Food manufacturer Sunspray Food Ingredients has expanded spray drying in its operation as a technology that can ensure cost savings and minimise allergens in food and nonfood segments, says food manufacturer Sunspray MD Rene Cross.
Spray drying is a technology that is used to convert any liquid into a powder, with the advantage of a longer shelf life than that of other dried powders.
The emulsified ingredients, such as fat powders, can include other ingredients to customer formulations, making it more cost effective.
“Products that don’t belong together, such as fats and water, can be spray-dried into a powder for various applications. This allows for minimising allergens, creating vegan products and meeting fast-moving consumer preferences during product development,” says Cross.
She explains that spray drying facilitates quick and effective drying while preventing microbial risk and retaining nutritional profiles.
“The flexibility of Sunspray in drying numerous products on a single spray drier is a distinct advantage and one that we continue to develop, as it sets us apart from other normal manufacturing methods.”
Cross believes that, in years to come, spray-dried products will become preferential, as they can withstand the changing weather patterns.
Meanwhile, she mentions that, to circumvent the impact of load-shedding 18 months ago, Sunspray started a systematic programme of larger production runs, which increases the stock of fast-moving standard products to service customers.
“We choose to rather manufacture in advance than be interrupted by load-shedding and have managed the interruptions quite well. The load-shedding impact is much more than the actual load-shedding hours, as the towers have to be cleaned and conditioned again before production restarts. This results in downtime that significantly exceeds the hours reflected by State-owned power utility Eskom.”
Cross points out that Sunspray continues to produce additional stock, which is stored at its recently completed on-site warehouse in Industria. The storage capacity is 2 200 t and covers 3 500 m2.
“The warehouse has the capacity and ensures that all stock is stored under cool and dry conditions, which are ideal for spray-dried ingredients.”
Private-equity companies RMB Corvest and Shalamuka Capital acquired an interest in Sunspray in 2015. The private- equity shareholders together currently hold an effective 64% stake in the business, alongside Sabvest and management.