LATEST ARTICLES

Revolutionising the beer and hospitality industry with tube-in-tube cooling technology

With beer being the UK’s most popular alcoholic drink, sales could help the hospitality industry bounce back after COVID-19. So, it’s no wonder pub and restaurant owners are seeking innovative ways to ensure this beverage is perfectly conditioned, whatever the physical challenges of their venue. Here, Phil Lacey, UK Specialty Sales Director at RWC, discusses how its pioneering innovation, John Guest PolarClean, can help improve beer and business performance. We British love our beer. According to reports it’s the country’s most popular alcoholic tipple, with over 8 billion pints sold in 2018. Over recent years, there’s also been a real surge in interest, with craft beers and micro-breweries adding new products to the mix. Companies House records show that since 2008, the number of businesses registered as beer manufacturers has increased almost ten-fold. Beer drinkers are also getting more demanding, with a report by AB InBev finding that 34% of customers would change venues if the beer didn’t come up to scratch. Here lies the challenge. Quite simply, beer isn’t easy to get right. It needs conditioning in order to be kept and served at the right temperature. The equipment also demands regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent bacterial build-up, which can affect product quality and even be dangerous. With evidence suggesting that on average, pubs waste up to 20 pints a week because of factors such as these, it’s clear there are challenges. Beer also has a finite life, as we know from the scenes of pubs throwing away beer during lockdown, with landlords suffering great losses. Looking forward to better times Hopefully we’ve seen the last of such events, and hospitality owners across the UK can start looking forward to better times, including a hot summer and a boom in beer sales. With so much at stake, they’ll all want to make sure their beer tastes great to keep the punters coming back. They’ll also be focussed on keeping waste down to a minimum. However, as we know, this is easier said than done. In many cases, temperature is at the heart of the problem. If it’s too low, the result is chill haze and cloudy beer. Too warm, and excess foam can result. Both issues can affect taste and increase waste, and nobody wants either. Of course, there’s plenty of equipment out there to tackle this problem and ensure beer is served at the correct temperature. ‘Contact cooling’ is the most common and traditional solution. Here, beer from the barrel is carried into a cooler where it is flash chilled in stainless-steel coils before making its way to the font. This technology is widely used but isn’t always a perfect solution. It demands significant investment and lots of equipment, all of which has to be located together in one place. For venues with large cellars that’s fine, but many have crowded and limited space, while many smaller venues don’t have a cellar at all. Additionally, the tubes transferring the beer from cooler to font aren’t insulated or cooled, and so can collect heat along the way. The longer the line or dwell time, the more significant this becomes. Maximising taste, minimising fob A simpler and more cost-effective solution is to follow the example of many leading breweries and invest in tube-in-tube cooling, such as John Guest’s PolarClean, a revolutionary technology to achieve great results in beer glasses – and in profit margins. Here, the pipe that delivers the beer from keg to tap sits inside another tube, which contains coolant that circulates around the beer at temperatures specified by each brand. As well as ensuring the right conditions, this prevents heat transfer and keeps the beer at a reliably consistent temperature to maximise taste and minimise fobbing. As the entire length of the beer line is kept cool, the risk of microbiological activity is significantly reduced while carbonation control is improved and product waste minimised. Importantly, unlike contact cooling equipment which has a large footprint and requires very specific configuration – typically in one location – PolarClean is self-contained and allows much greater flexibility. It can be installed in tight spaces, at a fraction of the cost, and without actually needing a cold cellar or secondary cooler at all.  Delivering extra cold beer direct from the keg coupler to font, it’s an efficient and cost-effective solution for any venue, including smaller bars, cafes and restaurants. Making life easier Like many pioneering ideas, PolarClean originated from a very different technology. Part of the RWC family of brands, John Guest was established in 1961 and would go on to invent the push-fit concept in the 1970s to create easy, reliable leak-free seals for compressed air systems. Before long, the same core technology was adapted to make life easier across other industries, including hospitality. As a result, PolarClean’s ease of installation and efficiency of service build upon John Guest’s original Speedfit push-fit concept, while adding the additional benefits of the innovative tube-in-tube technology that this specific solution is recognised for. This means it can be easily installed and maintained without specialist tools, while maintaining the right temperature for each beverage dispensed via the system throughout. And finding such improved ways of doing things is part of John Guest’s DNA. When it was first introduced in the 2000s, PolarClean was a revolutionary concept in the hospitality trade, and it remains just as unique and innovative today. As well as serving a great pint to keep people coming back, it delivers more revenue per keg – a vital consideration in these competitive and cost-conscious times. Backed up with rigorous quality testing and expert technical service and support, PolarClean can add real value to an industry that’s in need of a little extra cheer right now.

