International food and drink processing is being revolutionised with Scottish technology which maximises the shelf life, flavours and nutritional quality of everyday products. The company Advanced Microwave Technologies (AMT) has come up with a process to improve the thermal treatment of food and drink, designed with minimal costs and maximum profit and flavour in mind.
Manufacturers, retailers and consumers all over the world will be able to take advantage of products which, throughout the gentle process, retain their natural colour, flavour and micronutrients, unlike products cooked by conventional means.
Comprising unique treatment chambers, the device distributes microwave energy instantly and evenly across the entire cross-section of the chamber on a continuous and industrial scale. Pilot tests concluded that up to 90% of the input energy is delivered into the product and it is extremely cost effective due to the continuous batch process. The equipment is highly versatile, compact, easily integrated and easy to clean. Unlike other pasteurisation methods currently in use, AMT’s process can be highly versatile and easily integrated, energy efficient and cost effective.
The company required a feasibility study to explore the use of the technology to pasteurise fruit juice. Specifically to verify the effectiveness of the process, demonstrate its potential and establish a partnership to support the transition of the technology to the food and drink industry.
The Interface Solution
Following an introduction by Interface to Dr Mary Warnock, Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences at Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University (QMU), AMT began a pilot study on the pasteurisation of fruit juices. This pilot study produced successful results, which then led to plant equipment being installed in a dedicated lab at QMU. The AMT150 machine can produce 150 litres of pasteurised juice per hour, whereas the AMT1500 can produce 1500 litres per hour. Since the initial fruit juice pilot, AMT has demonstrated the effectiveness of the technology on other food stuffs like black pudding, cooked sausage and scrambled egg. Overall, the microwave technology has ultimately resulted in a huge range of practical, economic and technical benefits.
Practically, not only can the AMT system make the pasteurised fruit juice indistinguishable from raw juice, but it also has better retention of colour and micronutrients such as anti-oxidants and vitamins. Economically, the machines have low installation costs and significant savings can be made in cooking energy costs which add to the bottom line. Technically, the machines are easy to install and easily integrated with other equipment to make a streamlined process for cooking or pasteurising food and drink products. They are also extremely versatile in their use over a range of fruit products such as pie fillings, jam, smoothies and coulis. Thanks to Interface’s involvement and AMT’s partnership with QMU, over 20 companies have visited the pilot plant facilities for demonstrations with intentions of creating similar collaborative projects in the future. Food and drink manufacturers adopting the new technology stand to add to their bottom line from increased productivity due to product quantity and quality.