Importance of investment on the right HVAC

Assuming the readers of this article are past the most fundamental question – “why is an investment on the right HVAC important?”, we move on to the how. Of course, the why depends on the line of business you are in and if you are a part of the food processing industry especially, you must look deep into the importance of an investment in the right HVAC system. This article tries to invest the WCGWs (What Could Go Wrong) of a HVAC system and what must be done to address it. In other words, how to choose the right HVAC.

To do so let us break down a system of HVAC – Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning. For the sake of detail, let us also consider Air Distribution System. The individual components, more or less, are as follows:

  • Air Handling Unit – source of filtered hot and cold air
  • Supply Air Ducts (metallic or textile) – source of distribution
  • Return Air Ducts (metallic or textile) – source of ventilation

 

Air Handling Units – WCGW

 

There are multiple examples to provide here. Depending on the level of HYGIENE to be maintained, an Air Handling Unit must be chosen to suit the conditions. The following are some of the points that could go wrong, especially from the point of view of the food processing industry:

  • Bacterial retention
  • Operational inflexibility
  • Frequent part replacement
  • Corrosion
  • High energy expenditure

Air Handling Units – WCGW – How to address them (with Sinteco’s HYGIENE series of Air Handling Units)

Even before the WCGWs mentioned above, there is one major problem that is addressed by Sinteco’s Air Handling Units. The need for customization. If you are a food manufacturer, chances are that you are bound by regulation to maintain a hygienic work floor, which means that the components that are on the work floor also need to be HYGIENIC (ability to be cleaned on a frequent basis and with strong cleaning solutions). Off-the-shelf products cannot be HYGIENIC as they are manufactured with an assembly line method (mass production) and less emphasis is placed on quality. Further, with a standard off-the-shelf product, food processors must plan according to the standard design of the AHU which leaves no scope for improvisation. Sinteco’s HYGIENE series of Air Handling Units provides a solution – all AHUs are manufactured make-to-order and completely customized based on your requirements.

Bacterial Retention can be a huge problem in the food processing industry. European Union has laid down laws to control the level of micro-organisms in food processing facilities and there are strict regulations govern the food manufacturers. Similarly, the United States of America has also laid down clear laws on Microbiological Criteria in food manufacturing facilities. To prevent bacterial retention, there are no magic solutions since where there is moisture and oxygen, aerobic microbes and mould will thrive – the only solution is to have a strict sanitation program where periodic cleaning of the AHU surfaces is performed to prevent the possibility of mould formation. However, the AHU must support such frequent and strong cleaning. The standard AHUs in the market do resist cleaning but compromise on the overall active life. Sinteco’s Air Handling Units are designed to resist strong and frequent cleaning and as well as offer durability over a long period of time.

 

 

Operational Inflexibility is a state of not being able to use Air Handling Units in extreme operating conditions. For example, if an AHU was designed to generate a certain amount of air flow rate, and in the future, it needs to be operated at an entirely different flow rate (smaller or larger), it may be a challenge. However, even Sinteco recommends to its clients to use an Air Handling Unit for what it was designed. But in case of Sinteco’s AHUs, there is at least some scope for change as Sinteco’s Engineering team can recommend modifications to the AHU should there be a technical possibility. Whereas for standard AHUs, it is next to impossible to operate at extreme conditions, as well as to modify the configuration.

Frequent Spare Part Replacement could be a nightmare especially for environments with a high amount of airborne particulate matter. Not only does it make the AHU consume more power, but also tends to wear out the internal components. In standard Air Handling Units, since less emphasis is placed on quality, they are less priced and one of the biggest ways standard AHU manufacturers make money is by selling spare parts. In Harvard Business Review’s 2006 Financial Management article titled Winning in the Aftermarket, the authors stress on the fact that sale of spare parts and after-sales services in the United States is 8% of annual Gross Domestic Product. That means American businesses and consumers spend approximately $1 trillion every year on assets they already own. The article has been written on a positive sense because it is targeted at manufacturers. As an end customer however, food processing companies must heavily consider the expenditure on spare parts in case of a standard AHU.

Corrosion is caused by virtue of poor design. Standard off-the-shelf AHUs are made of multiple compartments that usually create a wedge or a gap between two faces of metal. In presence of moisture and oxygen, corrosion can occur that could eat into metal and disturb performance and eventually the active life of the AHU. Sinteco’s Air Handling Units on the other hand are manufactured with special panels, materials of construction and with special design that ensure there are no metallic junctions for corrosion.

