With room to grow, prepared foods gain ground in Brazil

Marel is assisting companies not only with equipment, but also with technological support

Revoportioner Forming Chicken Tenders

Following a trend already consolidated in Europe, agribusinesses in Brazil started to invest in prepared foods technologies. Consumers showed a preference for convenience food and have also embraced the “homemade” style.

Interview published in issue nº 1307 of the magazine Avicultura Industrial.

The food consumer market has been gradually changing over the years. Supermarket gondolas already have ready-to-cook meals, meeting the demands of families, who have less time available to prepare their meals. Just to give you an idea, in the 1960s it took about two hours to prepare food; currently this time does not exceed 30 minutes. It turns out that consumers are no longer just looking for speed. People want a different flavor together, which includes "homemade" aspects.

Stronger investments

This market path is beginning to gain more space on the Brazilian table, with the expectation of major expansions in the coming years. A good example is the European market, where practically 55% of the production is destined for the option of prepared foods, with 12% in Brazil. With this trend becoming more relevant, agro-industries are starting to invest more strongly in technologies and equipment for the so-called “prepared foods”, a movement that should consolidate over the next few years.

Marel New Revoportioner 1000 Low Pressure Forming

Busy lives

"In general, this trend is present among consumers looking for high quality convenience foods, with better flavor, texture and presentation and also among those who lead a busy life, work full time and have little time to prepare the meals," says Frank Regouin, Marel's Prepared Food Account Manager for Latin America.

The company operates in the market for technological solutions in equipment and software for the poultry, meat, fish and animal protein industries, in general. Present in more than 30 countries, Marel recently concluded the delivery of a "turn-key" project to São Salvador Alimentos (SSA), exactly with a focus on the "prepared foods" market.

Trend

"In this project, the weighing lines, batch formation, packaging and logistics of the final products were also contemplated. This was only possible due to SSA's long-standing relationship with Marel, and the business vision shared by both companies", points out Regouin.

Regouin explains about the characteristics of the prepared food market, reinforcing that this is an important trend throughout Latin America. Frank Regouin also talks about the project delivered to São Salvador Alimentos and how the technologies called 4.0 will be decisive for the future of the animal protein processing industry. Check it out.

Convenience

Is the Brazilian and Latin American market advancing more and more to provide consumers with prepared food products? Is this an important trend?

"Yes, this is an important trend and Latin America and Brazil have been adhering to the trends and consumption behavior of prepared foods, observed in developed markets. In this case, the convenience offered by convenience foods and ready-to-eat meals," says Frank Regouin.

In general, this trend is present among consumers who are looking for high-quality convenience foods with better taste, texture, and presentation, and also among those who lead a busy life, work full time, and have little time for meal preparation. In 1965 almost two hours a day were spent preparing food, today no more than 30 minutes.

This group is willing to increase the consumption of these products, especially when the convenience and presentation are more attractive.

The list of these products offered includes a wide variety of convenience foods, such as nuggets, hamburgers, steaks, schnitzel, and chicken fillets "Cordon bleu style", with different breading options, including "homemade" style.

Consumers are looking for high quality convenience foods, with better flavor, texture and presentation.

Frank Regouin2

Frank Regouin
Marel Prepared Food Account Manager for Latin America

Diversification

Have Brazilian and Latin American agribusinesses sought to invest in technologies aimed at developing this type of product, with specific production lines in their industrial plants?

Frank Regouin says, "On the supply side, the poultry and meat industries have responded quickly to the increased domestic consumption of these types of convenience foods. A few years ago, the main products offered by the industries were sausage, hamburger and chicken nuggets. Today, there is more diversification of final products and, at the same time, final consumers and fast-food chains are more demanding and critical about the final quality of the products. To meet these new demands, investments in high technology are essential."

Homemade

However, compared to countries in Europe and the United States, the industry in Latin America, in general, is very limited in the variety of products offered to the market. In Europe, about 60% of the production is destined for prepared food, while in Brazil, the percentage is much lower, around 20-25%.

A widely developing trend in the USA is the consumption of "homemade" style products, which have the appearance and simulate a manual, automated process in plants.

There is a lot of opportunities for this market, both nationally and for export. It is important to point out that the industry's highest profit margins are achieved when value is added to the final product.

Equipment

Is the development of equipment aimed at "prepared foods" a recent investment by Marel for the Brazilian and worldwide market?

Frank Regouin again, "Marel has been at the forefront of providing solutions for the production of a wide variety of convenience foods for more than 25 years, and everyday poultry, meat, and fish processors around the world benefit from the innovative solutions offered by the company."

Marel currently has two demonstration centers with a special focus on prepared food lines, one in Boxmeer in the Netherlands and a second in Des Moines in the United States. At these centers, Marel food technologists assist customers with the complete process and demonstrate the capabilities of our equipment.

In Brazil, Marel is investing in a new demonstration center, the company's fifth, which will offer practical experience of prepared food production systems (together with product specialists), so that customers throughout Latin America can meet this growing market demand for high-quality products.

