New research spearheaded by the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM), University of Lincoln, has found that Steam Infusion can reduce energy consumption by 17 per cent per batch compared to basic direct steam heating.

This helps save 278 hours of production time, cutting nine tonnes (10 US tons) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per kettle production line each year.

The research, led by NCFM’s Dr Wayne Martindale and OAL’s Development Chef, Christopher Brooks, has been reported in a peer-reviewed paper, “Transformational Steam Infusion Processing for Resilient and Sustainable Food Manufacturing Businesses”.

The team also found that Steam Infusion can improve the quality of a wide variety of end products, meeting consumer demand for great tasting food and beverages with added green credentials.

According to the FAO, the global food and beverage industry accounts for one third of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. With many manufacturers signed up to net zero commitments, or at least reporting on efforts to reduce their environmental impact, Steam Infusion can support businesses’ plans to incrementally cut emissions throughout their facilities.

By building carbon reductions into food and beverage manufacture through Steam Infusion cooking, in addition to schemes that off-set emissions with green utilities and land-based carbon sequestration, manufacturers can make an immediate difference in the fight against climate change.

Dr Wayne Martindale, Associate Professor, Enterprise and Food Insights and Sustainability at the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing and lead author, commented: “This is a world first in terms of looking into the sustainability benefits of technologies like Steam Infusion. The most energy intensive parts of food manufacturing facilities are often heating operations so it’s really exciting to see how Steam Infusion can help to reduce the impact of the industry. In this report, we connect a manufacturing innovation to consumer experience and improved product quality with greater sustainability credentials – a win for manufacturers and consumers alike.”

Steam Infusion is a simple, disruptive cooking process that helps food manufacturers overcome many of the challenges they face every day when producing food and beverage products, from soups to sauces and dairy desserts, including burn-on contamination, variable product consistency and slow cooking times.

Steam Infusion Vaction Pump uses steam as the motive force to simultaneously heat, mix and pump liquids with and without particulates, and can heat 1,000kg (2,204lb) of product from 15 to 90°C in five minutes with no burn-on or particulate damage. Easily retrofitted into new or existing cooking vessels, or fitted directly into the line, Steam Infusion delivers sustainability credentials with limited upfront investment and manufacturers typically achieve twice the cooking capacity compared with traditional methods.

Jake Norman, Sales Director at OAL, added: “We knew that Steam Infusion could help food and beverage manufacturers to become more energy efficient from anecdotal evidence but it’s great to have it confirmed in a peer-reviewed study. As manufacturers adjust their plans to achieve net zero goals, we’re confident that Steam Infusion can support them by delivering top quality products that consumers love with lower emissions.”