High energy expenditure is a problem especially today when there is huge awareness about energy conservation. In a classic case of refrigeration & air conditioning, when there are a line of components such as heating coil, cooling coil, dehumidification wheel and a fan especially for a high level of air flow rate (for 24 hours x 365 days save for maintenance) is going to consume a large amount of energy. Smart engineering is the only way against spending a lot of money on energy. Concepts like free cooling for inherently cold places and heat recovery are some of the techniques that can be incorporated in the AHU design to reduce the overall consumption of energy. Standard off-the-shelf AHUs also incorporate these techniques but they are again limited to specific designs and it is not possible to customize the AHU.

 

Air Ducts – WCGW

Whether it is supply air or return air with textile ducts or metallic ducts, the air ducts are vulnerable to certain aspects. Especially in a process where high level of hygiene is required, and air ducts are exposed to the same environment as the process itself, the challenge of sanitation is the biggest.

Air Ducts – WCGW – How to address them (with Sinteco’s HYGIENE Air Ducts)

Sinteco’s textile ducts made of polyester is what is available in the rest of the market. However, Sinteco will be a one stop shop for the entire Air Conditioning & Distribution system and all the air ducts (whether textile ducts or metallic ducts) are entirely produced in Sinteco’s workshop. It is usual to find sub-contractors for standard manufactures of Air Handling Units as having a unit for the production of textile air ducts or fabrication of metallic air ducts is an extra cost for the manufacturer. Additionally, Sinteco’s textile air ducts AERTEX® is completely washable with standard washing machines and can be easily dismounted and remounted. The same explanation goes for Sinteco’s metallic air ducts AERMET® that is made of welded stainless steel to ensure utmost levels of HYGIENE and frequently cleanable.

As elucidated, it is imperative as a food manufacturer to consider all possible pitfalls before choosing the right supplier for HVAC systems. Some of the other detailed WCGWs not mentioned are about the proper maintenance of temperature, pressure, humidity and filtration.

With more than 40 years of experience especially with major industry players all over the world, Sinteco has the expertise to be your next and final solution provider for your HVAC requirements. If your nosiness is involved with food processing and you like the contents of this articles, contact us at sinteco@sinteco.com for we would love to say hi!

SPEED AND SANITATION

The world is always moving towards faster and smarter ways of doing things and process industries are no strangers to this idea. Especially since the advent of technology, production processes have been continuously fine-tuned to maximise throughput and minimise time loss. While some such standard practices became revolutionary, a lot others also failed.

Considering the meat processing industry for the sake of argument, the common denominator between all the practices that failed more or less happens to be the auxiliary effects that the manufacturer failed to consider. Two of the most important effects are lack of hygiene and bacterial contamination. The latter could be called the consequence of the former, however, this article will try to explore into both effects.

 

Lack of Hygiene

To understand this effect, it is important to clear a common misconception around Hygiene. When one says ‘Hygienic Air Handling Unit’, it is common misconception to interpret it as Air Handling Units for a Hygienic process. While it may also be true, the real meaning behind ‘Hygienic Air Handling Unit’ is that the unit itself is made of hygienic components. This enables the possibility of cleaning the unit frequently (and ensure quick drying) in order to reduce the possibility of harmful contamination of the resultant air.

In meat processing industry where the manufacturers are obliged by regulations to clean the processing rooms every day, a greater emphasis must always be placed with respect to process hygiene. But since manufacturers are facing stiff competition, the only way to improve the bottom line is by maximising volumes, thereby putting pressure on the production process. Speed is the name of the game.

Speed must normally be accompanied by smartness but the competition is so heavy that manufacturers are willing to tackle problems in retrospect. Inadvertently, there is a compromise on the brand and quality. Smartness must be in the way of choosing the right people, process and technology. While people are out of scope of this article, great attention must be given in the selection of process and technology. Processes and technology must be chosen to complement the throughput as well as regulations.

 

Bacterial Contamination

This effect could imply or be implied by the ‘Lack of Hygiene’ effect. In a way, both these effects are interconnected. In our article about ‘PRODUCT RECALL IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY’, we highlighted some astonishing facts and figures from a small research on the website for product recalls. To be precise, the biggest reason for product recall was harmful micro-organisms contaminating the food products itself. The main enemies identified were Salmonella and Listeria and other airborne micro-organisms.

The said bacteria attacks meat and meat is very susceptible to contamination (even at low temperatures) if no attention is paid on preventive measures. With appropriate processing components, the food products can be further processed to ensure safety and further, with machines made of HYGIENIC designs, the frequency of cleaning can be increased. The materials of construction of hygienic components are such that microbial formation is the least. Hence, the chances of contamination can be reduced considerably.

