Vakuum Food GmbH & Co.KG is a snacks producer based in Neuenkirchen near Osnabrück and was founded by Martin Johanning in 2018. Martin Johanning has his roots in Rehden and has been very successful with “Die krossen Kerle” at Johanning Snacks. The new brand is called the “Snacks-TEAM” and follows the idea of producing high-quality snacks conventionally and in organic quality using a combination of high-performance vacuum and PEF technology.
In early 2020, Martin Johanning has participated in Elea’s very first online PEFinar about the benefits of Pulsed Electric Fields technology for chips and dried fruits. During the webinar, Elea`s Managing Director Stefan Töpfl and Elea’s Scientific Engineer Kevin Hill showed how PEF works for potatoes and performed a live demonstration with the Elea PEF Advantage B 1 system. The Elea Belt systems improve product quality and yield whilst reducing processing costs. Raw materials treated with PEF are easier to cut or slice and show less breakage. PEF application allows to shorten frying time and temperature and reduces undesired quality changes.
For Vakuum Food, it was of particular interest to be able to produce a vegetable chip that has a natural colour and a low fat and acrylamide level which was not available in Germany at that time. Especially for vegetable chips, this is a crucial aspect, as the raw material has a high content of reducing sugars, which are considered precursors of acrylamide.
With the PEF induced pore formation, called electroporation, reducing sugars can be washed out easier prior to frying. PEF in combination with an adapted frying process using a lower frying temperature and reduction in frying time results in a product with better colour and lower fat and acrylamide content at the same moisture content and crispiness.
A combination of the two technologies should lead to promising results, and trials have started with an Elea PEFPilot machine in the production facility of Vakuum Food. In this specific case, sweet potato and red beet chips were produced. By applying PEF prior to the vacuum deep-frying and the previously mentioned adaption of frying conditions, the acrylamide content in the final product was reduced by up to 30%.
Due to these positive results, Martin Johanning decided to invest in the PEF technology and an Elea PEF Advantage B 1 mini system has been installed. With the support of Elea engineers, technical requirements were clarified, and the correct parameters were set. The compact all-in-one design of the B 1 mini model allows easy line integration, quick start-up and was specially designed for smaller production lines with a capacity of up to 3 t/h. With PEF, Vakuum Food benefits from increased product yield and low energy usage, and many new product development opportunities.
Martin Johanning says: “Without PEF, several products in our range would not even exist.