QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 77 - Page 17

a very exciting collaboration with AMT. Following successful results from their commercial trials, manufacturers are now accepting that the AMT machine is a game-changing piece of technology with companies transforming their processing and reaping the rewards.” Miriam continued: “In terms of the Scottish and UK food market, one of the most significant areas of this collaboration is the potential that AMT technology offers in terms of developing healthy food products which are produced in a more energy efficient way. Unfortunately, Scotland has a reputation for unhealthy foods which are high in fat and sa lt. This project has the potential to change food processing for the better, and as a result, assist in improving the image, quality and health of Scottish food.” Kim Gilchrist, Research Development Manager at QMU, said: “We are delighted to be assisting SMEs such as AMT in novel research projects. The potential impact in the application of microwave technologies to revolutionise the food and drink industry is incredibly exciting.” Kim continued: “In this challenging economic climate, commercial organisations, particularly SMEs, need all the help they can get. Many businesses seem unaware that world class expertise, knowledge and research facilities are available within Scotland's universities. In line with the Scottish government agendas, QMU is totally committed to supporting the development of Scotland’s food and drink. Within our flagships of ‘health and rehabilitation’ and ‘sustainable business’ we have access to experts in food, nutrition, biological science, business development and marketing. In addition, we can offer specialist laboratories for testing and importantly, we have knowledge and access to funding for commercial development. Businesses, both large and small, need to make the most of this resource, and we look forward to further innovative collaborations with other Scottish and national food organisations.” QMU welcomes enquiries from organisations which may be interested in a demonstration of the AMT machine. If your business needs to find a solution to a problem or needs help with business development please contact Miriam Smith, Business Development Executive at QMU’s Business Innovation Zone on E: MSmith3@qmu.ac.uk, T: 0131 474 0000. ❒ Microwave technology helps ‘Get Juiced’ double sales Get Juiced, a small, forward thinking freshly squeezed juice and smoothie business, knew it could produce fresh drinks of the highest quality but it was struggling to identify a processing technology that could support an increase in product demand and business growth. Its biggest obstacle was the very limited shelf life of its fresh products. Its main product, freshly squeezed orange juice, had a shelf life of only eight days. T his gave the company very little room for manoeuvre with only eight days to get it to retail, sell to the end customer and have it consumed before the product was past its best. As a direct result of this problem, customers were hard to secure. The company tried various methods of processing but this always resulted in a poorer product with an inferior taste. In effect, existing pasteurisation technologies proved detrimental to the taste of the fresh product. Integral to the company was the need to retain the fresh quality of the product, its superior taste (in comparison to other orange juices) as well as its colour and texture. The company approached QMU and began trials with AMT. The orange juice was put through the AMT machine and to the company’s amazement the product tasted exactly the same. The Business Relationship Manager at Get Juiced said: “We just couldn’t believe what we were seeing at QMU. When we first saw the AMT machine in action, it was pasteurising scrambled egg. Then, while we were there, it quickly moved on to our orange juice which it pasteurised in just a matter of minutes. We sampled the juice after it went through the machine, and were astounded that it looked and tasted exactly the same. In fact, the product tasted so fresh, it was almost impossible to believe that anything had been done to it. After all our other failed attempts, we couldn’t believe we had found such a simple solution. The other advantage of the AMT machine was that it could clearly handle liquids and foods of different textures. If it could pasteurise a substance like scrambled egg and then quickly move to a liquid like orange juice, it would be able to handle all of our different fruit juices with their varying consistencies.” “If we had only known that the answer to our problems lay within QMU, we would have progressed things so much earlier.” Following research trials, Get Juiced purchased an AMT machine for its factory in Stirling. As soon as it was put into use, production more than doubled overnight. Get Juiced said: “With a new shelf life of 28 days we had a flood of interest from retail. People had always loved our unprocessed freshly squeezed drinks but earlier on, like all fresh juice drinks, demand was limited by shelf life. Now the interest in our freshly squeezed product with its extended shelf life is overwhelming and we have big expansion plans for 2013.” During the summer of 2012 Get Juiced was producing 2,000 litres of fresh juice each week. Following installation of the AMT machine the company’s production levels has increased to 5,000 plus litres per week. Get Juiced said: “Our retail business was fairly limited and the supermarket chains simply were not interested in listing our products with the smaller shelf-life but this has now completely changed; so much so we have doubled our staffing levels from 11 to 25 people to deal with the increased production and product demand.” Finding the right solution to its problem has allowed Get Juiced to action major expansion plans. Investment is imminent for an even bigger AMT machine and whilst there was always confidence that this would be in the pipeline, Get Juiced did not envisage just how quickly it would have to be realised. The company has secured a contract with a major supermarket to supply all of its Scottish stores, and is soon to supply the same retailer on a UK wide basis. Get Juiced said; “We always believed it could happen and now it has. It all started at QMU and we are eternally grateful that we made the connection with the University and AMT. It has helped us identify a great balance between the use of cutting edge technology and a simple quality product. This combination is allowing us to stay true to one of our core values – that of producing the best 100% freshly squeezed fruit juice in Scotland.” It’s onwards and upwards for Get Juiced as it progresses its aim o f being Scotland’s market leader in the fresh fruit drinks segment. ❒ QMYOU / Knowledge Exchange 17