 

 

Manufacturers nowadays are willing to tackle problems in retrospect as previously mentioned and even globally renowned manufacturers are having a hard time finding a solution against product recalls due to microbial contamination.

Fundamental changes must be made with respect to people, process and technology to bring about a revolutionary change in the situation and complement lightning fast production processes like we have today.

Sinteco manufactures Hygienic Air Conditioning & Distribution Systems as well as Food Processing and Preservation Systems that are all made of hygienic food grade components, intended to (but not limited to) the food industry. Especially meat processing industry, Sinteco also manufactures complete systems of controlled processing rooms integrated with air conditioning & distribution systems for specific processes that require a very high level of hygiene.

Is your business involved in food processing? Are you interested in Sinteco’s products? Get in touch with us today. Write to us on sinteco@sinteco.com!

MICROBIAL CONTAMINATION IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY

Harmful microbes are the enemy when it comes to food safety and preventing contamination is a strong pre-requisite for food manufacturing/processing establishments. Not only are the governing bodies becoming stringent about regulations by the day, but also the general awareness about food safety is on an all-time high. This gives the manufacturers very little margin for error; there is a very thin line between being a million dollar food processor one day and being shut down in the next day for lack of hygienic processing conditions in the processing facility. Hence, food processers of today must take extra efforts in ensuring that the food is being processed in hygienic processing conditions, free from contaminations, especially with respect to what doesn’t meet the eye – harmful microbes. In the meat industry specifically, the food products are more susceptible to contamination from bacteria such as Listeria Monocytogenes and Salmonella among a few others.

Listeria tends to affect vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant women, babies, and people with reduced immunity. Listeria causes a dangerous disease called Listeriosis. To ensure that the processing facility is free from such pathogens, many governing bodies all over the world advice food processing establishments to follow industry best practices and benchmarks for Food Hygiene. In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made a Compliance Policy Guide on the control of Listeria Monocytogenes, which outlines the agency’s point of view on controlling this foodborne pathogen. FDA advises processors to consider these recommendations as they relate to each individual operation and tailor control strategies to the specific circumstances of each processing step. To minimize the potential for contamination of food products with Listeria Monocytogenes, FDA recommends that food processing establishments must adopt a sanitation program that includes a written Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP) and a sanitation maintenance schedule for areas where food is processed and/or exposed. These written SSOP must be made available to the ones responsible for cleaning and sanitation and the personnel must undergo training to ensure compliance to the methods established.

Salmonella on the other hand is the second most active cause of food borne illness and is commonly found in unpasteurized milk, raw egg products, meat, seafood, and poultry. Even if small amounts of Salmonella is found in food, the bacteria can grow and multiply quickly if not contained immediately. It can also spread almost immediately among people especially if they’re not conscious of their personal hygiene. The symptoms of Salmonella can include diarrhoea, fever and abdominal cramps.

These bacteria can thrive in cold, moist environments, including food-processing equipment and a direct consequence of it is the contamination of the food products itself. Salmonella and Listeria can multiply even in challenging low temperature conditions and it is imperative to protect the food products from these harmful bacteria. Like the dairy industry, pasteurization as a concept is becoming increasingly common in the meat industry to realize the full shelf of the meat by heating it to a certain temperature and cooling it immediately to deactivate all harmful microbes thriving on it.

Sinteco HYGIENE Core Pasteurizer - CORETEX

Sinteco HYGIENE Core Pasteurizer – CORETEX

Further, it is an added impetus to ensure that the air surrounding all processing machinery in the food processing facility is clean and up to the standards required so as not to spread air-borne microbes, spores and moulds. Overall, a hygienic work environment is a necessity to ensure that the output is clean, safe and has maximum shelf-life.

Sinteco manufactures all its equipment with a HYGIENIC design and Sinteco’s Pasteurization lines, HYGIENIC Air Handling Units and Air Ducts can be used to ensure a high level of sanitation in the food processing facilities. Does your business manufacture food that is susceptible to microbial contamination? Are you interested in the contents of this article? Contact us for more details today!

Product Recall in the Food Industry

Let us speak about food recalls.

Food recalls in the last three months.

Food recalls in the last three months that have been reported.

Food recalls in the last three months that have been reported and published online.

Food recalls in the last three months that have been reported and published online in the Food Engineering Magazine only.

The following table summarises the same.

 

#

Company

Recalled Product

Recall Reason

1

A leading retailer Private Label:

Triple berry medley, 48 oz.

