Topics such as reduced wastage are high on the industry agenda for 2018 and food manufacturers need to be acting responsibly in the key areas of sustainability, product quality and cost saving.
One company supporting the market is Cerulean, which manufactures and supplies the Celsius range of non-invasive thermometry systems to measure the average temperature of items such as frozen and chilled food-stuff, without any of the wastage factories have come to expect using traditional analogue or probe methods.
The equipment uses the Faraday cage principle to measure the average temperature of foodstuffs in the range -30°C to +30°C and displays and logs these readings for the user; providing the insight required to prevent the potential reproduction of harmful micro-organisms or the formation of toxins. The process is user-friendly – simply load the sample, close the door and the automatic reading function delivers results on a visual display panel within seconds. A temperature log can be recalled for full traceability of measurements.
The non-destructive nature of Celsius eliminates the need to remove packaging, the use of replacement probes, and has a considerable cost saving element. Sacrificial products may only make up a small percentage of a single production run but over a continuous process annually, the numbers become larger in scale and the cost savings more significant. For example, over the course of one year, a factory operating 24 hours per day, for 300 days and conducting four tests per hour should expect to achieve savings of more than £35,000 annually when switching to Celsius.
It can only be beneficial for companies to show they are taking steps to reduce wastage too, especially considering the statistics from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) released this year, showing food waste in the UK has increased by 4.4 per cent. Food wastage in the home remains a social challenge, but the availability of this technology means that at a manufacturer level, factories can sample, test and sign off pre-packaged food without interruption to the production process and without specialist operator training. Ultimately every item that goes through the factory can now be sold.
The UK has pledged to phase out all coal-fired power by 2025 and has a 2020 target to generate 30pc of its electricity from renewables. With energy initiatives like this continuing to build momentum in the UK, factories which can optimise the chilling process will not only be viewed as acting responsibly but will also find this an efficiency which results in savings of power and therefore cost.
Both waste management and energy sustainability remain firmly in the spotlight for UK businesses in 2018 and interest in equipment like Celsius continues to grow. Undoubtedly, this technology is set to become a more common sight on production lines across the UK throughout the year and beyond.