Understanding individual machines, coupled with how they integrate and contribute across a food production line, is a philosophy on which Interfood has built its reputation. Through the company’s Divisions-based approach, specific expertise is provided in a number of areas, backed by an understanding of how equipment integrates to optimise production. That reputation has thus far been built primarily around meat applications but, with the ever- increasing focus on plant-based foods, that same approach is being applied in this growing sector of the food industry.
Richard Nethercot, Group Divisional Manager at Interfood, comments – “If we take preparation and mixing, for example, it doesn’t matter if the ingredients are meat or plant-based. You need to consider the needs of a given process in selecting what machine is best placed to do the job but a good quality mix, with a consistent end result, is the goal whatever the starting point.
“There are, of course, machines which are particularly suited to plant-based applications. A good example is the PowerHeater which is now being used in a number of plant-based production facilities throughout the UK. Fresh chilled vegan products are one of the biggest growth areas and are becoming an increasingly common feature on retailers’ shelves. They are produced from chilled texturised plant-based components with meat-like characteristics, designed to offer a similar bite, succulence and flavour as chicken, pork, beef and even duck. The PowerHeater provides the perfect process for creating such products.”
In addition to supplying individual machines, Interfood offers complete lines, with seamless integration. Nethercot recognises the importance of integration in a successful food production line and continues – “Whether it’s meat or plant-based products, ensuring that machines work effectively together is crucial for efficiency and productivity. Cooking, grilling, slicing and end of line operations – including x-ray, metal detection and packing – are equally as important in vegetarian and vegan products as they are in meat. A good example of how slicing and packing can be integrated is the wePACK thermoformer from Weber, specifically designed for slicing applications. When combined with a slicer and automated loading solution from the Weber range, seamless line control and performance is assured.”