Starch powder is routinely added to grated cheese, pizzas and cheese slices to prevent the cheese from clumping together. However, a lot of the powder usually ends up in the air rather than on the products, Peter King, md of Spice Application Systems (SAS), told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
“The problem of dust from starch powders in cheese factories is well-known, but by harnessing the power of electrostatics, we can ensure the powder sticks to the products and doesn’t escape into the surrounding atmosphere.
“Not only does that mean a much cleaner working environment, but it allows pinpoint accuracy in the amounts of powder used, reducing wastage and increasing efficiency as less downtime is needed for cleaning.”
100% coverage, no waste
By applying a static charge to powdered seasonings oils or starch powders while they are being sprayed onto foods, firms using electrostatic technology can gain superior, uniform coverage as the ‘charged’ flavouring/powder is attracted to the products.
As food manufacturers using electrostatics typically used 10% less flavouring compared with traditional ‘tumbling drum’ methods, which generated a lot of waste, most saw a return on investment within four months, claimed King.
While his firm has won business with Intersnack, Burt Chips and Seabrook Crisps in the UK, most of its sales were in Continental Europe, with growing interest from the US and the Middle East, said King, who has now sold more than 1,000 units.
“It’s frustrating that some UK firms have been unwilling to even trial the technology. This has amazed firms in other markets who have seen a payback.”
Food manufacturers can trial the technology at SAS’s test facility or rent it before deciding to buy. The kit can also be retrofitted to drums on existing production lines and will work with all types of pump and screw feeders, he said.