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Fresh food - Preservation
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Food preservation coating
 
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Fesh food products

Fesh products have a limited shelf life. Keeping their native quality while extending the sell-by date is a challenge.
Alterations may come from physical (staling), chemical (oxydation), enzymatic (oxydation) or microbial causes.
Solutions have been developped: minimal processing, hygienic production conditions, packaging, modified atmosphere...
Although not preferred, the addition of a preservative ingredient still is a solution for a specific alteraton.
In many cases, it may just be a topical application.
Recent advances make it a sensible solution with regards to the consumer trend towards natural products.

Base

The range of fresh products forwarded to the consumer is wide and expanding : diced fruits mixes, salads, sliced meat, prepared meals, bakery ...

Ingredients

The range of ingredients matches the diversity of food products:
  • Chemical organic or inorganic preservatives: BHA, BHT, sorbates, acetic acid, alcohol, nitrites...
    They are usually incorporated in the food product itself e.g. processed meat;
  • Microbial cultures e.g. lactic bacteria, yeast...
    They have the ability to grow and occupy "space" thus limiting the growth of other bacteria while not being harmful,
    Bacteriophages are viruses which have the ability to destroy bacterial population;
The choice of the ingredient depends on the product sensivity to a specific alteration which is the most limiting the shelf life. The application of an ingredient is used in combination of other preservation techniques e.g. modified atmosphere packaging to create an hurdle effect against alteration.

Process

e most The application is carried out in the final step of the production i.e. in the packaging system, for example:
  • Forming of the packaging e.g. thermoformed plastic tray;
  • Filling of the tray with the food product(s);
  • Application of the preservative;
  • Closing of the tray.
It is a continuous operation in industry.
After coating, the product must be air-tight packed to prevent the alteration and loss of the preservative itself.

Application system

To achieve an even disribution, spraying the preservative is the preferred solution.

Key features

The process displays critical factors to control:
  • Choice of the preservative with regards to the alteration;
  • Application conditions:
    Accurate dosage,
    Even distribution.
  • Hygiene, safety and health hazards issues for some preservatives : alcohol, microbial cultures.
 
 
Just one example of fresh packed product.
 
Each individual tray receives a precise dose.
 
The spraying system must positionned on top of the trays between filling and closing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
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