The volatility of oil prices has increased shipping costs for all products, as well as raised the cost of ingredients and labor. Food prices have also risen and remain high. This adds one more problem to overcome in the cost and manufacture of food ingredients. Additionally, the cost of shipping food has also become a mainstream consumer concern, not only indirectly through the increased cost of food, but also in sustainability approaches, such as the movement to “eat and buy locally.” However, small changes in food manufacture and design can also help to reduce shipping costs associated with ingredients and finished food products.

Advanced Food Systems (AFS) is one ingredient company that has been tackling this real-world problem head-on. According to Mark Purpura, technical service manager, AFS commonly encounters the need for solutions to its clients’ food ingredient problems; one common challenge is how to reduce the shipping costs and other costly characteristics of working with a liquid by making an equivalent dry powder base. Dry-blended powders are often easier and less costly to work with, if they can be made without losing the desirable characteristics of the original liquid. Recently, a food manufacturing company approached AFS with just such a problem. They had a liquid cheese sauce recipe that formed the base for several of their finished food products, such as taquitos (the sauce was the base for the filling), dip, IQFS veggies, pre-cooked meats, an Alfredo dip and sauces. The sauce was relatively expensive to manufacture, highly perishable, expensive to ship (due to liquid weight) and store (due to the need for refrigeration). Most importantly, the sauce resulted in much waste, as it was difficult to measure and process.

AFS turned its fully equipped applications lab, pilot processing machinery and food scientists to the task of developing a dry blend that, upon rehydration, would match the original liquid cheese sauce in flavor, texture and visual characteristics, such as color and freeze/thaw stability. What they succeeded in producing was a dry-blend cheese sauce that met all these requirements and also produced significant cost savings in the ingredients. Additionally, the finished dry blend was more stable in its dry state, as well as the liquid state; had increased shelf stability; and improved flavor stability. Also, very importantly, the AFS team produced a dry blend that enabled the customer to continue using its existing production equipment. 

AFS approaches problem solving with an integrated approach involving its “product systems.” AFS systems include a texture systems function, an ingredient systems function, and a seasoning and flavor systems application. Each product system is created from a portfolio of product solutions, including stabilizers, emulsifiers, gums, hydrocolloids, spices, seasonings, flavors and colors. According to Purpura, “Our product portfolio and expertise enable us to take a systems approach to problem solving, with formulation design, prototype development and customized research, efficient manufacturing and a customer approach that includes fast turn-around time and technical service. This approach to a problem not only allows us to tackle real-world problems, such as the increased cost of shipping, but also results in the end benefits to the customer of new product concepts--improved texture and flavor profiles, lower costs, and improved process control and ingredient sourcing.” pf 

 For more information:
Advanced Food Systems Inc. (AFS) * Somerset, N.J.
Mark Purpura * 732-873-4176 *