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Alternative proteins have been conquering the shelves of our grocery stores over recent years with incredible speed. While some consumers remain to be convinced about the merits of vegan burger patties, nuggets or mince, the concept looks set to be the future of the food industry. 

One of the most recent additions to the JBT family, alco, has been promoting development and know-how in this fast-growing industry for a number of years with interesting insights. alco has found that only small changes are needed to convert a traditional meat convenience line to alternative proteins and vegan foods. 

In fact, a number of food companies are already using alco’s systems to produce products made from plant-based protein for the shelves of regional and national grocers.  

Consistent results
From mixing to cooling, vegan chicken, burger patties or gyros go through exactly the same processing steps as conventional meat products. The secret of taste and texture lies in the preparation or standardization and seasoning of the product at the beginning of the process.

JBT alco’s Mixer AMP is a solution that has been developed to cater for just such changes in the market. Featuring fast mixing times, production consistency, reliable processing and tailor-made adaptations to individual customer needs, alco mixing technology delivers decisive competitive advantages. 

Thanks to sophisticated mixing technology, the Mixer AMP is also suitable for the standardization and preparation of vegetarian and vegan food products. Sensitive and difficult-to-mix products as well as a variety of trend and convenience products can be mixed with consistently optimal results.

Complete solution
alco has always paid attention to detail. The alco Mixer AMP achieves desired results with homogeneous mixing of herbs and spices, and improved fluid absorption, better and more reliably than other mixing machines. Steam nozzles placed in the mixing tray enable direct steam injection and, thanks to optimum steam distribution, ensure fast, gentle product heating or thawing. 

In terms of further processing plant-based products, the re-designed facelift of the alco forming machine AFM is ideal for forming meat alternatives such as vegan burger patties into the right shape with exact portioning. 

The AFM PRO can be used to ensure patties taste like the meat-based originals, as well as delivering precise and individual shaping for each burger. In fact, the product mass can now be formed and portioned faster than ever with alco technicians having increased the speed of the forming process by 30%. 

The Mixer AMP and Forming machine AFM are complemented by alco’s coating line, which has recently been further optimized in terms of sustainability and cost efficiency. Following the forming process, vegan products are run through a flouring, battering and breading setup, analogous to their meat-based alternatives, for added flavor, a crisp exterior and an appealing appearance. The smart and space-saving Spiral oven ASH finishes the plant-based product by cooking it to the point and complementing the alco portfolio for processing vegan foods, alternative proteins and purely plant-based products.

The gentle, sophisticated technology of alco machines guarantees that vegan alternatives are in no way inferior to conventional products in taste, while at the same time making a valuable contribution to our environment.

Read more about alco´s solution range for alternative proteins here.