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“Stop Food Waste”: The fight against food waste starts in your production!

Intelligent process instrumentation can make a significant contribution to preventing the loss of food or partially processed products.

20 Mar 2023

In the media, the buzzword food waste is often portrayed with photos of waste containers filled with food. However, the fight against food waste starts in the dairy, brewery, or beverage production, with the raw material itself. Here, intelligent process instrumentation can make a significant contribution to preventing the loss of resources, i.e., raw foodstuffs or partially processed products, in the various manufacturing steps.

Stop Food Waste in Beverage Production

According to calculations by the WWF, the amazing quantity of around 40% of food is lost worldwide. The focus of media attention is primarily on farms, retailers, and consumers. However, there is also great potential in food production companies to make a significant contribution to reducing waste.

For the food processor, this not only implies an ecological and ethical component, but also pays off in hard cash. Every liter of less wasted resources means less lost value. In addition, every liter of product that ends up in the wastewater actually causes supplementary costs due to extra effort in wastewater treatment.

There is potential for avoiding food waste in many different areas in production plants. In the following, we illustrate examples of successful implementation based on specific real-life customer cases.

Phase transition between two different media:
- Problem:
In continuous processes often a safety time buffer is applied for quality assurance reasons. As a result high-value product is discharged into the wastewater.
- Solution: Inline analysis of the media for phase switchover accurate to the second, e.g. by turbidity measurement with the ITM-51 or ITM-4 or by conductivity measurement with the ILM-4.
- Examples: The organic dairy Söbbeke was able to save 65 seconds and thus almost 120 liters of organic milk at each phase transition in their UHT plant by using the ITM-51. Extrapolated over a full year, with 3 UHT processes per day, this means the amazing annual savings of over 100000 liters of organic milk.

Leibinger Brewery uses an ILM-4 to ensure that beer ends up in the bottle and rinse water in the sewer.

Processes not optimally controlled:
- Problem:
The quality of the product sometimes does not meet the requirements and it has to be discarded or can only be used for lower-quality end products, such as cattle feed.
- Solution: Continuous control of process parameters with measurement technology with active alarming in case of deviation from the specifications.
- Example: In the production of milk rice in a continuous process, foam formation in the feed tank repeatedly caused a process standstill and the loss of an entire production batch. The NSL-F potentiometric level probe reliably measures the level without the influence of foam, and there have been no production downtimes for 5 years.

Inaccurate level control in process tanks
- Problem:
Feed vessel contents are not used to the maximum and residual product is then flushed out during cleaning.
- Solution: Accurate level control in the vessel
- Example: Level switches for point level detection such as the capacitive level sensors LS or the conductive level sensors LB and NCS provide a highly precise and immediate indication for any medium, so that the production processes can run optimally and with maximum product utilization.

Non-optimal CIP process
- Problem:
As a result, traces of acid or lye can contaminate product in the subsequent production process, which then has to be disposed of.
- Solution: A sanitary design of the entire production plant including process connections for the instrumentation that are free of dead legs.
- Example: Process adaptations with clamp or screw connections without dead legs. The CPM fittings or the CLEANadapt process connection systems are designed in such a way that no deposits of cleaning agents can form during cleaning, thus enabling better control of product quality.

Already in production processes there are many approaches to reduce waste of raw materials, intermediate and end products to a minimum.

It pays off for every company to take the slogan "Stop Food Waste" seriously and to exhaust all possibilities for its implementation.
We would be happy to help you find potential savings in your production. Just get in touch with us.

For more information on Food waste please refer to the WWF website: