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Plant-based production technologies that are fit for the future of food

October 26, 2022

VEMAG offers you not only years of expertise in the field of plant-based products, but also custom-made machine solutions for your individual requirements

Ten Billion people in 2050. That’s the current forecast on the development of the world’s population. With this increase comes the challenge of how to feed them safely, healthily and in a way that conserves resources.

As a logical consequence, the market for plant-based foods will grow continuously. The driving force of this development is not based on the demand for vegetarian and vegan food but is much more of a pragmatic nature – it is no longer possible to feed 10 billion people sustainably with the current agricultural economy.

With 80 years of experience in food processing, VEMAG has been involved in the development of most new products and consumer preferences from the very beginning.

The German engineering company builds industrial machinery for food production. Its high-performance machines can be used to fill, portion and shape pasty and flowable products. The centerpieces of the portfolio are the company’s vacuum filling machines, which gently pump the filling material with the aid of double-screw technology.

High flexibility

Vacuum fillers in combination with various modularly applicable attachments enable the production of a variety of alternative food products. VEMAG vacuum fillers cover the entire range of requirements for filling and portioning pasty foods, doughs and mixtures.

The spectrum ranges from artisanal solutions to highly industrialized applications. The heart of VEMAG filling machines are the double screws which gently convey the filling material in a counterrotating operation. As a result, the properties of all components of a recipe are preserved. This property of the double screw is particularly important when it comes to texture-giving proteins. Gentle pumping and a short stay in the machine ensure that the desired mouth-feel is maintained.

Depending on the formulation, the filling machines from VEMAG can be equipped with variable double screws. Operators therefore have the option of adjusting the double screws perfectly to the product characteristics. Besides viscosity, other important parameters are lumpiness and temperature. For example, the temperature range can vary greatly between -2°C and 80°C depending on the product. VEMAG manages the operating areas with one and the same machine. As the double screw is pressure-resistant even under high loads, it is guaranteed that single portions go on sale with a high degree of weight accuracy. Consequently, this technology makes its economic contribution – high performance with very low give-away for more turnover.

It is no longer possible to feed 10 billion people sustainably with the current agricultural economy

Further advantages: easy handling and cleaning

The conveying technology, which consists of only two components – the double screw itself and the housing – enables simple and fast cleaning of the machine and efficient production planning thanks to the short changeover times.

Application: patties and sausages

The culinary journey of the burger has been remarkable, especially in the recent past. In fact, burgers are anything but new in gastronomy. The combination of minced steak, sauces and buns dates back to the late 19th century. Nowadays, there are hardly any limits to culinary creativity. Vegetable or plant-based patties are in no way inferior to the classics made from ground beef.

With the forming machine, FM250, VEMAG provides a solution for the efficient production of cleanly formed burger patties. The patties are formed with the help of a forming nozzle and integrated flattening belt for precise adjustment of diameter and thickness. The entire process takes place under low pressure so the structuring ingredients stay in shape – and the patties look homemade.

The FM250 can be very well combined with a loading line to place the fresh patties directly into a tray for further packaging. Apart from patties, the attachment can also be used for other plant-based applications. These include, for example, compact shapes, fillets or cutlets. For this, the FM250 offers the appropriate forming nozzles, which can be changed within a few minutes.

The meat alternatives within the popular sausage segment have long since ceased to be a rarity in food retailing. Instead, the growing market brings with it increasing requirements for automation to be able to produce competitively in the alternative protein segment as well. As a result of the modular design of the VEMAG attachments, production lines can be individually configured and precisely adjusted to structural conditions or capacities. There are no compromises in terms of portioning accuracy, performance or degree of automation. The CC215 alginate line, for example, works with a continuously guided sausage strand made of plant-based dough, which is coated with neutral alginate gel using a coextrusion head. Immediately after coextrusion, the alginate comes into contact with a calcium chloride solution and hardens in a fraction of a second – creating a stable, completely vegan casing.

In the further forming process, the sausages are cut to their intended length. The endless strand passes through two different belt systems, which bring the sausages into the typical shape and divide them into individual portions thereafter.

The continuous production allows the system to be combined with continuous cooking or freezing lines. If the formed sausages are to be offered fresh, further automation is possible with the LL335 loading system, which loads them automatically into trays. The CC215 provides the basis for a continuous production line designed to reduce production costs and maximize yield while maintaining quality.

Individual shapes and customized constructions

With the VEMAG filling and forming machines and the numerous other attachments, not only the classic sausages, burger patties and balls can be produced and placed into trays - all imaginable shapes can be realised. In addition to the standard portfolio, VEMAG offers customized solutions. Creative ideas, new shapes and individual solutions for production lines can thus be implemented on.

For further information, please contact Vemag here

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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