Triple berry medley, 16 oz.

Blackberries, 16 oz.

Hepatitis A virus found in blackberry samples

2

Multinational meat pocessor 190,000 pounds of frozen chicken Hard plastic found in the patties

3

Gourmet packaged foods manufacturer Golden raisins in plastic packages of three sizes Sulfites that were not listed on labels found

4

Leading sausage manufacturer 95,000 pounds of jalapeño cheddar smoked sausages Hard, green plastic pieces found

5

Transnational retailer Private Label (ADM Milling):

All-purpose flour packaged for ALDI

E. coli strain linked to an outbreak found in samples

6

Meat packaging company 62,000 pounds of raw beef products E. coli found in random samples

7

Leading Tahini manufacturer Tahini 16-ounce jars and 39-pound buckets Salmonella Concord found in sesame seed samples

8

Multinational meat pocessor

12,000,000 pounds of frozen chicken strips Metal pieces found (closely related to #2 on this list)

9

Leading premium food manufacturer 113,000 pounds of raw ground beef E. coli contamination

10

Meat packaging company 53,000 pounds of raw ground beef E. coli contamination

11

Leading beef processor 43,000 pounds of ground beef Hard plastic pieces found in sample

12

Leading avocado grower and distributor Whole avocados sold in bulk Listeria contamination

13

Leading meat processor 78,000 pounds of raw ground turkey Salmonella contamination

14

Organic food manufacturer Organic bean sprouts Listeria monocytogenes

 

What this table tries to convey is that irrespective of whether investment is made on food safety or not, there always tends to be lapses in manufacturing. Given the dynamic nature of the food industry and the inherent competition at the elite level, presence, volumes and numbers are everything. When a manufacturing unit products 100 tonnes of product per hour, a certain percentage is always counted off as ‘waste’. But the last thing an organization wants is this ‘waste’ being identified in the hands of customers.

Lots of money may be invested on having initiatives such as Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, 5S and other Total Quality Management principles. These principles however instruct an organization to behave in a certain manner ‘given’ the existing resources. A need for change is suggested only when there is a lapse. Hence in such cases, it is not possible to predict when a problem arises but when it does arise, it is tagged as an ‘incident’, goes through the incident management process and is closed with correct and preventive actions. In such cases, the damage might have already been done! It is thus imperative to go a layer deeper where possible lapses must be predicted well in advance and measures must be taken without chances of negative incidents/lapses.

In the table above, one of the main reasons of product recall happens to be bacterial/fungal contamination. F&B industry is such a sensitive industry wherein even if there is presence of contamination in the machinery used, it could spread and contaminate foods. Here arises a need for Hygienic machinery. What is hygienic machinery? It could be defined as the machinery that has been manufactured with careful engineering design and food grade materials of construction so that harmful microorganisms cannot thrive on the surface of the machinery. Further, hygienic machinery are ones that can be cleaned on a periodic basis with strong cleaning techniques based on a robust sanitation program.

Sinteco manufactures all its machinery with different levels of hygiene based on specific requirements. From Air Conditioning & Distribution HVAC systems to Food Processing & Preservation machinery, Sinteco has been manufacturing for the Food industry for more than 40 years. Additionally, Sinteco also manufactures Hygienic prefabricated processing rooms (like Cleanrooms) integrated with Air Conditioning & Distribution systems for specific applications in food processing.

Is your business facing the risk of product recall and do you want to take a step further in preventing such recalls? Get in touch with us today!

 

The Experience at IFFA 2019

If you happened to be at the Messe Frankfurt during the last week, you must have come across the Classic Red Ferrari. Not the car, but a certain machine displayed by us. Presenting to you, the Ferrari of Air Handling Units, the Sinteco Hygienic AHU ★★★.

 

 

The hundreds that visited booth E80 in hall 9.0 had the opportunity to witness Sinteco’s high end Air Conditioning and Distribution Systems in action. Flashing a dashing red, our AHU was generating clean air at the rate of 3500m3/hr and the ones that visited it opened their mouths in excitement and enthusiasm. Our AHU stopped even visitors that had no business with it; and language was no barrier either. “What is this machine? Looks so advanced!”

 

Sinteco had the pleasure of explaining all the gallant machines it had on display. When visitors heard the basic specifications of Air Handling Units with control on temperature, pressure, humidity and filtration, they were surprised to say the least. Further, when meat processing companies and ready to eat meat companies heard that Sinteco also manufactured pasteurization lines, they were happy to have found a one stop shop for all their requirements. From all corners of the world, they came in search for solutions but ended up finding all in one stand – SINTECO.

