10 Game-Changing Process Innovations Inside the Starbucks Soluble Coffee Plant

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10 Game-Changing Process Innovations Inside the Starbucks Soluble Coffee Plant

Photography: Robert Pepple

When Starbucks engaged Stellar to design and build a soluble coffee manufacturing facility, they set the goal of creating the most functionally and technologically advanced plant in the United States. To say they achieved that objective might be an understatement, as the award-winning facility has set a new standard in the industry.

From food safety practices that adhere to the rigorous British Retail Consortium Food Safety Standard to features designed to meet LEED Gold certification requirements, the Starbucks soluble coffee plant in Augusta, Georgia, is a modern marvel. Nowhere are the facility’s many innovations more on display than on its processing and packaging line.

 

Plant Steam vs. Culinary Steam vs. Pure Steam: What Food Manufacturers Need to Know

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Plant Steam vs. Culinary Steam vs. Pure Steam: What Food Manufacturers Need to Know

Steam is used in food processing for a variety of reasons from preparing product to cleaning equipment. Common uses of steam in food and beverage facilities include:

  • Blanching product
  • Rehydrating product
  • Sterilizing equipment
  • Steam-in-Place (SIP) to clean pipes

But not all steam is created equal — and there are new developments in steam technology happening all the time. In this post we’ll look at the types of steam used in food processing as well as one innovation known as dry steam.

 

Back to the Basics: How to Optimize Your Clean-in-Place System

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Back to the Basics: How to Optimize Your Clean-in-Place System

A number of food manufacturing facilities have been utilizing clean-in-place (CIP) for years. It’s the method of cleaning processing equipment and piping without disassembling it. While most of us already know what CIP is, when was the last time you performed a thorough audit of your system?

Over the years, changes to the systems being cleaned may have caused the CIP system set-point ratios to change without notice to the operators — making it more out of whack than you may realize.

 

How to Design Efficient Product Flow into a New Food Plant

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How to Design Efficient Product Flow into a New Food Plant

Product flow inefficiencies can create a detrimental domino effect within your food and beverage business. When your processing “chain” has breaks and delays, it can cost money, waste time, jeopardize food quality and introduce safety hazards on the production floor.

In last week’s post, we discussed how to detect product flow problems in an existing facility and how to improve them. Now, we’ll focus on how to ensure a new facility is set up for success from receiving to shipping and everything in between.

The ultimate key to success is designing a plant that is linear so that product moves seamlessly downstream through each of the below steps without interruption.

Let’s take a look at those individual steps and how to optimize each for efficient product flow.

 

Improving Product Flow in Your Food Manufacturing Facility

4 inefficiencies that may be threatening your business

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Improving Product Flow in Your Food Manufacturing Facility

Improper product flow can be detrimental to your food plant’s operations in more ways than one. These inefficiencies can cost money, waste time, jeopardize food quality and introduce safety hazards on the production floor.

In this post, we’ll explore the ways your facility may be at risk and what you can do to improve product flow.

 

[Infographic] 7 Best Practices for Gluten-Free Manufacturing

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[Infographic] 7 Best Practices for Gluten-Free Manufacturing

The demand for gluten-free products isn’t just a passing trend. In fact, the gluten-free foods market is projected to be valued at $7.59 billion by 2020. Plus, researchers have noted a rise in celiac disease rates in recent years — just more evidence that the need for GF products isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Before you begin producing gluten-free products in your facility, however, consider these principles to ensure you cater to this growing market safely, efficiently and effectively.

 

3 Food Processing Trends from Pack Expo 2017 (and Beyond)

From virtual reality to pre-prepared foods

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3 Food Processing Trends from Pack Expo 2017 (and Beyond)

Source: Flexible Packaging magazine

 

I had the opportunity to attend Pack Expo 2017 in Las Vegas this fall with a team from Stellar. We met leaders from various segments of the F&B industry and enjoyed showing off our virtual design construction (VDC) technology.

These shows are always a great opportunity to network with food industry leaders and to see the very latest technologies and trends. This year was no exception. These were my big takeaways:

 

Want Clean Labels for Your Bakery and Snack Products? Try Freezing Them

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Want Clean Labels for Your Bakery and Snack Products? Try Freezing Them

Consumer demand for “clean labels” with simple and natural ingredients has been a driving force in the food industry in recent years. In fact, clean-label foods is forecasted to be a $180 billion global market by 2020, and many food manufacturers are reformulating recipes to adapt with the growing trend.

The idea behind clean eating is avoiding foods with preservatives, artificial additives and “ingredients you can’t pronounce.” Although most of these additives are USDA-approved and technically safe to consume, they have undoubtedly developed a stigma among consumers.

 

Are You Getting the Most Accurate Weight Measurements from Your Load Cells?

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Are You Getting the Most Accurate Weight Measurements from Your Load Cells?

Photo: Food Engineering’s “How to determine the best sensor for filling applications”

 

Filling and weighing systems are a fundamental part of the food and beverage industry. On the line, they establish fill weights, volumes and levels for products whether it’s flavorings, beverages, slurry products or bulk containers of dry and/or liquid ingredients.

When it comes to recipes, the slightest change in ingredients can spoil an entire batch of product — that’s why precise weighing is paramount.

 

3 Unexpected Food Processing Solutions Inspired by Different Industries

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3 Unexpected Food Processing Solutions Inspired by Different Industries

I see a lot of neat things working in the food and beverage industry, especially because I have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients across different sectors.

Of course, food manufacturers know their product best, because ultimately, it’s their product. However, when it comes to their processing and the technology they use to make their product, I often encourage owners to keep an open mind.

Here’s the thing: Many times, companies can get boxed in and only focus on their particular product and the way things are “typically” done in their industry. Their factories and boardrooms can act as echo chambers for their ideas.