Aseptic and Hot Fill Processing

16/12/20 01:13 PM Comment(s) By FIAL

Mexex | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2020

Challenge  

Mexex’s journey began with the provision of quality Mexican-style sauces and food ingredients including corn chips, beans and imported lines. The company moved into foodservice supply, catering at major venues including the MCG and Sydney Showground. An increased demand for cheese sauces and salsas saw Mexex expand and launch a broadened range of products into retail and foodservice markets in Australia and overseas.

  

Quickly developing a solid reputation for innovation and pioneering industry change, Mexex developed and launched the first hot-filled bulk bag cheese sauce in the late 2000s, followed quickly by acquisition of new technology that enabled aseptic processing. That set-up allowed Mexex to process bulk orders from 1000 kg down to 10 kg, but acquisition of the first HFFS pouch line in Australia back in 2017 opened up even more opportunity.

  

Solution

One of only eight such lines in operation worldwide, with four of those based at a single company in the US, the aseptic processing technology has been game changing for Mexex. Facilitating pack sizes from 50 to 500 g in four or five different formats, it’s the ideal way to present the Mexex style of product in a safe form that is shelf-stable.

  

The technology is an economical way to pack dairy sauces, crème fraîche, cream-based products and the vegetable purees Mexex is known for, making a bag from roll stock, filling, sterilising and sealing in one hit.

  

Other aseptic packaging options place product into a fitment bag, which incorporates a large plastic fitment that needs sterilisation using a discrete process. While this works well for bulk materials, it can problematic for smaller packs, including kids on-the-go squeeze pouches, as the autoclave used to sterilise heats plastic to 135 degrees for an extended period. The solution employed by Mexex fills at approximately 30 degrees, making it a potentially safer technique.

  

Outcome

Mexex is widely recognised for its contribution to the food industry, most recently at the 2019 South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards, with the company winning three awards for innovation in food or beverage, education and service to the industry.

  

A great contributor to the company’s success is its long-lasting relationship with Food South Australia. Mexex founder Ian Young credits FSA membership with fostering a mentality of cooperation between local companies, many of which could be considered direct competitors. Rather than see other businesses as a threat, FSA members openly share knowledge and resources with one another in the interest of attracting other players and building a solid and resilient local industry.

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