Digital platform IFE & IMS Connects launches for food and drink industry

Montgomery Group, organiser of International Food & Drink Event (IFE) and IFE Manufacturing Solutions (IMS), has unveiled a new online platform which will enable suppliers and buyers to meet, network and share thought leadership virtually. IFE & IMS Connects will enable food & drink suppliers to showcase their products and services year-round to an engaged and diverse buyer audience, as well as facilitating networking, one-to-one meetings and online demonstrations. Regular content including webinars, roundtables, podcasts and product demos will be hosted on IFE Connects for the international food & drink community, providing much-needed insights into the latest news and trends in the industry. The platform will act as a comprehensive database of the latest suppliers in the food & drink industry, allowing buyers to quickly and easily find and compare brands that fit their requirements, alongside recommending relevant new businesses. IFE & IMS Connects will also integrate seamlessly into the live event experience when International Food & Drink Event and IFE Manufacturing Solutions return to ExCeL London in March 2022. New connections made at the shows will be viewable on IFE & IMS Connects, and attendees can use the platform to schedule talks and demos to attend, arrange in-person meetings and search exhibitors. Event Manager Nicola Woods commented: “The past year has given us time to think about how we can harness digital resources to add value to our suppliers and buying community. We have purposely created a platform will sit harmoniously alongside our live events all year round and provide a long-term opportunity for suppliers. “IFE & IMS Connects will bring our community together in the lead-up to the 2022 editions of International Food & Drink Event and IFE Manufacturing Solutions, supporting and expanding on the networking and sales conversations that take place on the show floor.”

Bird-like drone could be game-changer for farmers

A drone which mimics bird flight could make the technology more usable for farmers in remote and windswept landscapes. Drones are increasingly being used in agriculture, such as for checking crops and livestock, but are currently limited by their inability to fly in winds exceeding 25mph, and to stay airborne for long periods. But a Cornish start-up, run by an aerospace engineering graduate, is now aiming to change that with ‘Hover Bird’, a drone which uses wind to its advantage. “If you look at conventional drones and helicopters, they use 95-98% of their energy to just stay in the air and overcome gravity, which means drone batteries often don’t keep them airborne for longer than 20 minutes,” says Patrick Maletz, founder of Falco Drone Technologies. “They’re also not very good at flying in high winds. “We’ve worked out that by using wind like a bird does, rather than fighting against it, we can increase flight time to about three hours in optimal conditions.” Mr Maletz hopes Hover Bird could help farmers access remote land and spend more time inspecting crops and livestock, as well as aiding the offshore wind industry and search and rescue operations. “The benefit is that you can hover over a target, like an animal, and come in for closer inspection. Drones are also really useful for early detection of pests and diseases in crops, and like most drones, Hover Bird can be fitted with multi-spectrum cameras to aid this.” Having worked in humanoid robotics, Mr Maletz came up with the idea for the drone while on a holiday in the Alps a few years ago. “I thought how useful it would be to have a drone for ski patrols, but realised that the high winds would be a problem,” he says. “This led me to think about a drone that could handle this, and how useful this could be for search and rescue operations.” He then spent a couple of years tinkering with drones to make improvements, until lockdown last year gave him more time to focus on developing Falco Drone Technologies. Grant funding from Agri-Tech Cornwall was critical in enabling Mr Maletz to continue testing the technology, finding problems, and adapting the drones until a solution was found. “The biggest challenge has been the time and money – it’s been hard to fund this myself and to do it alongside working part-time. The Agri-Tech Cornwall funding really helped and has enabled us to develop the next prototype.” Falco Drone Technologies is also working with Marine-I and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, and has flights planned at a demonstration wind turbine in Scotland next year. The goal is to work with farmers to perform similar technology validation flights in the agricultural sector as well. “We’d really like to work more closely with farmers to understand their challenges and needs better,” says Mr Maletz. “So we would be keen to hear from anyone who wants to collaborate.” The drone is made from inexpensive materials, and so should come in at an accessible price point for the agricultural sector, he adds. “Commercial drones currently on the market are priced at £5,000 to £50,000, and Hover Bird is expected to be at the lower end of that.”

