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The Future is Now
03 Sep 2012
A seminar held by Marel in Sao Paulo, officially presents to Brazil coextrusion technology in the production of sausages.
From 4 to 6 July, Marel, a worldwide leader in advanced food processing systems and equipment, held a seminar in Sao Paulo to introduce a coextrusion system for the manufacturing of sausages to the major national companies.
Also known as QX, the process, already successfully used throughout Europe and the United States, presents several advantages over conventional manufacturing methods.
The event was attended by biochemists, marketers, nutritional engineers and researchers in technology and product development of the segment leaders, who were able to see the new technology in action in a cold storage in Sao Bernardo do Campo. After that, the guests were taken to the traditional Brazilian Steakhouse Fogo de Chão in the southern part of Sao Paulo, to sample the products.
“What we are presenting in this seminar is revolutionary for Brazil”, said the general manager of Marel in Brazil, Marcelo Milani: “The process eliminates the question of the use of natural or artificial casings. It is done with a gel which dries instantly. An injection nozzle applies the gel around the meat mass, which is later solidified with a brine bath, generating a continuous casing made at the moment of extrusion”, he explained.
He also emphasized some of the many benefits of the technology when compared to traditional production: “The equipment can generate one ton per hour without any intervention. In addition to increased production, contamination risk is reduced, since human handling of the product is practically non-existent”.
When asked to clarify the varying levels of popularity in Brazil with coextrusion technology, Milani explained: “Our idea for this event was to introduce the process to a multidisciplinary audience that is able to see, touch and taste the product, evaluating the process under different perspectives, breaking some prejudices and opinions about this kind of process. In addition to the fact that the costs are relatively low, the equipment is compact and can coexist with the processes already in existence in the plants. There was also a concern about the gel supply. This question has already been solved completely, because today NovaProm, a company of the JBS group, manufactures a gel of excellent quality, with 100% national technology”.
Also present at the event, Beatriz Clark, technical director of NovaProm, explained: “About a year ago, we had an agreement for the development of the gel. It was a quick process and our product behaved very well in the Marel equipment”. She also emphasized the quality obtained, thanks to the partnership, “There are many types of gel for extrusion; Marel opted for one made of collagen for cooked products, and another one made of collagen with alginate, for fresh products. We developed a product that combines resistance with flexibility”.
During a brief explanation to the invitees, Rogivaldo Oliveira, sales manager at Marel Brazil, in charge of this line of equipment, highlighted some aspects that put this unprecedented technology ahead of the traditional process. “Not only can we emphasize improved quality of the product that reaches the consumer, but also the reduction in cost, the increased capacity in automation and increased food safety”.
Oliveira also emphasized the reliability of the process for the manufacturer, “The product can be boiled, baked, grilled or put in the microwave without problems, because the gel is resistant to any thermal process”.
They also discussed the sensitive topic of manpower needed to manage the new system: “in the case of cooked products, we can reduce up to 80% of labor and, even for the fresh products, there is a significant reduction of labor”.
Oliveira also revealed some estimates that coextrusion increases the shelf life of the cooked products from three to six months, as well as about ten days for fresh products in refrigerated environments. “This without mentioning the increase in production, since from the entrance of the dough until its exit, there is a reduction of 30 to 60% of processing time”, he adds.
During the tasting session, the professionals were able to enjoy the sausages manufactured with the new technology: “the bite is good and the gel does not interfere with the flavor of the product, which is very interesting”, said Rodrigo Schwert, process development coordinator of Aurora.
Henrique Matar, process development specialist of Brazil Foods, had a similar opinion: “The traditional process of the natural casings and this more modern one can coexist: each one with its own application.”
Addressing a concern of this sector, the new technology also has big advantages in relation to its sustainability: “The waste of cellulose casings generates environmental problems and complications for the companies. The gel is part of the product, therefore there are no such complications, and its manufacturing process is less aggressive to the environment than the traditional one”, guaranteed Rogivaldo Oliveira, of Marel. This aspect was also reflected by the guests: “In relation to sustainability, there is no doubt that the coextrusion is very advantageous. Addressing this demand from society is a concern of the companies in this sector”, added Matar.