Every processor is aware of the regulatory obligations they face. Hygiene and traceability are two of the hottest issues at present, and processors must take these into account at a time when efficiency is everything.
Tetra Pak believes it can help these companies not only meet these obligations but even exceed expectations with its latest range of food processing equipment. A plant capable of removing bacteria is a case in point.
"This microfiltration plant, which removes bacteria from products such as milk and juice, has a capacity of 10,000 litres," Tetra Pak regional sales director Mads Bjerre Andersen said. "It is equipped with ceramic membranes, and plant managers can control pore size, which sets this machine apart from the others."
And while the plant can help processors meet hygiene regulations, it can also help them move away from commodification, a key concern in the dairy industry given the current price of milk.
"This can help companies add extra value by producing dairy products with extended shelf life," said Andersen. "The machine can also remove fat, which is an important concern for the shelf life of products such as whey powder."
Andersen said that three such machines have already been sold to dairy companies interested in developing extended shelf life products.
Tetra Pak has also done much to help companies achieve complete traceability - another regulatory obligation that some processors have found to be expensive. But Tetra Pak believes that companies can benefit from installing traceability measures, so long as they have a system that provides in a clear and concise manner.
The information gleaned from tracing the entire production system can help companies identify strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately achieve cost savings. With this in mind, Tetra Pak has developed PlantMaster, a programme that collates and interprets plant information in a straightforward manner.
"Traceability is a huge issue," agrees Tetra Pak processing engineer Xavier Yharrassarry. "We've worked on this system for five years, and are ready to launch it as a complete system."
The PlantMaster programme allows plant managers to use standard software from the likes of Siemens and Rockwell, and displays the information in a clear manner. The programme feels like a windows application.
"Here, you can see a page for tracing batches of product," said Yharrassarry as he demonstrated the programme. "You can easily define what type of report you require, and see how various parts of your production line are performing."
This is the critical aspect of PlantMaster - it allows firms to meet traceability requirements, but also has the potential to help firms make cost savings.
"Traceability is not just for safety," said Yharrassarry. "It can help a company add value to its production line. And in the end, this programme is no more difficult to use than an Excel spreadsheet."