June 1999 -- Focus On
By: Steven Taylor
Collaboration on Processing and Packaging
A Burgeoning Market for Aseptic Cartons
|Collaboration on Processing and Packaging
Formerly known as the Center for Aseptic Processing and Packaging Studies, The Center for Advanced Processing and Packaging Studies (CAPPS) is one of about 50 National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers. CAPPS is a research consortium formed eleven years ago at North Carolina State University's food science department, Raleigh, which was expanded to include the University of California, Davis in 1994. This year, The Ohio State University, Columbus, has also joined.
The academic sites provide program administration, recruit industry members through outreach to the food industry and conduct research. The mission of CAPPS was recently expanded from a focus on research for the production of shelf-stable aseptic products to the broader scope of emerging technologies in food preservation.
Industry members of the consortium have the sole responsibility of providing research funding - in the form of annual membership fees - and voting on the research proposals that exhibit the most industrial promise. Full members receive royalty-free, non-exclusive licenses to patents from CAPPS research projects, and associate memberships (small companies only) have voting privileges proportionate to their reduced membership fee. The industry member list reads like a who's who in the global food industry (listed alphabetically): Campbell Soup Company, Camden, NJ; Cirio Ricerche, Italy; Eagle Family Foods, Inc., Columbus, OH; International Paper, Loveland, OH; Kraft Foods, Glenview, IL; The Coca Cola Company, Atlanta; Nestle, New Milford, CT; Ross Products Division/Abbott Labs, Columbus, OH; SIG Combliboc, Columbus, OH; Tetra Pak, Inc., Denton, TX; and Unilever, The Netherlands. Associate members include California Natural Products, Lathrop, CA, and Real Fresh, Visalia, CA.
CAPPS' most recent non-proprietary accomplishment is the completion of guidelines for validation of aseptic filling and packaging systems. These guidelines were developed through a workshop format coordinated with The National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), Summit-Argo, IL - also a CAPPS member - over a two-year period with meetings both in Chicago and Raleigh. Sixty individuals took part in the workshops, representing industry, government, university and National Food Processors Association interests. The guidelines are organized into four subgroups: packaging sterilization, presterilization/resterilization, cartridge filter sterilization and statistical analysis.
It is anticipated that the findings of the workshop will be presented at the 1999 Conference of Food Engineering (CoFE '99) in Dallas, TX, October 31 to November 5. Abstracts will be published in a proceedings and complete works will appear sometime later on the web with links from both the NCFST homepage at www.iit.edu/~ncfs/ and the CAPPS homepage at www.cals.ncsu.edu/food_science/capps.html.
The CAPPS program also provides an infrastructure to sponsor "enhancement" projects. These are individual projects funded separately by CAPPS members. An example is a project currently funded by NCFST through the FDA, which seeks to assure the safety of unpasteurized apple cider within traditional small-scale orchard-based processing parameters. A refurbished cider operation at Apple Hill, an apple-growing region in the foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, is the site chosen for the project. Food safety specialist Linda Harris, Ph.D., is providing local assistance from UC Davis, with assistance from the CA State Department of Health Services, ARS-USDA Eastern Regional Research Center, and El Dorado County. The team is partnering in the best interests of a vital tourist trade that is essential to the local economy of this region and other regions in the nation who seek to assure pathogen-free cider.
A Burgeoning Market for Aseptic Cartons
Aseptic cartons offer many benefits to foodservice operators. Large-size aseptic cartons save time and money in commercial kitchens. Here's how. In a recent study, Chicago-based Technomic, Inc., a leading national foodservice research and consulting firm, conducted on-premise interviews and time-and-motion tests to compare the attributes of the 46-oz. Pour 'n Seal™ aseptic carton (outfitted with SIG Combibloc's combiTop) to the 46-oz. can. Twenty commercial and non-commercial food service operators at hotels, nursing homes, restaurants, and bars participated in the study. Technomic concluded that aseptic cartons convey an average time savings of 79% to the foodservice operator when measured against cans.
Foodservice operators in the study overwhelmingly preferred the aseptic carton to cans currently used in their operations. In voicing their preference for aseptic cartons, study participants cited overall time savings, plus ease of handling and the ability to store product in reclosable aseptic cartons. In addition, no can openers or sharp edges to contend with means fewer workplace injuries and potentially lower insurance costs.
The foodservice sector has begun to demand the many benefits that aseptic cartons - particularly the large-size, multi-serve variety - have to offer, including the unsurpassed quality of the liquid foods and beverages packaged this way, and the safety of aseptic processing and packaging. The packaging industry is poised for explosive growth in the demand for aseptic cartons.
Filling technology development
Pushing the envelope
Steven Taylor is vice president of engineering for SIG Combibloc Inc., Columbus, OH. He holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from Purdue University. Founded in 1983, SIG Combibloc Inc. is a supplier of aseptic carton filling systems and packaging to North, Central and South America. Its parent company, SIG Swiss Industrial Company Holding Ltd., is headquartered in Neuhausen, Rhine Falls, Switzerland. SIG Combibloc's customers include Lyons-Magnus, Tree Top, , Kaiser's Companies, The H.R. Nicholson Company, Westbrae Natural Foods, Farmland Dairies and Jugos del Valle.
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