How continuous food processing equipment holds the secret to better pet food
The pet food production market is continuing to grow exponentially. While growth is being driven by developing and emerging markets, better quality pet food is still in high demand in mature markets.
Along with this growth comes increased demand for high-quality pet food. People love treating their pets. They’re not content to give their valued companions inferior pet food. They want quality food but generally not at ridiculous prices. This presents numerous production challenges which you’ll need to overcome if you want to expand into this exciting market opportunity. But how? It all begins with the right food processing equipment...
Problems in pet food production
As with any processed food, maintaining consistency across large production volumes can be challenging. This is an even bigger problem if you use a batch cooking process. With batch cooking, you waste considerable time processing each batch which often have to wait to fill from a large buffer tank. This staging, with varying dwell times before filling can lead to:
- Temperature loss
- Changes to pressure
- Changes in moisture
- Changes in texture
- Magnify inconsistencies
- Further overcooking without necessarily hydrating all
Each of the above problems directly threatens that consistency, within a single batch and between batches, leading to a lower-quality, less consistent end product. With customers willing to put a premium on quality pet food, this is the last thing you want to happen! In themselves inconsistencies may not be a problem, but they are a source of inefficient ingredient usage and end product variation.
Most pet food recipes combine a variety of different ingredients including meat, vegetables, stabilizers, by-products, grains etc. Each of these have different levels of chunkiness, viscosity and requirements, and therefore need specific optimal cooking conditions to ensure a consistent texture – every minute, hour, week of production. Consistency is something that will keep customers coming back and that grows your market.
As part of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry, pet food is generally sold at low profit margins. As such, high production and sales volume are key to long-term survival and a viable pet food business. With batch processing, gaps in production can be a part of daily operations. The batch process is time consuming with time allocated for:
- Preparing each batch
- Mixing the ingredients
- Heating the formulation
- Tweak and modify settings
- Waiting to fill off before starting the next batch
Each of these negatively impact your efficiency and productivity as they are done in series not parallel. Instead of producing pet food, your time is consumed performing non-value-adding tasks. This limits the production volumes that your business strives to achieve.
Many recipes use a variety of different ingredients - yours might combine meat, fish and vegetables as well as powders, by-products and grains. Like we mentioned above, temperature, moisture and pressure fluctuate between batches changing the final composition and experiencing of unpredictable ingredient usage.
How RotaTherm’s continuous cooking process helps
Unlike traditional batch cooking, continuous food processing systems provide non-stop, consistent cooking. Many of the potential problems with pet food production are tied to the batch system of production. As such, consistent continuous cooking process of the RotaTherm® offers a solution.
How continuous food production systems improves consistency
By applying the same process to all product at each stage (the same heat treatment temperature, pressure, cooling etc.) continuous cooking minimises the risk of changes in the final composition. The look and taste of the product is controlled and leads a more consistent end-product. Compared to batch cookers, continuous cookers like RotaTherm® offer more efficient non-stop pet food production.
In addition to the inherent advantages of continuous cooking, RotaTherm® uses multiple direct steam injectors and many other design elements. They ensure your pet food is cooked evenly without the risk of burnt or undercooked parts.
Continuous cooking means continuous production
Like the name suggests, continuous cooking runs mean no stopping between batches. Continuous food processing equipment minimises waste – time, cleaning chemical - and leads to a more efficient and productive food manufacturing process. In an industry that relies on production volume like pet food, every second of additional production can make a difference. RotaTherm® can operate without pause for up to 6.5 days, or 156 hours!
RotaTherm® holds the secret to better-quality pet food
Customers have a right to be selective. They don’t want to feed their beloved pets poorly presented low-quality food. They want healthy looking nutritious products. By combining continuous cooking with automated temperature and steam control systems, RotaTherm® offers a better-looking nutritious product.
The RotaTherm® heats to the target temperature in as little as 20 seconds, using multiple steam injectors to ensure even cooking. The automated control and recipe systems ensure temperature, steam and moisture are at optimal levels, minimising unacceptable product. This ensures your pet food recipes are being prepared to the same optimal specifications every single time.
Natec Network helps you improve your cooking without compromising quality
In addition to our world-leading RotaTherm® continuous cooker, we manufacture a wide range of ancillary equipment to create a complete cooking line This includes:
- Conveyor belts
- Grinders and extruders
- Feed systems
- Cooling systems – direct (vacuum) and indirect
- CIP systems
- Steam and moisture control systems
Each of these can be integrated into your production line independently of the RotaTherm® as required.