 

The tailor-made solutions by Sinteco made us a rather interesting prospect for meat processing companies. One of the biggest objectives of the meat processing companies visiting the fair was to understand the sizes and capacities of the Air Conditioning & Distribution Systems and Food Processing & Preservation Systems on offer. Being in the planning stages, they wanted to adapt their production process based on the machinery. It was a pleasant surprise for the visitors when they understood that NONE of the machines manufactured by Sinteco was standard machines. All machines are made to order, based on the specifications presented by the customer. With a competent engineering team, the fact that Sinteco was also involved in the basic and detailed engineering, the visitors were delighted. Sinteco even had visitors from the vegetable process industry despite the ‘meat’ exhibition.

 

All in all, Sinteco had an extraordinary fair and takes this opportunity to thank all the visitors.

An Italian Experience at IIAR 2019

The International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) Natural Refrigeration Conference is considered one of the most important – if not ‘the’ most important conference for companies working in the Refrigeration Industry. If you are working in this industry, participation in IIAR Conference is essential to meet potential clients/manufacturers and attend long lists of expert presentations. IIAR takes place in the US, and each year changes city, giving the chance to participants and members to experience new places around the country. That being said, this year’s conference took place in the warm city of Phoenix (Arizona), where attendees were not only coming from within the country, but also coming from Central and South America. Especially this year – regarding ‘International’ presence, Italy had something in store.

One of IIAR’s 2019 unexpected surprises was organized by a group of Italian companies that, for the first time, were brought in together showing an exceptional Italian product portfolio for the US Market. Sinteco Impianti S.r.l., of course was part of the ‘Italian Block’ along with LU-VE S.p.A and Decsa S.r.l., representing three different concepts of Italian products that can find great application within the Refrigeration Industry. It was thanks to Mid-States Refrigeration Supply Inc. and Clark Johnson Company Inc. that the said Italian companies had the chance to participate together for the first time, in offering a fully-Italian solution. The outcome was considerable in terms of experience and feedback from this initiative.

Three Italian companies came together at IIAR 2019 thanks to Midstates Refrigeration Supply Inc. and Clark Johnson Company, Inc

Sinteco has been a participating member of IIAR even before this year’s convention, but being part of a group only had a positive outcome for the company. Entering this year’s show was nothing like the past years, and it has been a proof that sometimes collaborating, especially being an International company in the US, can have a greater outcome. It was an exceptional experience, where there was a sense of co-operation and unity, as well as a great help from the US companies that helped realize this idea. There were many takeaways from this event, and certainly Sinteco’s will try to repeat this initiative in the near future.

Want to understand our solutions for your HYGIENIC Air Conditioning & Distribution needs? Get in touch with us today!

Structural Optimization of Air Conditioning & Distribution Systems in Process Plants

In majority of process plants across the world, HVAC systems are installed depending upon the way the buildings are constructed. In a way, it could be said that the money you spend as a process plant owner on getting your HVAC systems right, often represents a significant fraction of the money spent on the whole plant itself. When a new plant is being built however, some measures could be taken to ensure that the HVAC systems are installed in an optimized and efficient manner.

To address this issue, Sinteco has come up with a creative solution that is currently being implemented in two new food processing plants in Europe with roaring success. In the process of building up to the solution, it is imperative to understand the existing market solutions for installing Air Handling Units (AHUs), Utilities and Ducting in a process plant.

In typical Processing Environments, the AHUs are usually installed outside the environment, possibly in closed spaces especially near the utilities where the AHUs are fed by piping networks (hot/cold). Process Machinery used inside the controlled environments are fed with Diathermic Fluids such as Steam, Glycol Water and Ammonia, and with Service Fluids such as water and compressed air. This creates the need to design a robust fluid distribution network in a way that reduces civil works and other associated costs.

In scenarios where a Hygienic process is involved, the rules of a good design concept dictate that the installation of all the components (especially AHUs, Utilities and Regulation Groups) must be outside the controlled environments to guarantee Hygiene and maximum Washability. It therefore appears evident that all these auxiliary systems must be placed:

  • Along the perimeter of the controlled environment
  • On the roof of the controlled environment

In the last thirty years, Sinteco has constructed numerous Classified Processing Rooms in some of the most important food processing establishments in the world. This experience has helped Sinteco in deducing some engineering techniques to optimize the construction of process plants and setting up of HVAC systems. The concept of ‘Sinteco Buildings’ is born here.

