R&D and technology
10 facts about palm oil food production at our Marunda R&D centre
There are no shortcuts when it comes to producing food items for consumption, which is why our cooking oil, margarine, and other palm oil food products are prepared at the refineries under stringent conditions. We also invest in a state-of-the-art Research and Development (R&D) centre adjacent to our refinery in Marunda, (located along the North East fringe of Jakarta) to support the production of safe, healthy and delicious food products. Here are 10 facts about our Marunda R&D centre.
- The five-storey R&D centre was opened in 2015 and is located in the same premises as our Marunda Refinery.
- Ours is the first lab dedicated to fats and oils in Indonesia to be ISO 17025 accredited, meaning competence, impartiality and consistency in operation. This is especially beneficial to customers who serve an international market because they can be assured of reliable and secure analyses which conform to a global standard when they need new product concepts or other specific needs.
- Stocked with the latest in food technology laboratory equipment, this is where our food technologists develop new products, such as margarines with different flavour profiles, shortening with special whipping capabilities, or unique solutions for ice-cream coatings and even milk fat replacers.
- Work on how to improve existing products is also conducted here through reformulation. Reformulating often means performance or nutrition improvement, such as when we removed trans-fatty acids from our products.
- There is a full concept kitchen which allows our chefs to test product applications on different types of food. The kitchen has two unique sections: A bakery section with apparatus suitable for making cakes, doughnuts, bread and pastries; and a savoury section with a deep fryer, griddle and boiler, suitable for testing cooking oil applications. The key difference from a standard kitchen, is that product trials and new product development is done here according to recognised industrial test standards and also tested simply for home users.
- Sensory analysis is a key parameter for product testing. To do this, we conduct blind taste tests in the sensory evaluation room, where testers can evaluate the visual appearance, taste, smell and texture of products in the trial phase.
- Packaging development is also done here. We explore new packaging materials that make our products more lightweight and compact, therefore maximising space when loading containers. This has led to lower costs, lower energy consumption and reduction of carbon emissions.
- After products are trialled and tested in the lab, and before we determine if they are suitable for mass production, we go through a pilot plant phase in the R&D centre. During this phase, we conduct product process simulations, using ‘mini’ scaled versions of the same equipment, as used in the refining and product manufacturing step, to see if the product is workable on a commercial-scale in terms of cost, safety and time.
- We have wide-ranging chocolate machinery and capabilities in the R&D centre that allows us to make palm oil-based chocolate products. This means we are able to support confectionary makers to create chocolate bars, wafers and chips.
- Because of the ever increasing cost of butter and other dairy-based products, our R&D team is successfully developing new milk fat replacer solutions for many dairy-based foods such as cheese alternatives, ice-cream, and filling creams. All of these palm oil alternatives are vegan-friendly, made without trans-fatty acids, and may often contain less saturated fat.
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Curious as to what nutritional benefits palm oil has? Find out more here.