which they can be stored in aseptic tanks before going on to aseptic fillers. JBT F&DS’s sterilization options run from 2,000 liters per hour up to 25,000 liters per hour, while tanks go from 10,000 liters up to 50,000 liters.

“It’s all about aseptic,” says Richard Groenendijk, JBT F&DS’s Director of Operations in Amsterdam. “Long-life products must be produced to commercially sterile conditions, so we’re focused on making all-aseptic equipment.”

Dairy – from long-life milk through to puddings, creams and dairy sauces – as well as high-end juices are the principal aims, although Groenendijk says JBT F&DS has also supplied equipment for a range of food products, including sauces containing beans, tomato sauce products and soups, and even nutraceuticals (low acid products with high protein and vitamin content).

JBT F&DS can supply shelf stable solutions for juices as well as dairy

Larger network
Traditionally, JBT F&DS’s client base has been concentrated in Europe and in particular on long-life milk countries in the south, such as Spain, Portugal and Italy, which Groenendijk describes as classic UHT dairy countries – although puddings and other dairy products also have a strong market in Northern Europe.

“The origin of UHT equipment dates back to the 1960s, so we have a large installed base with many of our customers making repeat orders because they know us and the equipment,” he says.

For the last 20-30 years, JBT F&DS has also had a strong presence in Latin America – principally Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, all of which are growth markets for the company. Over the last 10 years, JBT F&DS has also invested in South East Asia and is growing strongly there.

Being part of JBT means the company has the added advantage of now having access to a larger and wider worldwide sales network with more sales people on the ground, which is expected to lead to JBT F&DS having a better spread of products throughout the world.

“We have a very strong Customer Care business in dairy, mainly from UHT equipment – about 30-40% of our turnover is post sales Customer Care – but being integrated into JBT will make us even stronger and give us a greater presence worldwide with far more field service engineers,” says Groenendijk.

JBT F&DS’s Richard Groenendijk

Technology integration
JBT F&DS’s integration into JBT will progress further during the course of 2017, with the company’s technology set to be introduced into equipment supplied by A&B Process Systems, the US-based stainless steel process system specialist also acquired by JBT in 2015.

“A&B Process Systems is strong in the mixing and blending of products – their clients, for example, use a milk base to which is added a strawberry or chocolate flavor, then sent to a UHT to be sterilized, so we are working on product integration with A&B,” explains Groenendijk.

The advantage here, he continues, is that JBT will be able to supply a far broader range of solutions, including A&B mixing and blending technology combined with F&DS sterilization and aseptic tank systems.

Another important F&DS product that is being integrated into existing JBT systems is the company’s coupling-free heat exchange technology.

“We make heat exchange technology that has no couplings in it – our competitors have tube-in-tube heat exchanges which typically use a six meter-long tube, a coupling, and then another six meter-long tube,” explains Groenendijk.

Learn more about JBT’s Heat Exchangers for aseptic systems

“This is important because each coupling is an aseptic risk – a coupling can leak and if they leak you can have bacteria entering your product, so having long tubes without couplings is an advantage when it comes to building heat exchangers.”

In conjunction with JBT’s operation in Parma, Italy, the F&DS technology is being integrated into existing JBT systems, meaning that it could soon be in practice in sectors where the former company has not previously had a notable presence, including fruit and juice sterilization.

Expansion focus
JBT F&DS’s ambitions for its processing systems business are echoed in its other principal area of business, filling and blow molding, where it is expanding beyond its original focus into new markets under the leadership of Patrick de Groot, Aseptic Systems Product Line Manager.

JBT F&DS (formerly Stork Food & Dairy Systems) has been a major supplier of sterilization and filling equipment to the European dairy industry since the 1960s. In fact, de Groot comments that taking one market as an example, in this case the UK, an estimated 80% of milk bottles in the country are filled using SFDS equipment.

Patrick de Groot

Over the course of the years, with the advent of new technology, JBT F&DS has moved into aseptic technology – the technique whereby liquids are subjected to a high temperature for a few seconds to kill potentially harmful bacteria before cooling and filling into retail packaging – and is now a leading supplier of the systems to dairy companies.

UHT sterilizers and aseptic filling equipment are also used, de Groot explains, to sterilize empty containers – typically bottles – before they are filled and closed.

Through such approaches, he says JBT F&DS is able to supply long life, shelf stable solutions for dairy and juice makers, with the advantage that the products can be subsequently stored almost anywhere for a relatively long period of time.

An estimated 80% of glass milk bottles in the UK are filled using JBT F&DS equipment

Safety a priority
De Groot, who has a background in mechanical engineering, originally joined F&DS after writing his graduate thesis on the company, starting in the marketing department before moving into business operations. Since assuming responsibility for JBT F&DS’s sterilization business, de Groot has concentrated on areas where the company’s technology could be applied outside its traditional dairy business.