Breakthrough signals end of fossil fuel plastic with new plant protein substitute

New research published in Nature Communications could signal the end of fossil fuel single-use plastics as the science behind a new plant protein substitute is made public. Researchers at the University of Cambridge Knowles Lab describe how they can create a polymer film from plant protein that is sustainable, scalable and 100 percent natural. Made entirely from plant protein which can be sourced as a by-product of the agriculture industry, the resulting material can be consumed in nature after use like any natural waste, leaving no pollutants behind. The material’s functionality is consistent with conventional plastic, but it requires no chemical cross-linking used in bio-polymers to give them the strength and flexibility of plastic. The chemicals used in cross-linking are often unsustainable and can even leave toxic pollutants behind once disposed of. The research shows how the scientists are able to naturally assemble plant proteins so the final structure is very similar to spider silk. The breakthrough is the first time these structures have been shown in a material that derives from plant protein. Through a process involving acetic acid and water, ultrasonication and heat, the plant proteins are transformed in an energy-efficient way using easily obtainable, sustainable ingredients. Xampla, the Cambridge University spin-out commercialising the technology, is developing its applications to replace single-use plastics including flexible packaging films, sachets, microcapsules found in home and personal care products, and carrier bags. The paper is the culmination of more than 10 years’ research into understanding how nature generates materials from proteins. The scientists were inspired by spiders’ silk which is weight-for-weight stronger than steel but has weak molecular bonds, meaning it can break down easily.  They sought to understand the building blocks of this natural phenomenon, with the aim to create a material with the same molecular properties. Professor Tuomas Knowles who led the research said: “One of the key breakthroughs is that we can supply this product on a large scale, and it can replace plastic in very specific applications. We have proved it’s possible to solve the single-use plastics problem.” Dr Marc Rodriguez Garcia, co-author of the paper and Xampla’s Head of Research said: “It’s amazing to realise that a discovery you make in a lab can have a big impact on solving a global problem. That’s essentially why we are doing this – we really love the science, but we also wanted to do something meaningful about solving the overwhelming problem of plastic waste.” Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder of international campaign group A Plastic Planet said: “This is a huge breakthrough for all the naysayers who want to back the status quo and still tout recycling as the answer to the plastic crisis. “We have to be forward-looking. We have to get excited about new technologies and materials because these are the innovations that will break our addiction to plastic. This is what the future must be about – no greenwashing, no fossil fuel reliance and new, scalable technologies that put the planet first.”

NDC delivers a live webinar for food and bulk industrial material processors: 5 essentials for NIR on-line measurement success

Today’s food and bulk industrial material marketplaces are extremely competitive. There is a greater focus to optimize process performance, enhance product quality, reduce energy consumption and keep customers satisfied to ensure continued brand loyalty. NDC Technologies’ Series 9 in-process, near-infrared gauge is helping manufacturers worldwide by providing process insight and precisely controlling key product constituents such as moisture, fat/oil, protein and surface brownness during production, so they can produce higher-quality products more profitably, while still meeting market and customer demands. But how can you be sure you’re getting the most out of your investment in an on-line solution, and how soon should you expect to achieve a solid ROI — and long-term return on value? This webinar will answer these important questions and more. Key topics that will be discussed include:
  • Opportunities and must-dos for your process
  • Integrating an on-line solution into your process
  • Working with your quality system
  • Making sure your supplier meets your needs
  • Ensuring process and quality success for the long term
Space is limited so click or tap here to reserve your place today.

