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Cutting out waste

08 May 2022

In a world where more people must be fed, food waste needs to be reduced to a bare minimum. Cutting technology is, therefore, becoming a more important element of food processing. 

One of the ways for food processors to reduce food waste lies in acquiring the right cutting equipment. While this may require a tangible investment in suitable technology these need to weighed up against the intangible losses such as reduced yield in production, poor product quality, shorter shell life and higher energy consumption due to the use of older, less efficient technology.

A low-quality slicer or dicer may come cheap, but it will add more to the operating costs for the following reasons: 

• Poor cutting quality creates more fines and wastage, so more raw materials will be needed.

• A poor cutting process can crush products and damage cell structures which will result in part of the product turning into juices which can have the effect of greatly reducing product shelf life. 

• A wrongly adjusted cutter will create an irregular cut product (shape) which can make it difficult for unforming packing, chilling, or freezing. Uneven sizes or thicknesses will cause some portions to be over-frozen, while certain parts would be insufficiently chilled.

• Higher energy consumption is something evert company wants to avoid especially with the ever-increasing energy costs. For example, in drying a product, inconsistent size or thickness of the cut product will affect the drying process, making quality control a difficult task. An unnecessary amount of energy may be used to process the oversized product or processors will face the issue of product deterioration due to incomplete drying.

• A poor cut size will create a tearing effect. This will produce more fines/wastage after the dying process, resulting in loss in yield.

FAM Stumabo designs and supplies cutting solutions for a wide range of food applications which can adapted to meet some very specific requirements.

Advantages of using a high performing dicer, shredder, or slicer will include

Uniform cut size: Producing uniform cut sizes for either strip cut or dices will minimise undesired cuts and fines. If the cut product needs to be cooked  –such as a French fry, a consistent cut size will ensure that all products are well cooked without being burnt or leaving an uncooked center.

Consistency: Machines supplied with cutting parts and blades within very small tolerances will ensure a proper fit and interchangeability. The need for adjustment and potential human error are minimised, and inconsistency in cut setting is diminished.

Fresh looks: When a cut product is produced clean and neat without crushing product cells, it gives the product a better appearance and it stays fresh longer. The various knife options should also be designed to meet different product textures and processing conditions.

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