JBT F&DS is now studying how such technologies can be across sectors in other parts of the world. In the case of the US, he says JBT F&DS is already well established with US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its aseptic filling equipment. “In the US we’re looking for a way to support that process and work with US dairy farmers,” he says.

However, the approach JBT F&DS takes to this and other new markets is likely to be different to the past. Over the course of the past two years, de Groot says JBT F&DS has moved from being an engineering company to a build-to-order specialist, which configures specific machines for specific customers using proven technology.

Ensuring food safety, he says, is also of crucial importance to the company, explaining that JBT F&DS follows rules and regulations that are very much in line with FDA principles. “We are one of the only companies in the world that is able to offer sterility rates that are far beyond those that are typically seen in the industry,” de Groot says.

JBT F&DS’s UHT systems could soon be in action worldwide

Change in emphasis
In terms of markets, de Groot says there are virtually no limitations on where JBT F&DS is able to supply, although he says the US, China, Thailand and Indonesia have assumed particular importance over recent years.

Although still important, de Groot says demand in Europe has slowed during the past decade, while JBT F&DS now receives orders from as far afield as Zimbabwe, Australia and New Zealand. This change in emphasis, he explains, is partly down to JBT F&DS’s effort on long-life dairy and juice products, meaning demand tends to be greater in countries where such products are typically consumed such as Spain and Italy, rather than the likes of the UK where fresh remains dominant.

So what has changed at F&DS since being acquired by JBT Corporation in summer 2015? According to de Groot, being part of JBT is giving F&DS access to an established international sales network. “We are a company based in Amsterdam that was part of the Stork industrial group, and as such it was a challenge to service our customers throughout the world – with JBT, we have access to a larger footprint worldwide with sales and service that is close to our customers,” he explains.

Although it remains strong in the dairy sector, JBT F&DS has moved into the juice market in a major way over the last few years to the extent that 30-40% of the aseptic fillers that it manufactures are now destined for juice processors. JBT’s years of working with the juice sector have served JBT F&DS well, adds de Groot, who explains that its new parent company’s knowledge, expertise and contacts within the industry have been of huge benefit to JBT F&DS.

JBT showcases solutions for Baby Food in new White Paper

Baby food is a fast-growing, rapidly developing category where product quality and safety are crucially important, meaning that processors need to have the best possible packaging and sterilization solutions to meet market expectations. This is precisely what JBT is able to deliver through its filling and sterilization technology for glass jars; innovative systems that are showcased in JBT’s newly released White Paper for the baby food business.

Worth over US$53 billion in 2015 and expected to top more than US$76 billion by 2021, baby food is a rapidly developing category worldwide for infants (4-12 months) and toddlers (12-36 months). With many new mothers returning to work shortly after giving birth, prepared baby foods provide a nutritious, convenient substitute, with packaged foods such as baby rice, fruit or vegetable purees delivering quick and easy alternatives to home-cooked meals.

Safe solutions
JBT’s latest White Paper focuses on filling and sterilization technologies for baby food packed in glass jars, examining how JBT supports processors to market high quality, safe baby food products while at the same time producing at the lowest cost per glass jar. Not only the most transparent way to showcase contents, glass jars are also associated by consumers with high quality baby food products – adding an extra touch of class to purees and other foods.

JBT’s Unifiller is a product that is ideally suited to the baby food market’s needs. Every baby food product has its own requirements when it comes to filling, whether it be a liquid, smooth or viscous recipe containing sensitive particles. With a design and parts that are customized according to processors’ needs, the Unifiller is capable of ensuring accurate filling for whatever the baby food might be, making it the perfect solution for this high-value category.

Learn more about JBT’s Unifiller in the latest White Paper

Consistent quality
Food safety and product quality are essential factors in the baby food industry and the need to achieve this without compromising nutritional and sensory characteristics are of huge importance.

Ensuring food safety while at the same time minimizing any impact on product quality is a challenge for effective in-container thermal sterilization, but it is one that JBT has perfected in the Hydromatic® high-capacity hydrostatic sterilizer and in batch retort units. Through limited-time, high temperature cooking and rapid, efficient cooling, these systems ensure products receive exactly the same thermal process for consistent quality, while at the same time preventing under or over-processing. The reduced processing time also helps preserve the product’s natural flavor, nutrients and appearance.

The JBT Hydromatic® sterilizer and JBT batch retorts are flexible sterilization systems that can be easily adjusted to suit different recipes and packaging sizes, meaning they can comfortably handle a whole range of baby food products.

Learn more about JBT’s Hydromatic sterilizer in the White Paper