Larco Foods Success with 9,000 kg Per Hour Steam Infusion Soup Plant
OAL installed a new 9,000 kg per hour Steam Infusion system for Larco Foods soup manufacturer, halving production time and increasing the flavour profile of products.
Based in Holland, Larco Foods specialise in the production of ready meals and sauces. Their portfolio contains private label products which are supplied to major brand suppliers around the world. The company has sales offices in the UK and Germany, as well as partners in three other EU countries. The company has approximately 280 employees and an annual turnover of €50 million.
Larco Foods, founded in 1937, operates in a highly competitive market and wanted to reduce the operational costs and processing time for their soups, sauces and ready meals. Staying true to their company values of traditional and authentic production, the company had to establish a solution to their production time and capacity problems.
OAL provided a turnkey solution to Larco Foods covering the design, manufacturing, automation and installation of a system to manufacture 9,000 kg of soup per hour. A 3 tonne cooking vessel has two Steam Infusion Vaction™ pumps mounted on lances to enable high speed cooking. The project also included two holding vessels, a CIP system and a recipe control system.
Steam Infusion, is a heating and mixing process which unlike direct steam injection, does not expose products to excess heat temperatures. Steam is accelerated within a Vaction™ unit through a unique nozzle design. As the steam comes into contact with the product it creates a large dispersion zone and partial vacuum due to the Venturi effect. The steam then condenses into the dispersed liquid and flows out as a uniform product. The partial vacuum means the unit acts like a pump, so the product is pushed out of the unit and replaced with product to be heated.
Steam Infusion has reduced the production time of soups and sauces by over 50% and the site can now produce up to 9 tonnes of soup per hour. The products produced using steam infusion have shown an increased flavour profile which opens the doors to the possibility of ingredient reduction driving further savings and healthier products for their customers.