Driving e-grocery sales by taking a total system approach to food packaging

Andrea Questa, e-Grocery Solutions Manager EMEA at Sealed Air, explores the critical role of taking a total system approach to primary and secondary food packaging in developing a successful e-commerce strategy. Taking a fresh look The pandemic has increased the appeal of buying groceries digitally. However, although consumers crave convenience, this does not mean they are prepared to make compromises in other areas such as food quality and freshness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite., Recent analysis by Retail Economics  epitomises this, with the consultancy’s CEO pinpointing the impact of the pandemic on how people shop and stating; “consumer behaviour is evolving at a frightening pace and the single largest challenge for retailers is to meet, if not exceed, customers’ expectations.” A total system approach to food packaging can help e-food businesses to satisfy growing market demands. The right combination of high performance primary and secondary packaging will protect food quality and integrity, and maintain the correct temperature inside the package.  Furthermore, taking a more holistic view of the packaging will also help improve sustainability Primary and secondary packaging in unison  Both primary and secondary packaging must also deliver in other crucial areas. They should maximise sustainability and reduce waste, improve the unpackaging experience for consumers, communicate information and brand stories, and optimise available transportation space so more food is shipped per square metre. Achieving success in each of these areas can be even more complex when selling fresh and frozen foods such as meat and fish, and hot meals. The secondary part of the packaging system will then need to also deliver insulation protection. There’s also the consideration that some packaging insulation materials are non-recyclable or difficult to recycle. This doesn’t bode well with consumers increasingly focused on sustainability. The PwC  Global Insights Survey shows 43% of consumers internationally expect businesses to be accountable for their environmental impact. Striking the balance To help food processors and e-grocery retailers address the complexities of creating a holistic e-commerce food packaging solution, Sealed Air has put the importance of trust at the centre of its unique ‘Fresh No Crush’ total packaging system. At every stage of the packaging strategy, we address the issues that really matter. For example, can shoppers trust the primary packaging to seal-in the freshness of meat and protect it against contamination? These demands are balanced against the requirements of the secondary packaging. How do you trust that the void fill will work alongside the primary packaging to avoid crushing and damaging the food? This unique approach helps food processors and retailers to overcome the challenges of trying to piece together different types of packaging, which don’t necessary work in collaboration.

Tyson Foods debuts plant-based products in Asia

Tyson Foods is launching a range of plant-based products in Asia for the first time. Sold under the First Pride brand, the products will initially launch in Malaysia and will roll them out to other markets in the region in the coming months. “We’re thrilled to offer Asia Pacific consumers more high-quality protein choices as they explore flexitarian diets,” said Tan Sun, President of Tyson Foods APAC. “The Asian market is a natural fit for this category with traditional plant-based products like tofu already entrenched in the culture. “The key to meeting consumer preferences with new plant-based protein is through innovation and making locally relevant products that taste great, which is our expertise. “Our new product expansion delivers on taste and quality, giving consumers a modern take on familiar tastes, local flavours and texture,” he said. “We’re experts in the protein industry with a diverse, multi-protein portfolio and have the capabilities to produce great tasting plant-based products.” The initial launch will introduce frozen Bites, Nuggets and Strips made with plants to consumers in Malaysia. The innovations are halal certified and made with regionally sourced ingredients including bamboo fibre, soy protein and wheat protein. While the alternative proteins category in Asia is still growing, APAC retail sales of meat substitutes reached $16.3 billion in 2020 and are expected to exceed $20 billion by 2025, according to Euromonitor. “We’re excited to expand our internal capabilities globally as we build our portfolio of loved plant protein brands,” said David Ervin, Vice President of alternative protein for Tyson Foods. “Our global culinary network and scalability positions us well to replicate the success we’ve had in the U.S. in Asia Pacific and provide consumers with great tasting plant protein options.”

Imbibe Live readies to welcome back drinks industry this September

UK drinks industry event, Imbibe Live, will be returning to London’s Olympia this September. Imbibe Live will run from 13th to 14th September 2021 and will be the first dedicated on- and off-trade event to take place after summer reopening, bringing the industry back together again after a very challenging year. This year’s event, which will take place in accordance with strict standards of health and safety, will welcome visitors from across the industry, offering the opportunity to discover a wealth of newly launched and unique products and attend insightful seminars from industry leaders. The Imbibe Live team have spoken to brands and industry figures this year to really understand what the drinks community needs. In response, a tailored programme of insightful content will explore the issues that are currently shaping a post-covid world, whilst showcasing some of the best drinks the industry has to offer with the continuation of Imbibe Live’s renowned tastings. Helping to curate this leading content programme are an advisory team of some of the industry’s biggest names including, Anna Sebastian – drinks expert and founder of ‘Celebrate Her’, Gabe Cook – Global cider expert, Laura Willoughby – Club Soda, Jan Kontezki – founder and owner of F&B consultancy Konetzki, director of wine for Ten Trinity Square and four-time UK Sommelier of the Year, Clement Ogbonnaya – owner of London’s Prince of Peckham pub and Lorraine Copes – Founder of not-for-profit organisation, Be Inclusive Hospitality. As one of the first in-person events to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic, Imbibe Live will practice all the health and safety guidelines set out by local authorities and the UK Government. “After an incredibly challenging year, we are really excited to be bringing Imbibe Live and the drinks community back together again,” said Daniel Zanetti, Exhibition Director at Imbibe Live. “The industry has shown an incredible amount of support for one another during this time and we hope that Imbibe Live provides those working in the trade with real insight and practical support on how to help their businesses grow and thrive once again. We have some incredible brands taking part this year, with exhibitors coming from all four corners of the globe. These brands stretch across the whole drinks industry – from beer and ciders, to wines and spirits, as well as new categories and products launched in the last 12 months.”

