Suppliers battle for attention at Anuga FoodTech

Friday 7 April 2006

COLOGNE, Germany: Some of the largest suppliers to Europe's food industry were at the Anuga FoodTec exhibition this week, but buyers also needed to check out some of the smaller providers in the less frequented corners of the complex of buildings where the exhibition is being held.

Food companies constantly need to ensure they have the most efficient and cost effective machinery and processes to stay competitive in an industry where margins are currently low. Convenience foods, snacks, new hygiene requirements are some of the trends the industry is having to address in remaining competitive.

In a bid to compete with their larger counterparts, small and medium-sized providers displayed some innovative, if niche, products that may provide some cost-effective answers to the problems the industry currently faces.

About 35,000 visitors are estimated to have attended the exhibition, organisers said.

Afoheat from Belgium has a newly developed barbecue capable of roasting or grilling foods including meat, potatoes and vegetables fast. The device makes use of gas-powered infrared heaters. Due to its fast grilling action, Afogrill provides high yield at low energy consumption, the company claims.

Ashworth Jonge Poerink of the Netherlands has released a series of hybrid conveyor belts designed for direct contact with either raw or processed food products. The belts combine an all-plastic contact surface with a backbone of rigid stainless-steel rods. The Advantage’s large open area increases air-flow, allowing the belt to be used in freezing and cooling, drying and washing products.

Astepo Srl from Italy had on exhibit a pilot system for aseptic bag-in-box filling. It consists of a plate sterilizer and a filler and is mounted on a compact base frame.

Astori Tecnica, also from Italy, launched a new product range of cryoscopes manufactured for the milk and dairy control laboratories, farms and industries.

The company's CryoBasic and CryoStyle instruments are fully automatic equipment for testing the added water percentage in milk samples. The units state either the cryoscopic point value or the added water percentage of each sample in about two minutes, without the need for the operator’s presence. The user only needs to add between two and 2.5 ml of a milk sample in a supplied, regulator-approved, graduated glass tube. The tube is then placed inside the equipment, then the operator presses a single key to start the analysis.

The refrigerating system uses microprocessor-driven Peltier cells, which along with the reduced size refrigerating bath and the forced ventilation system allows the analyses to be performed even in ambient temperatures of up to 36°C (97°F). An additional water circulating system to cool the equipment is no longer necessary.

The analytical precision is better than ±0.0025 °C (±0.0045 °F), the company claimed.

Other units on display from Astori Tecnica include fully automatic equipment to test fat, protein and lactose contents in milk samples within two minutes. The company also has an automatic system to analyse the fat content of milk, whey and cream samples. The A2200 Proteinmeter determines casein, whey proteins and protein contents according to official regulations.

Bakker Magnetics of the Netherlands presented a new line of magnetic separators. The separators are used to remove metallic impurities from solid and liquid substances. Their modular structure permits them to be integrated into new or existent systems. The equipment is manufactured according to EU and US standards. The integrated neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets can separate iron particles sized down to a few microns from the material flow. NdFeB classed as among the strongest magnetic materials in existence.

Baro of Germany displayed a new air sterilization device, the AirTube C, developed for small spaces in a very wide variety of food industry applications. It is designed to be suspended from a ceiling in refrigeration, storage and production areas. The air is sucked into the irradiation chambers via a ventilator and irradiated with UV-C at a wavelength of 253.7 nm. The wavelength has a lethal effect on micro-organisms such as bacteria, moulds and yeasts. Integrated radiation traps ensure that no UV-C radiation penetrates to the outside.

This makes it possible to use the device in areas where people are working.

Baro also had on display its Hygiene-Check, which can be used to determine bacterial hot spots in a food plant.

Anuga FoodTech is a biannual exhibition of processing and packaging technology, the counterpart of its sister show on food ingredients held on alternate years. The exhibition closes this afternoon.

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