 

Sinteco’s Monolithic Classified Processing Rooms

 

As already mentioned, the market currently offers two solutions that achieve a certain level of optimization and cost control following the customer needs:

Solution A – The AHUs and Utilities placed along the perimeter of the Controlled Environment

A light weight roof with a low load-bearing capacity is used in this case where the AHU and the Utilities are placed on either sides of the Controlled Environment. This solution could be incorporated in existing plants where the scope for modifying the physical structures is less.

Pros
  • Low cost of the entire structure
Cons
  • High cost of ducting (since the lengths of the ducts to be used are higher)
  • High cost of maintenance (since the AHUs and Utilities are placed on both sides of the building)

 

Sinteco’s Air Conditioning & Distribution System placed in the perimeter of the Building

Solution B – The AHUs and Utilities placed on the roof of the Controlled Environment

A roof made of concrete that can support the weight of AHUs and utilities to be placed either outside, on top, or inside, hung from the ceiling. However, to support the roof, pillars are required inside the Processing Rooms. This could create hassles as far as the internal space is concerned.

Pros
  • Moderate cost of roof
  • Low cost of air treatment systems (since the lengths of ducts to be used is significantly less)
Cons
  • Possibility of interference of process machinery with the pillars

 

Sinteco’s Air Conditioning & Distribution system installed from the roof of the building

Solution C – Sinteco Buildings

Collaborating with the team/organization handling civil works, Sinteco can help realize a concept in new plants that achieves maximum optimization at minimum cost and time.

Pros
  • Low cost of roof
  • Low cost of ducting
  • Elimination of pillars
  • Low cost of maintenance
  • High level of Hygiene
  • Less setup time
  • Overall price reduced by 10–20% compared to solutions A and B
Cons
  • None

 

If your business is constructing new process plants and you want to optimize your construction and reduce costs, get in touch with us today and understand Sinteco’s secret concept of Sinteco Buildings!

The Adventurous Consumer – F&B Industry in 2019

As the world gets increasingly connected though the web, it becomes smaller and smaller in a way. We are at the age of technological boom and are ever so close to creating something as big as, if not bigger, than the internet itself. Aside of the technological advances, what are the implications of increased connectivity between one side of the earth to the other? Blending cultures, converging thought processes and hence, matching needs and desires.

Of all the consequences, a few are of utmost importance to the food and beverage manufacturers particularly. The blending cultures ensures ‘westernization’ and ‘easternization’ of diets. A young boy from India prefers Mac’n’Cheese while a young girl from USA prefers Chicken Tikka Masala. Times are changing.

Innova Market Insights identifies itself as the ‘Food Intelligence People’ and has compiled a comprehensive report about the trends for the F&B industry for 2018. It is the elephant in the room for the F&B companies as the report postulates important trends portrayed by the consumers of 2018. It serves as a mild warning for well established F&B companies as well as opens up a world of opportunities for F&B start-ups.

As part of the report, IMI elucidates on the top 10 trends for 2019 as follows:

10. Bountiful Choice

According to a consumer survey conducted in Brazil, Germany and the United States the percentage of people that think a new flavour is a deciding factor increased significantly in just two years, between 2015 and 2017. The new consumer is looking for a variety of choices within the same product and the only way of achieving a differentiated offer of a single product is by meeting the consumers’ demands around flavour, nutrition (functionality) and visual appeal (packaging). The way in 2019 is to go beyond the signature products and their signature flavours.

9. Ocean Garden

As the vegan culture sets in, most meat eaters are looking for milder forms of meat to perhaps make them feel less guilty about consuming the traditional meat from cows, goats and pigs. Apart from the most obvious form of milder meat, chicken, one in two consumers in the US and UK are considering fish to be an alternative to meat. The current global seafood sales is about €400 billion and is only set to increase in 2019 and forward.

‘Sea-lami’ is an alternative to the pork version salami that is gaining popularity. Sea vegetables including algae, dulse, kelp, kombu, wakame, arame, nori, Irish moss are enjoying a massive surge in the F&B market launches today compared to 2013. Sea ingredients are being used across various product categories such as crisps, noodles, muesli, jam and even water.

8. From Snacks to Mini Meals

This is an interesting trend because the consumers are looking for indulging in something wholesome. It is hence imperative to differentiate between indulgence and wholesomeness. Indulgence is a consequence of quick craving and hence can be attributed to small portions of snacks. Wholesomeness usually refers to getting enough nutrition from a healthy square meal. This trend implies that the new consumers want to indulge in something as small as a snack but get from it, what one gets from a healthy wholesome meal. Enter mini-meal, a hybrid version of a snack and meal – usually a small portion of a healthy meal.