Israeli start-up Imagindairy creates true milk proteins without the cow

Israeli start-up Imagindairy is milking new technology to leave the cow out of the dairy equation. The company is creating true milk proteins that are indistinguishable from the real thing via a natural process of precision fermentation. Imagindairy’s proprietary technology recreates nature-identical, animal-free versions of whey and casein proteins that can be used to produce dairy analogs. They have the flavour and texture – and, importantly, the functionality and nutritional value – of their animal-based counterparts. This opens new opportunities to develop a full range of non-dairy products that perfectly mimic dairy versions yet contain no cholesterol, or GMO’s. They also are lactose-free, serving consumers with lactose intolerance or sensitivity. At the same time, the proprietary technology radically lowers the burden of dairy livestock on the environment. “Our microflora-based production method was inspired by nature to recreate these proteins,” explains Eyal Afergan, co-founder and CEO of Imagindairy. The unique protein structure of dairy milk is what provides its characteristic texture, flavor, and nutritional value. Whey is a key source of highly biologically available protein. Imagindairy’s animal-free dairy products boast the same complement of nutrients, from protein content to mineral composition, including calcium. In response to growing awareness of animal welfare and the environmental impact of animal farming, supermarket shelves have become buoyant with alternative plant-based milk and dairy analogues. Yet in many respects, plant-based dairy alternatives fall short of meeting consumers’ sensory demands. “Our vision was to deliver an animal-free version of the primary dairy proteins — whey and casein — that can allow product makers to match real dairy products in terms of protein concentration, nutrient profile, and the full sensory experiences of the animal-derived versions,” says Afergan. “I look forward to being able to give my kids such treats as a cup of nutritious, tasty milk or creamy yogurt without the hard impact on animals or on the environment they must inherit.” Imagindairy was co-founded by a multidisciplinary team of prominent experts in microbiology, computational systems, and biotechnology with the support of Israel-based The Kitchen FoodTech hub. The team, headed by Dr. Arie Abo, PhD, a specialist in protein biochemistry, in collaboration with Tamir Tuller, PhD, a professor at Tel Aviv University, to advance emerging technology to overcome production bottlenecks and create a commercially viable, guilt-free milk product, without forfeiting quality or functionality. Imagindairy kicked off operations at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, building its first applications lab in the home kitchen of one its employees, a single parent who needed a solution that would allow her to work on development while tending her homeschooled children. Imagindairy’s unique technology is based on 15 years of research by Tuller, channeling evolutionary genomics for the advancement of high yield protein production. The start-up already raised US$1.5 million in seed funding, led by The Kitchen FoodTech hub, with contributions from the Israeli Innovative Authority, CPT Capital, New Crop Capital, and Entrée Capital, and will soon enter its A-round funding series.  

Coupette releases signature cocktail in RTD can

World- renowned East End bar Coupette has recently released its signature cocktail, Apples, in a ready-to-drink can. Designed in London and made in France, the Apples RTD (8.0% ABV) has been created in partnership with Maison SASSY. A bartender-quality drink in the convenience of a can, ‘Apples’ aims to showcase the diversity of apple juice and calvados. Perfect for consuming at home or on the go, the effervescent tipple is crisp and satisfyingly refreshing, ideal for also enjoying alfresco. The ready-to-drink can is crafted with the same dedication, care and patience as the original Apples cocktail served at the bar, which was coined the most popular drink at the CLASS awards in 2019. The new beverage comprises a rotation of apple juice – made from a variety of 5 different apples that have been pressed, filtered, and carbonated – and calvados, exuding notes of caramel, nutmeg, brown sugar and toffee. Bar Manager Andrei Marcu comments on the launch: “Creating the RTD Apples can was born out of a desire to make the drink more accessible to our fans. “Finding the perfect balance of flavours was a challenge, but after months of development and meticulous recipe tasting, we are confident the drink replicates the same quality as the original serve. “Bringing together the on-trade and off-trade has been a dream come true and holding the can in my hand for the first time was incredibly exciting.” Apples RTD can (250ml) retails at £5.00 Available to purchase here.