The main focus in the area of fruit technologies is on the ongoing optimisation of harvested fruit along the entire value chain.
This is achieved by developing and improving new and existing technologies as well as the application of innovative raw materials. Research efforts are based on customer requests, current trends and potential new business areas.
Fruit, whether whole, as purées, sauces or in the form of a fruit preparation, is mainly used in the dairy, ice cream and bakery product sectors.
Direct access to mainstream technologies such as homogenisation, pasteurisation, extrusion, decontamination, aseptic filling and many more enables practical project implementation. Our international partners at the fruit processing plants are provided support year-round in the form of up-to-date analytical methods and the latest micro- and molecular-biological application technologies.
The first transformation relates to the pre-treatment of the fruits at our sites, from their delivery and temporary storage via the sorting and washing procedures to slicing, freezing and final packaging. The washing process not only removes any foreign bodies but also reduces the microbiological load of the fruit.
The main focus is in particular on the decontamination step in order to comply with our high standards in terms of food safety at an early stage of fruit processing. New physical and chemical methods associated with surface decontamination are tested and optimised to ensure processing of premium fruit during second transformation at our sites.
The second transformation involves the fresh or frozen fruit being processed to fruit preparations, which are filled into large containers and shipped to customers. Here, preservation of the fruit´s naturality is the main focus. ARIC´s activities span the entire process chain.
Laboratory and pilot scale
Many of these process steps can be performed on laboratory and pilot scale at ARIC in order to gather data for further upscaling. Expertise related to processing steps at the customer site (dairy technology, ice cream production, bakery products, etc.) is the key to targeted development work in order to satisfy all customer requirements.
- Optimising individual process steps
- Evaluating new technologies
- Providing support during upscaling to production volumes
- Quality and food safety improvements
- Further developing production equipment
Acquiring new expertise often takes place in collaboration with universities. Modern integration and innovation platforms enables sharing of new discoveries and facilitate their technical implementation at AGRANA sites around the world.
The third transformation relates to the processing of fruit preparations, fruit purées and sauces to make delicious dairy, ice cream and bakery products.
Collaboration with customers
We work in close cooperation with our customers to develop specific solutions when it comes to using our products. These include both rheology as well as the development of stable fruit foams and support during aseptic filling procedures.
Besides the physical and chemical characterisation of starches, starch derivatives and starch by-products, another focus is on application-based, technological analyses in the various product application areas. Only once the products are used in realistic formulations it can be determined whether these meet AGRANA’s high quality standards.
Starch products are widely used in technical areas, particularly in the paper industry, the construction sector, as components in biologically degradable plastics and also as adhesives. Diverse application areas can also be found in the food sector. These range from bakery and confectionery products, meat products and sweets to delicatessen products. AGRANA products are also used in cosmetics, such as dry hair shampoos and skin creams.
Microbiological analyses are regularly performed in order to maintain the high quality and safety levels of products from AGRANA. This is not only related to quality control of various products, but also to procedures such as
- Hygiene monitoring by means of airborne germ measurements and swabbing procedures
- Testing in production facilities at every step of the production process
- The disinfection procedures of production equipment (heat exchangers, cooling towers, warehouses, etc.)
- Support when hygiene-related problems arise
The microbiological analyses performed rely on standard agar plate procedures as well as molecular biological methods. Besides conventional PCR devices, we also have a digital and a quantitative PCR device available for these tests.
A Safety Level 2 laboratory has been set up for more complex testing requirements. This enables us to work with pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
Our in-house strain collection includes a wide selection of micro-organisms, such as bacteria, yeasts and moulds, which is being constantly expanded. Test strains for fermentation processes and micro-organisms for developing specific seed materials are therefore always available.
In order to perform the growing number of project-related tasks, instrumental analytics has become an important part of our work and is organised centrally as a staff department. This department acts as a point of contact for chemical-analytical questions, method development and validation.
We currently have several HPLC systems with RI, UV/VIS, FLD and CAD available for performing instrumental analytics. In addition, HPLC systems with MS detection are also used to quantitatively determine the presence of mycotoxins. Gas chromatography devices with FID are employed to analyse volatile organic substances. Anions are analysed using IC and the range of analytical options is rounded off by elemental analytics based on ICP-OES.
Standard chemical analyses are also performed at ARIC to identify the presence and concentrations of chemical substances. Solid, liquid and gaseous substances are investigated. Depending on the specific focus areas, the Starch (Food & Non-Food) Life Science & Fruit Technology as well as the Sugar Technology departments are equipped with various analytical devices. The equipment consists of different measuring devices for performing the photometric and enzymatic testing of analytes.
Contract analysis can also be performed for third parties. For more details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The analytical tasting panel at ARIC consists of 35 trained panellists. They work in a professionally equipped tasting room to evaluate sensory properties such as the appearance, odour, taste and texture of AGRANA’s product portfolio as well as finished products manufactured using these as ingredients. The many years of experience based on over 100 sensory tests a year cover the following product categories:
- Fruit Division: fruit snacks, fruit yoghurts, ice creams and chocolate-based products
- Starch Division: bakery products; speciality foods such as sauces, creams and spreads; and cosmetics such as skin creams and lotions
- Sugar Division: the range of organic and normal sugar products such as icing sugar, gelling and syrup sugars as well as caster sugar
The tasting panel therefore plays a central role in successful product and technological development work at AGRANA.