Studies have found that food cravings increases as the day goes on. To cater to that, the market has been responding very well to products that are called snacks but made of fruit and vegetables in small portions. From 2013 to 2017, there has been a 13% increase of product launches of fruits and vegetables with a ‘snack’ claim. Meat snack is also gaining popularity. ‘Peperami Tex-Mex Bunch of 5S’ claims to make that ‘HANGRY’ feeling disappear and it is made of 100% pork (and gluten-free).

7. Dining Out, In

The definition of ‘foodservice’ keeps getting skewed by the year. 2019 will be the year when the new consumer would want to dine at home with food of a premium restaurant quality. The consumer is taking up the role as a service provider with concepts such as hobby chefs opening up their own homes for an intimate dining experience. Food service is meeting retail in a unique way as cafes and diners are popping up as in-store concepts. Ready meals are another important consequence of this trend, and Millennials and Gen-Z are especially willing to pay more for a good quality ready meal. Concepts that boast ‘healthy’ are being met with success in the market irrespective of the type of offer.

6. Say it with Colour

Visual appeal stands in the front of strategies to market F&B products, especially with the advent of social media and smart phones. Studies show that in countries like Mexico, US, Canada, Spain and Netherlands, one in ten consumers are influenced by social media to purchase F&B products and in India and China, the number is one in five.

A unique combination of colour attributed with health is also gaining traction. Product launches of bottles containing health drinks with dashing colours are on the rise.

5. Beyond the Coffeehouse

Coffee is being incorporated as a flavour in almost anything and everything. Though this trend has only just begun, incorporation of coffee as a flavour offers endless possibilities. One in two consumers from US, UK and Australia want more fusion of flavours in their beverages. The applications of coffee and tea across various F&B categories has significantly increased between 2013 and 2017 and will continue to rise. Brands as big as Coca-Cola are following the trend and have launched a new product of Cola blended with coffee.

Brands like Twix, m&m, KitKat, Hoegaarden and Oreo have also come up with products with tea or coffee incorporated in them.

4. Going Full Circle

As the awareness around pollution, plastic waste and food waste is on the rise, it is having a clear impact on the buying behaviour of the new consumers. The number of F&B product launches featuring ethical product packaging has increased close to 10 fold from 2013 to 2017 and it will continue to accelerate. The potential for ‘planet-friendly’ foods will also increase in 2019 and it can be attributed to the fact that the number of F&B product launches with ‘bio-degradable’ and/or ‘Carbon Footprint Reduction’ has increased steadily between 2013 and 2017. Consumers are more likely to buy products that include upcycling, no-waste and bio packaged products.

In the diary industry too, the new consumers are more and more inclined towards plant based alternatives. In a study done in 2017 with consumers from the US and UK, close to half the respondents agreed that plant based milk/yogurt is more sustainable compared to cow based milk/yogurt. In conclusion, the market is tending more and more towards a ‘cleaner earth’.

3. Positively Processed

Old techniques of food processing and raw ingredients are now considered to be ‘premium’ for better health. Cold pressing, cold brewing are some of the methods of processing that are regaining popularity.

Distilled drinks are slowly replacing alcohol as they promise to be crafted with over 20 natural ingredients including green fruit juices and filtered through silver birch charcoal and steam-distilled botanicals including apple, citrus peel and oak tincture. Similar trends are observed in new products such as ‘barrel aged cocoa tea’ and ‘unique and ethnic yogurt’.

2. Lighter Enjoyment

The new consumer does not want to be extremely full or extremely drunk or extremely hit by flavours. Just as the portion size is reducing according to one of the previous trends, so is the content of alcohol or flavours in a certain drink. Between 2013 and 2017, there has been a 50% increase in the product launches of alcoh9olic beverages with less than 0.5% alcohol. Light flavoured alcoholic beverages are also gaining popularity as there is an 18% global growth of flavoured beer launches between 2013 and 2017.

Indulgent products with a ‘thin’ claim is making the new consumer feel less guilty about consuming the same. The number of bakery launches featuring a ‘thin’ claim has increased close to 60% between 2013 and 2017. Mild flavoured water is also gaining a lot of traction in the market.

1. Mindful choices

Mindful choices refer to the responsible food choices that new consumer has started making. Not only does it contribute in peace of mind but also ensures good health. According to a study conducted in the UK in 2017, 4 out of 10 respondents admitted that they have increased their consumption of ‘healthy’ foods. High degree of awareness has set on meat eating and the culture of ‘vegan-ism’ is spreading.

