SPX FLOW has extensive experience in the design and installation of systems for preparation of baby foods containing meat, vegetables and fruit. In general, this type of baby food can be divided into two categories:
- Strained baby foods
- Junior foods
Strained Baby Foods are used in the early stages of weaning as a small proportion of the diet and as the baby develops, the proportion is increased. Typically they are used from an age of 3-6 months up to 9-12 months old. During the latter stages they are used in conjunction with junior foods.
These foods may be prepared from dairy, vegetable, fruit, meat, fish and cereal ingredients in a wide range of recipes. The selected recipe takes into account infants' nutritional requirements and the process is such that the food is readily digested.
After processing, the selected recipe may be dehydrated for sale in powder form, filled into cans or jars prior to in-container sterilisation or UHT sterilised prior to aseptic filling into suitable containers.
Junior foods covers a range of products which have increasing particle sizes for infants in the range of 6-24 months old. They may be used after teeth have started to form as the child begins the transition from fluid foods to typical adult products. As such, the size of container is often graduated to take into account the growing infants needs. These products are usually sterilised in container or UHT treated prior to aseptic filling.
It should also be noted that these two ranges are also the basis of an increasing production of specialised food for geriatric and other special dietetic use.
SPX FLOW's in-depth knowledge and active involvement in the development of the world's baby food industry, combined with proven experience in project management of small and large capital projects, makes SPX FLOW the ideal partner for the design and installation of state-of-the-art processing equipment.
After washing, sorting, size reduction and removal of any contaminants, most vegetables and some types of fruit are blanched to remove enzymes which might otherwise cause deterioration during storage and processing. Bones and excess fat are removed from fish and meats prior to processing.
In many cases, cooking can take place after recipe preparation but for ingredients which need longer cooking times (such as meats) some pre-cooking may be needed.
SPX FLOW's automated systems may be used for metering or sequential weighing of ingredients followed by thorough mixing. With such complex mixtures dual agitation vessels are ideal although Liquiverters have been successfully used where only strained foods are produced.
For smaller scale operations, dual-agitated vessels may also be used for cooking. However, APV scraped-surface heat exchangers (SSHE's) have been successfully used in larger operations. Normally, when strained foods are being produced, a mill and strainer are included in the line.
Where the product is to be aseptically filled, the cooking and thermal sterilisation processes may be combined.
- Fluid handling:
- Butterfly valves
- Single-seat valves
- Other valves
- Centrifugal pumps
- Positive-displacement pumps
- Infusion UHT steriliser
- Manual/automatic CIP units
Process Diagram and Benefits
- SPX FLOW's global experience as a supplier of processing technology and equipment for baby food products is a key factor in our ability to deliver cost-effective solutions tailored to individual customer requirements.
- SPX FLOW offers an enormous range of resources to the food industry in process engineering, equipment manufacturing, project management - for both large and small projects - and world-class development facilities.