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EveryChip is a food production flow which has been standardized to produce a large number of chips out of almost every raw food using the most essential industrial machinery: a cooker, a kneader, a dispenser, a rotary cooking machine with heated plates, an air-heated conveyor belt.
The idea of making a software capable of supervising a complex production flow of chips comes from our everyday work in Food R&D, especially from two insights
ï‚§ Food overproduction is a common and frequent issue and equally common is to see food commodities not assimilated in the market left rotting in warehousesâ€™ corners
ï‚§ Chips (if well stored) have a long shelf life, are an enjoyable snack and a very flexible product â€“ easy to be found in every eating situation: they could be matched to a characteristic beverage, they could be eaten at lunch instead of bread or munched on the sofa while watching a movie.
Since we are very active in Food R&D, we have been charged of the development of a large number of chips and waffles: only in the last few months we have worked on fruit (peach and kiwi) chips, topinambur chips and mushroom chips.
During these development experiences, we noted that even if thereâ€™s a large variability in the production flow, due to the intrinsic characteristics and properties of the raw food used in the production, thereâ€™s a never changing pattern which could be extracted and formalized.
On the other hand, from the scalability study (from the production of prototypes to the industry), we have gained awareness about the great costs of the industrial machinery used in this kind of productions. They are especially burdensome if associated to the high efficiency of those machines and, therefore, to the high demand of raw material. Furthermore, for their yield to be raised, those machines are calibrated ad hoc on the characteristics of a single particular dough. The specificity of the machines and their high costs made the chips-making process inaccessible to the little food production facilities willing to offer a solution capable of processing all the food overproduction of their network.
These facts make the production of chips/waffles a process that, although useful in processing food overproduction, has an overall cost that is too high if bound to a single kind of raw material.
We developed EveryChip to solve this quandary.
In the chip/waffle production flow, EveryChip identifies the relationships between
ï‚§ Physical and chemical characteristics of the raw material
ï‚§ Physical and chemical characteristics of the thickening agent
in order to output the recipe of a dough with pre-fixed viscosity and density.
This way, the parameters of the dispenser, calibrated on doughâ€™s density and viscosity, could remain unchanged even if the raw material and the thickening agent change.
The only two changing parameters are the cooking platesâ€™ temperature and the rotation velocity of the rotary cooking machine, that could be modified for every production cycle.
With its raw foodsâ€™ and natural thickening agentsâ€™ database, EveryChip is able to calculate the proportions between the ingredients and to output a recipe with optimal cooking time and temperature for every dough.
With EveryChip it is possible to design little production facilities which, taking inspiration from the cooperative business model of the oil mills, and for a limited investment, could transform food overproduction in functional snacks for a multiplicity of AgriFood stakeholders.
Furthermore, the considerable shelf life of the chips/waffles produced with EveryChip makes this production flow a key idea for food chains with a high demand of food safety in worldâ€™s places in where food preservation and distribution still is a significant problem.
FOSAN â€“ Fondazione per lo studio degli alimenti e della nutrizione
Francesco Maria Bucarelli (born in Rome, 1966), PhD. Chemist and Food Engineering specialist. He's the technical director of FOSAN and well known expert in food development and food security.
Cristiana Cireddu (born in Rome, 1993). Food security specialist and lead HACCP auditor.
Gianandrea Rizzi (born in Treviglio, BG, 1991). Communication strategist.