The new consumers want to be completely aware and understand what they are consuming as attributed by a study that found 7 out of 10 consumers in UK and US wanted a deep understanding of what they ate to have a balanced health choice. The consumers also want to have a peace of mind while making a positive impact upon making a choice. The industry is hence looking to meet the ethical demands of the new consumer in 2019.

 

All these trends mean that the focus of the food & beverage companies must change slightly if not much. Since the consumer wants to be completely aware of all the stages of production of F&B products, it is imperative for companies to employ the best in class facilities and methods of production. The vital aspect of maintaining the best in class facilities and methods of production includes incorporating extremely high levels of hygiene to maintain product quality. This applies especially to products that have limited shelf life. Maintaining a clean work environment and pasteurizing appropriate food products are a must.

Sinteco manufactures machinery that ensures the best in class working environment and product/process hygiene. From Air Handling Units, Air Distribution Systems, Clean Rooms and solid food pasteurizers, Sinteco aims to be an end to end problem solver for its clients.

If you are a F&B establishment looking to understand more about these trends and what you can do to combat the potential tantrums the market can throw in 2019, or if you just want to have a chat with us regarding the contents of this article, get in touch with us now!

Cleanroom Tech

There has been a lot of buzz in the Cleanroom industry regarding design and aesthetics. While the traditional narrative says that a Cleanroom must solely serve specific technical purposes, there is a new narrative that emphasises on innovative ways by which the previously mentioned technical purposes could be served in the best way, leading to the best results possible.

Any manufacturing company, regardless of what it produces, must maintain a highly controlled environment that is free from any contaminants to ensure maximum product integrity. Up until now, clean rooms have been regarded as highly controlled working environments with restricted access where one can only enter with a sophisticated space suit of sorts. Personnel inside Cleanroom usually work lengthy shifts and are often deprived of natural resources like ambient air, ambient light and sometimes even ambient noise for long periods of time. Cleanrooms are generally coloured white or grey on the inside.

Because of the above reasons, Cleanrooms are often labelled as ‘dull’ and ‘boring’ and in turn, the number of specialists working inside Cleanrooms are decreasing at an alarming rate. More emphasis must hence be placed on counteracting the lack of specialists. Human resource takes centre stage and while trying to identify new ways to retain Cleanroom personnel, one needs to discover innovative ways to make the usually monotonous work inside cleanrooms bearable.

Enter design and aesthetics. ReinraumAkademie (Leipzig, Germany), one of the proponents of the latter narrative mentioned in the first paragraph, organises a yearly conference and push the agenda for Cleanroom sector to open its eyes and start to incorporate colours and designs inside Cleanrooms. In their yearly conference cleanzone, ReinraumAkademie also presents two awards for Cleanroom manufacturers. One for Cleanroom solutions on innovation, sustainability and energy efficiency and one for creativity inside Cleanrooms.

“Cleanrooms as main working spaces of staff require an aesthetic upgrade” says Franck Duvernell of Reinraum Akademie. It helps to understand the positive impact design and aesthetics may have on personnel working inside the Cleanrooms. For instance, if the walls are painted in different colours, it may help create/set a mood for working. Neuroscience studies have shown that different colours trigger different kind of emotions in the subconscious mind. Yellow stands for freshness, optimism and motivation; red stands for aggression; blue stands for satisfaction, harmony and equilibrium; and green stands for assertiveness and perseverance. Any piece of art (abstract or concrete) made with the combination of the four mentioned colours may create a more relaxed mood for the personnel to work and can also help reduce error rates, sickness rates and process fluctuations.

Additionally, to combat the issues of Cleanroom personnel not being exposed to ambient light, Human Centric Lighting must be considered. Light is essential for humans not only to perform visual tasks but also to facilitate healthy daily rhythm (light acts as a vital time reference for our biological clocks).

Research in this area is slowly picking up speed. One more interesting theories to ponder upon will be music inside the Cleanrooms. Though there is literature online suggesting music/sound should never be a part of a Cleanroom environment, the reasons they give are rather weak – personnel working inside maybe unable to hear alarms that may be triggered outside, personnel must concentrate on the work and not on music, music may trigger particulate matter (contaminants) inside the Cleanroom environment. The author of this article believes that only engineering and research stands in between making music, design and aesthetics inside Cleanrooms, a reality.

Want to have a chat with us about the latest in Cleanroom technology or know more? Get in touch!