Skip to content

JBT Food Preservation Technologies: Sustainability at its core

BPCS_IT

Pancho Purroy, JBT’s EMENA Sales & Account Manager for Citrus & Juice Processing Technologies and Sales Manager for Liquid Foods Iberia, examines how sustainability has been at the core of JBT’s food preservation innovations since the very beginning.

For over 100 years JBT has been a major innovator in food preservation technology. The corporation has always believed food safety and shelf life solutions would have an ever-growing importance in the food & beverage supply chains across the world. As a consequence, JBT heavily invested across its history in adopting the broadest range of preservation technologies and continues to do so.

Reducing food losses and food waste at both the manufacturing and the consumer levels, will result in a more secure global food system. It is important for food manufacturers not to have production losses and returns; and consumers want to improve the overall utilization of food. Waste reduction strategies and preservation methods can now be widely used, and these are needed more than ever before.

Green plant in light bulb silhouette on soil background

Needless waste
Recent FAO Food Balance statistics show supply chain losses for food groups such as meat, fruit and vegetables to be around 5% of production of domestic supply quantities (Martindale, 2017). While these food losses remain incredibly important it is reported by national agencies and government departments that consumers’ food waste regularly reaches 20% or more of food purchased (Defra, 2017).

JBT believes it is essential to continue innovating and deploying food & beverage preservation solutions as it is proved that frozen foods, ambient shelf-stable foods, and extended shelf-life refrigerated foods all show a reduction in waste and, consequently, a positive contribution to the sustainability of our food supply systems.

The preservation of foods and types of food preservation methods available can facilitate this because they reduce food degradation and improve the utilization of food in the manufacturing and domestic environments. Also, they will contribute towards sustainability given the factual data that production of food waste increases greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprint of food consumption (Garnett, 2013; O’Rourke, 2014). It is crucial to consider food waste reduction as an outcome of using preserved foods because research carried out previously demonstrates it can help us to define the sustainability of meals (Martindale, 2017).

Rainbow Fruits

Preservation importance
Frozen preservation, pasteurization and sterilization methods can provide greater utilization of food by consumers and reduce household food waste. An increasing amount of research studies have identified the importance of preservation methods in reducing consumer food waste and that there are several factors that must work together if food waste reduction is to be successful. For example, research carried out in the UK market comparing fresh and frozen food use in households found that the amount of consumer food waste was dependent on the food preservation method. The study showed a 47% reduction in household food waste for frozen products compared to fresh products (Martindale, 2014).

Not only we must consider the value of food preservation in households but we must also study whether manufacturing facilities are achieving an efficient use of resources and continual availability (Tukker, 2015). JBT continues to develop food preservation models that identify control points in the supply chain that can maximize food waste reduction, and jointly with its global and regional customers, investigates these wider impacts on food resource usage.

As another example, food & beverage preservation techniques improve the availability of out-of-season produce which can be included in produce sustainability assessments (Foster et al., 2014). Indeed, this was why fruit and vegetable preservation of using traditional pickling and osmotic methods originally emerged (Martindale, 2017).

JBT Avure

High Pressure Processing (HPP) technology from JBT Avure can improve product shelf-life

Secure supply
The benefits of food preservation are important, and a secure food supply chain is important in the sustainability arena if it can provide what consumers demand with increased resilience. Preserved foods have played a pivotal role in enabling the global food supply chain to evolve and, without that, food losses would be increased in agriculture and processing.

Many of the food supply chain issues highlighted in current food loss and food waste research do not exist with preserved foods because these techniques lead to the extended shelf life gains that many waste reduction initiatives seek (Parfitt et al., 2010). Furthermore, freezing, pasteurization and sterilization meet the conditions of “clean label” trends and often provide greater portion control in the home (Shove and Southerton, 2000). The “clean label” trend is now clearly identified in retail environments where there are demands for ingredient labeling that provides greater clarity and communicates any potential allergens introduced in processing and manufacturing (Asioli et al., 2017).

