Turning surplus product into food pouches for people in need

Turning surplus product into food pouches for people in need

Spanish food producer Nutripeople is turning Europe’s surplus fruit and vegetables into a nutritionally enriched, easy-to-digest and 100% natural foodstuff for people in need, with equipment and support from HRS Heat Exchangers. Nutripeople now produces 42 million pouches of its products each year, helping those in developing countries avoid hunger and malnutrition.

Data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) about the global food waste crisis reveals that 1.43 billion tonnes of food are lost or wasted every year, equating to approximately one-third of all the food produced for human consumption. Meanwhile, 795 million people do not have enough to eat, with those in developing countries most vulnerable to food shortages.

Through alliances with Spanish fruit and vegetable producers, Nutripeople has turned surplus produce into a new foodstuff with a high nutritional value, thanks to the addition of natural additives such as vegetable proteins and vitamins. The food producer’s target customers are global organisations addressing hunger, such as UNICEF and Oxfam, alongside food banks. A percentage of each sale also contributes to social projects or NGOs dedicated to feeding those most in need.

It takes roughly 400 L of water to produce 0.5 kg of fruit, alongside the additional labour and transport costs and carbon emissions. By recovering this produce and re-using it elsewhere, the project helps to preserve vital resources and reduce the carbon footprint of food production.

HRS’s simple yet effective line comprises mixing, homogenising, pasteurising and filling capabilities. Image credit: HRS Heat Exchangers

To aid the process of turning surplus fruit and vegetables into finished food pouches, HRS Heat Exchangers installed a simple production line at Nutripeople’s factory in Murcia. HRS Heat Exchangers supplied two tanks with mixers, a heating jacket and a high shear stirrer, alongside a series of pumps, to aid the mixing line. The first stage in the production process, the mixing line preheats and blends the produce with proteins and vitamins to enrich its nutritional value.

The produce then passes through a homogeniser, supplied by HRS, which exerts pressure up to 2900 psi, before being pasteurised at 95°C with the HRS R Series scraped surface heat exchanger.

“The hygienic R Series range pasteurises viscous products such as fruit and vegetables, preventing fouling, as the rotating movement of the scrapers mixes the product whilst cleaning the heat exchange surface. This keeps heat transfer high and reduces downtime,” said Francisco Hernández Ortiz, Food Business Development Director at HRS.

The finished products are filled into environmentally friendly pouches, ready for distribution, with a shelf life of two years without refrigeration.

HRS’s turnkey approach and practical solutions strive to simplify and streamline Nutripeople’s production line. With the production line fully functional since October 2018, Nutripeople has plans to replicate it in other locations, to make the most of local fruit and vegetable resources.

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