FoodCap technology “commercially proven” in plant in NZ and China

Primal cuts being loaded into FoodCap.

FoodCap’s new chilled meat handling system to be launched at this year’s IFFA trade fair in Germany has already been “commercially proven” in New Zealand and China.

As the New Zealand company gets closer to the international launch of the technology next month, more details have emerged about the technology ahead of the show. This includes the fact that the system has also been commercially proven, the company says, with installations currently operating in meat processing plants in New Zealand and China.

New Zealand grocery company Progressive Enterprises uses the technology in its centralised multi-species meat processing and packing plants in Auckland, which to date have produced over 400 million consumer packs of chilled meat. With the plant producing up to 120,000 consumer packs of meat per day, the FoodCap system has eliminated more than 100 million cartons and 110 million vacuum bags that would otherwise have been used in a traditional supply chain.

In 2015, FoodCap installed its technology for Chinese company, the Little Sheep Meat Industry Co in its primal lamb processing operation in Bayannur, Inner Mongolia, as part of a project to convert the plant from a frozen to a fresh chilled operation. Zhang Gang, chairman and founder of Little Sheep explains, “For three years my team scoured the world looking for innovations that would lead to a competitive advantage in the extremely dynamic Chinese marketplace. We found such an innovation in the FoodCap primal handling technology from New Zealand, a country famed for its fresh chilled meat production and handling. FoodCap not only introduced its unique chilled material handling system; they introduced Little Sheep to a range of specialist companies and technologies which collectively deliver us a world-class chilled lamb processing operation.”

At the heart of the new system is the FoodCap, a meat storage capsule. The FoodCap is robust and seals completely to maintain a modified atmosphere where oxygen is excluded, preventing microbial growth and product deterioration. Essentially the vacuum pack and transportation device all in one, the capsule eliminates the need for single use packaging, says FoodCap chief executive Julian Beavis.

“They store between 110-160 kg of meat, either bone-in or bone-out, the capsules mean greater efficiencies on the production line as well as in storage and handling.”

The new system is designed to integrate with automated storage and retrieval systems for efficient and accurate handling and inventory management, although it also has the flexibility to be used without automation if required. It has also been scientifically verified by independent research and development company Carne Technologies.

Extensive meat science trials have been carried out on beef, pork, chicken and lamb providing direct comparison between the FoodCap system and conventional vacuum packaging. Across all species, the FoodCap system provided outstanding exclusion of oxygen, low microbial growth and extended storage times, says the company.

Four years of research and development has seen the development of the new primal handling system, which is being launched at IFFA. This has included further refinement of the original technology, ensuring reliability of operation and ease of application.

“We know we now have a system that is proven to provide a range of benefits, from extending shelf-life and improving food safety, to decreasing manual handling and production costs,” says Beavis. “We’re excited to be launching it at the world’s largest meat equipment event and look forward to discussing the technology with meat processors and potential distributors in Frankfurt.”

FoodCap will be found at IFFA 2016 in Hall 11.1, site A.41.

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