New VitaSquare plant full of state-of-the-art technologyPublished: 12-11-2015, | Member: Vitablend Nederland
Supplying special ingredients or powdered end products of ‘baby food-grade quality’ is the core business of Vitasquare, a new venture by business partners Vitablend, VSquare and NOM. Food Valley Society members took a field trip to Vitablend and looked behind the scenes at Vitasquare’s new state-of-the-art factory.
Established in 2001, Vitablend specializes in food-enriching ingredients (vitamins and proteins), anti-oxidants and diet food solutions and concepts. The company is now a worldwide player with a second factory in Singapore and production of over 400 new blends per year. In 2008, Vitablend was acquired by multinational Barentz.
Last year, Vitablend built a brand new plant next to its factory and lab in collaboration with VSquare and NOM. The new Vitasquare plant specializes in special ingredients or powdered end products of ‘baby food-grade quality’.
Vitasquare’s plant is designed and tooled to produce relatively small batches, which allows large industrial players to reduce the number of changeovers. This is a win-win situation for both parties. Vitasquare also works with other parties to develop iNutrition solutions for personalized food products. This is the company’s way of getting a jump on the growing demand for highly specialized products, such as baby formula, sports food, and food products tailored to seniors or people with special diets.
Spray Drying tower for high care small batch production
“These days, there’s great interest in nutritionally balanced food and health-related lifestyle coaching. As a result, there’s a growing demand for small batches of special ingredients and products,” Vitasquare CEO Rick Kirpestein told his guests from the Food Valley Society.
“The state-of-the-art technology in our new plant allows us to meet this demand for special ingredients. As part of our iNutrition program we’re also working on innovations that can help consumers put together a healthy meal. For example, we’re working with VitalinQ, which has developed an app that informs consumers about a product’s nutritional value. This app can function as a sort of digital coach for people with special dietary needs.”
One unique piece of equipment in the Vitasquare plant is the dryer tower, which is capable of drying small batches of liquids quickly without impacting their physical properties. Most dryer towers are up to 30 meters high, making fall times as long as 30 seconds. So smaller scale versions of these installations result in properties that deviate from those produced in the full-scale installations. Vitasquare uses what is known as a Hygienic Filter Dryer. Process residence times in this small-scale dryer are identical to those in regular commercial dryer towers, so the product’s unique powder properties and structure remain intact. Another advantage: the small tower’s short changeover times are far more efficient. Compared to ‘regular’ drying facilities, Vitasquare’s dryer tower reduces costs and shortens time to market. As Kirpestein explained: “Our tower is particularly suited to special batches, for instance allergen free baby food products.”
More than forty Food Valley Society members joined the tour of the Vitasquare plant on April 15, 2015. Aside from a unique peek behind the scenes of the new plant, the tour also brought the participants to the Vitablend labs where they had a chance to taste several products prepared with the company’s special blends.