Finally, market research also leads us to consider the broader issue of what incentivizes consumers to eat a more sustainable diet. There is over 23.4M MT of food waste produced by households across European Community member nations (Bräutigam et al., 2014; Stenmarck et al., 2016). A sustainable diet must eliminate this food waste. Ambient shelf-stable, extended refrigerated shelf life, and frozen food & beverage purchases decrease food waste significantly and this has important implications for providing sustainable meals and diets to the growing global population.

JBT Sustainability in Action

1920

  • Introduced the Cooker Cooler. Still today, one of the most efficient solutions to sterilize canned foods. 

1950

  • Introduced the first in-line juice extractor. Still today, the highest yield, lowest waste citrus extractor in the market

1960

  • Introduced the first FLoFREEZE Freezer. Still today, the benchmark in efficient, sustainable IQF freezing.
  • Introduced the TASTE evaporator, the most efficient, lowest energy consumption juice concentrate solution in the World

2000s

  • Over 1000 UHT Lines installed globally. 
  • 75% of all Citrus Extractors globally.
  • 50% of all retort/canned foods globally.
  • Over 100 continuous Sterilizers running.

2020

  • Largest Range of food preservation/shelf life extension/pathogen kill solutions: thermal & nonthermal, broadest spectrum. 
  • iOPS IoT Platform: troubleshooting and operational processes improvements, line efficiencies.
  • Retorts: Heat Recovery System; LESS; Energy Recovery System; 
  • Reduce Water & Chemicals: SmartWash; Chemtrol; Freshgard water recycle; Aurratech FIP.
  • Reduce Energy Usage: ReGen systems for pasteurization & cooling; Hi2 Flex; Smart Dryer; RPS; ERS; IceGen
  • Reduce Waste: Aseptics; HPP; FTNON Automated core removals; SafeTraces

JBT boosts sustainability credentials with ambitious solar project

JBT solar panels_small

JBT’s Sint Niklaas, Belgium facility is close to completing of one of the company’s most ambitious sustainability projects, with the installation of over 1,000 solar panels that will – once in operation – account for 25% of the 260,000 sq ft center’s total energy usage. The culmination of months of careful planning, the project is part of a large scale move to bring Sint Niklaas, and other, older JBT facilities, in line with JBT’s overall Sustainability strategy for 2020.

JBT’s internal Energy Action Plan falls within the Sustainability strategy and includes substantial work undertaken to reduce heating, fuel and electricity usage at locations such as Sint Niklaas. As part of the plan, older roofing at the site is also being replaced and improved insulation added; an effort which has so far helped bring down Sint Niklaas’ heating costs by approximately $150,000 per year.

JBT Sint Niklaas 2

Solar panels at JBT Sint Niklaas, Belgium

“At Sint Niklaas, we are in a very big, but old facility, so over recent years we have been renovating the shell and the roofing, and this has given us the opportunity to also install solar panels,” explains HSE and Facility Manager Jan Vangansbeke. “Here in Sint Niklaas, we are located in a residential area and in that context, we want to carefully consider the surrounding environment and our Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Putting in place a total of 1,048 solar panels, capable of generating a total of 330 KWp or around a quarter of the facility’s total energy consumption per year, involved close communication between all partners from the beginning which ultimately helped deliver extremely good results, according to Vangansbeke. 

JBT Sint Niklaas 1

View of JBT Sint Niklaas’ recently-installed solar panels

However, the project was not without its challenges. “We have insulated, steel deck roofs with connecting flexi-panels in between to allow for more natural light, but these posed a danger during installation,” he explains. “What we did was to put in place galvanized mesh wire – as they use in concrete – which was fixed to the roof so the solar panels could be installed and maintained safely.”

Looking ahead, Vangansbeke says JBT will continue to work on the building shell in Sint Niklaas with the remaining, older roofing gradually replaced as part of the overall drive to achieve more sustainable heating and electricity usage at the site. Other future initiatives include the installation of charging stations for electrical vehicles.

Learn more about JBT and Sustainability