Alternative proteins

Today, Marel has a division called Marel Meat. How does this division of the company work, what is the focus of action? Is this a worldwide division of the company or just for the Brazilian and Latin American market?

"Marel concentrates its efforts on three main animal protein industries: poultry, meat, and fish, but also extends its ability to provide complete solutions to the potato, cheese, and, more recently, alternative protein processing industries," says Frank Regouin.

RevoPortioner's forming technology has not only been very successful in forming all animal proteins, but also in vegetable and alternative protein products. Besides food for human consumption, we have several customers who produce products and snacks for pets.

More recently, Beyond Meat, a leading vegetable meat brand, has integrated RevoPortioner into its product development laboratory in California, USA.

Marel's forming technology has been widely approved by major fast-food and foodservice chains around the world.

PF Convenience Line

Complete solutions

São Salvador Alimentos has recently announced its entry into the market of processed and breaded products, having Marel equipment as the entire technological base. How was this project developed?

Frank Regouin says, "For more than 5 years we have been together with SSA in this journey, to determine the best and adequate solution to the demands.

The conclusion of this project reinforces Marel's positioning as a supplier of complete solutions. It is also an opportunity to increase our portfolio in the dough preparation and industrialized products segment. With this project, Marel had the chance to find, besides a processing line supplier, a new technological partner."

Turn-key

Was the supply of equipment to São Salvador Alimentos the first of the company in the area of "prepared food" in Brazil? What is the strategic importance of negotiation for Marvel?

"In the last decade, several processors in Brazil and Latin America have already benefited from Marel's convenience food production technologies, and increasingly, Marel is assisting companies not only with equipment, but also with technological support and delivery of complete lines. This was the case of SSA, for which Marel offered a complete turn-key solution for both the processed and formed lines and, as a consequence, all the technological knowledge and expertise of the company for the production of prepared food," says Frank Regouin.

"In this project, the weighing, batch formation, packaging, and logistics lines for the final products were also contemplated.
This was only possible because of SSA's long-standing relationship with Marel, and the business vision shared by both companies. São Salvador Alimentos is a very strong poultry primary processing company and this is the next step in the production of its convenience foods."

Complete supplier

The implementation of processing lines at São Salvador Alimentos generated a portfolio sharing with Sulmaq, which also belongs to Marel. Was this a specific situation or could it be implemented in other company businesses as well?

"The delivery of the complete project to SSA was only possible through the combination of Marel's infrastructure in Guaporé and in the Netherlands and the knowledge of both companies in the local market and production process," according to Frank Regouin.

"Marel aims to be a complete supplier of processing solutions and software for our customers. The addition of the Sulmaq portfolio reinforces this strategy of Marel, which now has two plants for the production of equipment, one located in the state of São Paulo and the other in Rio Grande do Sul.

Increasingly, we receive requests from customers for complete projects and integrated processing solutions. Marel's investments in the new Campinas facility and the 2019 acquisition of Sulmaq demonstrate the company's strategic position of strengthening the company's structure and capacity to support food processors throughout Latin America."

Partnership

The company has also entered into a partnership with Schröter, a smoker manufacturer. This is also a permanent partnership, shall we say?

Frank Regouin – For many years Marel Guaporé (former Sulmaq) was Schöter's local agent in Brazil, and as a way to offer complete solutions to our customers, Marel maintains this partnership and others, for the supply of supplementary equipment for the processing lines.

Marel RevoPortioner 1000 low-pressure food forming machine increases volume and product consistency in food processing

New RevoPortioner

Marel recently launched the RevoPortioner 1000. What are the great advantages of this equipment?

"The RevoPortioner 1000 is the newest addition to Marel's successful line of low-pressure forming solutions. The proven low-pressure forming technology builds on previous generations and now combines innovative new features to deliver substantial benefits to convenience food processors," says Frank Regouin.

A wider forming width of 1000 mm (40") and a higher speed, combined with significantly increased production and throughput, meet the demand from customers in Brazil and Latin America for high-capacity production with consistent weight and shape.

With the incorporation of the helix drum, the equipment offers the highest production capacity in the market. It can be integrated into existing lines or used as individual equipment.

Digital transformation

How do you see the equipment market for the industry in the coming years? Should it expand, add 4.0 technologies? What trends do you notice?

Frank Regouin: "Collecting and controlling information, in real-time, of certain processes or complete lines are trends that have gained popularity in the last decade and Marel has established its Innova software as the future of intelligent production and product quality control.

For most organizations, digital transformation will happen through constant change, which creates an additional incentive for long-standing partnerships. Innova is designed to detect inefficiencies on the plant floor and drive the exact data needed to maximize quality and yield and comply with regulatory standards."

Intelligent

"Especially for prepared food lines, the use of intelligent equipment is key to quality control and food safety in product preparation."

Marel's prepared food lines are fully integrated with Innova software, which makes it easy and efficient for plant managers and operators to control, monitor, and improve the entire production process and line efficiency (OEE).



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