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FoodTech Report

Volume 7 Issue 3

Anatomy of an invention: New drinks and sauces possible with aseptic filling technology

By Antonio Aldini , senior technologist engineer for JBT FoodTech

New drinks

Drinks and sauces with particulates, such as pulp or diced fruits and vegetables, are a growing market segment as consumer interest increases for added nutritional value in fluid products. To accommodate this consumer demand, processors have adjusted their production lines to cater to processing liquids with particulates.

Aseptic processing requires the application of heat to a temperature that eliminates the presence of microorganisms, then maintaining that elevated temperature for a time sufficient to sterilize the product. When processing particulates, adjustments in the processing must be made to prevent heat damage to the product; ensure accurate flow and filling of pulp or diced product within the liquid; and sterilize the product uniformly.

Food researchers at JBT FoodTech have studied different technological solutions to manage these critical process points in different juice processing solutions. One focus of the research has been the optimization of conventional thermal treatment technology. Another focus is on the development of innovative technology for thermal treatment and aseptic filling to guarantee weight accuracy without damaging product taste and texture.

Without the spout

Existing aseptic bag-in-box technologies are greatly limited in handling fluids with particulates, due to the limitations of filling particulates or pieces easily through the 1-inch spout. JBT FoodTech has introduced a new spout-less aseptic filler that broadens a processor’s filling capabilities, especially for liquids containing particulates.

SPACE Aseptic Filler

The SPACE Aseptic Filler

The JBT FoodTech SPACE™ (Spout-less, Pouch, Automatic, Compact & Ecological) Aseptic Filler inherits the filling valve from JBT FoodTech’s industrial filling equipment. The filler was developed for high- and low-acid food and beverage products, and thicker products with particulates, including smoothies and fruit purees, creams, mushroom sauces and pesto.

The pouch-opening capabilities for the SPACE Aseptic Filler are equivalent in size to a 2-inch (0.05-meter) spout. Within the filling chamber, a device opens the pre-sterilized pouches with a knife, securely holds the pouch for filling and aseptically seals the pouch. The spout-less filler was designed to fill a range of pouch sizes from 0.8 to 2.6 gallons (3 to 10 liters).

Engineers at JBT FoodTech drew from the company’s existing industrial aseptic filling solutions to create the aseptic filler’s high-temperature pre-sterilization and chemical disinfection process, which sterilizes the external pouch before filling and closing. During processing, pre-formed, pre-sterilized aseptic pouches are automatically separated and opened, filled with the spout-less aperture and sealed — all in aseptic conditions.

Passing the test

After conducting filling tests of 5,000 pouches with tomato pulp, JBT FoodTech specialists stored filled pouches for one month at 77°F (25°C) after which microbial analysis was conducted on 50 pouches. The results showed no contamination by microorganisms commonly present within a tomato cannery, concluding that the product was commercially viable.

Since its introduction, the SPACE Aseptic Filler was first utilized by a processor running pizza sauce with chunky tomatoes. The processor anticipates a cost savings due to the elimination of the pouch spout and a reduced aseptic zone that requires less chemical disinfectant. Also, with the aseptic zone limited to the filling chamber, the SPACE Aseptic Filler has fewer critical control points, is simple to operate and requires minimal floor space.

The advantages of aseptic processing have been well-known in the food processing industry for many years. Continued research and development of innovative aseptic technologies will help processors keep up with changing consumer demands without compromising product quality or productivity.

To learn more about JBT FoodTech SPACE Aseptic Fillers, visit the JBT FoodTech Web site.

SPACE™ is a trademark of JBT Corporation.

©2009 JBT Corporation. All rights reserved.



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