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Tech Talk

Feeding my Apple Addiction

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

I am an Apple(R) addict.  I am an early adopter of all Apple products and I see nothing wrong with owning all iPhone generations and the iPad and iPad2, at the same time.  A forage into my closet doesn’t yield designer shoes, but rather, vintage Apple products, like the Powerbook 145B, and multiple colors of interchangeable track balls that were sold that year.

Is it any wonder then, that Eagle Beverage now was an App for the iPad? You can download the app at the App Store.  An App?  For Private Label?  But of course.  How else can our sales team remember each detail of a custom private label program?  The app is designed for food service professionals who are interested in selling a custom private label program for speciality beverages.  It’s nifty because you can see more detail of flavors and actually create your own program.  Do you want to match a brand?  Enter the info in the field.  Do you want choose your capsule color?  Click your color.  Need to print the sales sheets or email directly to the person across the table from you?  Select print, email or download to PDF reader.

I’m not recommending that everyone downloads the app.  It is a very specific app for a specific market segment.  In addition to helping our sales team promote private label programs, this app asks the question… how useful are apps for business to business generation?  Or is the market share for one billion plus apps predominantly B to C?  Or did I miss the platform of where B2B apps belong?

I should point out that the app is not free and Eagle Beverage does NOT offer refunds for those who download the app because they download everything there is out there whether they need it or not (yes, I know I have 650 apps of which I only actually use about 20).  But we will refund the price of the app if someone actually uses it to create and buy a private label program from us!

I am enjoying the process of learning how to integrate technology into the selling of custom foodservice items.  And I have enjoyed learning how Apple has developed a whole platform for the creation, maintenance and distribution of apps.  The reviews from the sales team who have seen the app working have been great.  I really hope I don’t have to buy them all iPads now…!

Metal Detectors

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Metal detectors are often one of the last steps in processing food products. This simple step assures that food products do not contain any metal that could injure a consumer. Metal detectors work in very specific and precise ways and in today’s Tech Talk, we are going to explain how they work.

Metal detectors consist of three basic parts that are critical to the function of the metal detector. These parts are: the send coil, receive coil and sensor. In normal operation, the send and receive coils create a magnetic field through the flow of electrons by electromagnets. The sensor reads this magnetic field through its own magnets and translates the changes in magnetic field strength to changes in electrical current.

When nothing is in the metal detector, the sensor reads a baseline current. When a product with metal inside is passed through the metal detector, there are two ways the sensor can detect it. If the metal is ferrous (iron, copper magnetic), it has a high conductivity and when passed through the magnetic field it will interact and cause the detector to read the change in magnetic field strength as an increase. Conversely, if a metal is non-magnetic (such as stainless steel commonly in food plants) it has a low conductivity relative to the ferrous metals, so when it is passed through the magnetic field it will not interact positively. It will however interact by blocking a small section of the field from reaching the detector due to its high resistance. This will cause the sensor to detect less magnetism than the baseline which results in a negative output from the sensor.

Metal detectors have built in toleration limits; if the change in the current, either positively or negatively, from metal in the product is above the tolerance level the product is rejected. In many plants the conveyor will simply stop, but in large fast moving operations stopping a conveyor belt would cause a huge bottleneck in production so the product that failed the metal detection check is removed from the conveyor by a compressed air piston.

The primary function of the metal detector is to be able to detect metals present in the product and/or packaging and keep that product from entering the food supply and potentially harming consumers. Therefore the metal detector is the final step before product is sealed and shipped. For this reason, metal detectors are one of the most common Critical Control Points in HACCP plans throughout the food industry.

The FDA and Sugar

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

The FDA recently published a preliminary guidance document relating to the labeling of sugar? This is interesting for all those of us who use different sugars in our beverage products.

The guidance document relates to the labeling recommendations for ingredients currently declared as “Evaporated Cane Juice.” The main problem the FDA sees in current labeling practices is that it falsely suggests that the sweeteners are “from juice”. In reality, the liquid extracted from sugar cane is much closer to that of maple syrup than to traditional fruit or vegetable juice. Both of these plants (sugar cane and maple???) are not normally cooked and eaten or eaten raw; however their sap is used as a sweetener. This is different from traditional juice because fruits and vegetables can be eaten in their original form or turned into juice.

Most types of sweeteners currently labeled as “evaporated cane juice” have more recognizable names such as molasses, raw sugar, brown sugar, turbinado sugar, muscovado sugar, and demerara sugar.

For more info from the FDA, please see www.fda.gov

Eagle Beverage is working on reformulating its current line of sugar free syrups

Friday, November 6th, 2009

With the recent acceptance of Stevia as a a viable and long term alternative sugar free sweetener, Eagle Beverage is working on reformulating its current line of sugar free syrups (currently sweetened with 100% Splenda®) using Stevia. Stevia was granted no-objection GRAS status by the FDA for sweeteners that contain 95% or more pure RebA. These sweeteners are 200 or more times sweeter than sugar so they can be used as a replacement for other high intensity sweeteners (such as aspartame, sucralose) or used with sugar to maintain the same taste profile but reduce the carbohydrates and Calories in the product.  The first product the lab is working on is Vanilla.  If vanilla gains acceptance in the market place, you can be sure that this will carry over into other popular flavors, like Caramel, Hazelnut and Irish Crème.  Do you have an opinion on Stevia?  Please share it here.

Aisha Kabani - Eagle Beverage
Ever wanted to know what goes on in a food manufacturing company? Read the newest blog by Aisha Kabani and see how a family owned manufacturing company manages the different facets of creating spectacular products and sharing them with the world.