Manufacturers of food and beverages packed in glass and plastic bottles face a range of mounting pressures. Hygiene and food safety requirements are increasing at the same time that cost per unit is becoming more and more critical. In this challenging environment, the choice of filling technology is crucially important.
JBT‘s latest White Paper, ‘The Art of Filling Glass and Plastic Bottles’, examines in detail the prominence of the packaging types in our daily lives. A walk down any grocery store aisle will likely provide evidence of just how important plastic and glass bottles have become, for everything from drinks and juices to dairy products, wines, spirits, edible oils, sauces and condiments.
The JBT Level Filler: one of JBT’s innovative solutions for glass and plastic bottles
However, today’s market demands are creating challenges in production schedules as well as applying pressure for quality and food safety standards like never before. JBT’s filling solutions help ensure bottled products comply with the highest standards before they reach the retail shelf.
The JBT White Paper looks at the role played by filling machines – the only packaging machines that come into contact with products – detailing how they play a major role in managing product quality, safety, shelf life and yield, as well as JBT solutions for making sure these requirements are realized to their maximum.
Proving customers with greater flexibility in continuous sterilization is an ongoing challenge for Rick Wilson, JBT’s Global Product Line Director for Retort & Rotary, when it comes to developing new systems and solutions that meet customer needs. Wilson, who oversees research and development in the segment, says the primary focus has been on systems that not only achieve faster sterilization, but which also improve product quality and throughput.
As well as being responsible for technical sales support, Wilson and his team are focused on both developing new products and improving existing systems in JBT’s rotary and retort product portfolio.
JBT’s strategy Wilson says JBT’s strategy is to develop systems that improve the quality of the product being sterilized, while at the same time increasing throughput.
“There are primarily two ways to do that,” he explains. “You either heat the product quicker (to sterilization temperature) and/or you cool the product quicker. All of what we are looking to develop are ways of compressing that cycle. By doing that, generally food quality is increased and throughput is increased because you can process more in a given day.”
JBT currently has several products in development that it is hoped will help achieve these aims by both increasing capacity and shortening the overall process. These, Wilson reveals, involve either optimizing the agitation process or combining different, complementary technologies. “The challenge is being able to heat the product up very quickly, so we are looking at technologies that allow us to do that,” he says. “These products are on our horizon for 2018.”
JBT’s other focus, Wilson continues, is examining the possibilities offered by the Internet of Things (IoT) for delivering a more complete picture of the operation and through analytics improve the overall efficiency of the canning line. “Customers are looking for flexibility in continuous sterilisation and that’s what we are trying to achieve,” he adds.
High Pressure Processing, or HPP of short, is an innovative, all-natural cold pasteurization technique that preserves the vitamins, taste and texture of processed foods, while also extending the shelf life. Market leader JBT Avure, at the forefront of high pressure technologies since the 1950s, has been involved in the creation and delivery of 70% of commercially available HPP products today, and now accounts for over 60% of HPP treated food worldwide.
With consumer demand ever greater for fresh, healthy foods that are also preservative-free, processors are faced with the dilemma of also having to meet retailer demand for extended shelf life while also keeping costs down. HPP, which uses ultra-high pressure purified water to keep packaged food and beverages pathogen-free to stay fresh longer, provides a proven solution for everything from juices through to baby food, dressings and soups.
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.
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.