Have you tried thermally processed laing or thermally processed tuna congee? Or have you heard about vacuum fried mangoor freeze dried durian?
Yes, you heard it right. These new and unique food products can now be manufactured locally using sophisticated but locally fabricated machineries and equipment that Filipino scientists and engineers designed and developed right here in our own backyard.
These powerful food processing machines in shiny stainless steel frames and moulds were developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to equip the newly operated Davao Food Processing Innovation Center (FPIC) its distinct advantage over other food manufacturers.
The Davao FPIC serves as a research and development center to assist micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Davao and the entire region raise their productivity through mechanization.
The FPIC is housed inside the Davao campus of the Philippine Women’s College in Matina, Davao City. The facility serves as a virtual food processing laboratory for MSMEs to cultivate their innovative capacities to level up in their search for their niche in the highly competitive food industry. The FPIC will primarily caterto the agricultural and fishery sector.
“I am very pleased and happy that this food processing innovation center is now operational because we can now help our small and medium entrepreneurs in the provinces improve their products and with the R&D activity in the center we can also assist them in coming up with unique food products,” said DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara during her recent visit to the center.
The modern facility offers many services to MSMEs like product development, equipment rental, technical consultancy and technology training and it is open five days a week. Special accommodations can also be done on Saturdays and Sundays including holidays if the need arises to fully support the MSMEs.
The machineries used in the facility include the following: vacuum fryer, spray dryer, vacuum sealer, freeze dryer, band sealer and water retort. All of these equipment are fabricated locally by Filipino scientists and engineers trained by the DOST and the partner institutions.
The vacuum fryer reduces fat absorption by as much as 42% by using low temperature resulting in high quality fried fruit and vegetable products. The spray dryer, on the other hand, transforms agricultural products like carrots and calamansi into powder form as the machine’s atomizer breaks liquid sample into small particles that are dried upon contact with hot air.
Another equipment, the freeze dryer removes moisture while maintain cellular integrity thereby preserving highly perishable produce for a longer time. The water retort is also auseful equipment as it sterilizes food packaged in hermetically sealed containers like those in retortpouch, cans, bottles, jars. Samples of products that use this include dried tuyo(dried herring), laing(native Bicolano dish of taro leaves cooked in coconut milk)and sardines.
Lastly, the vacuum sealer is used for any type of plastic packaging that results in optimum seal and quality performance due accurate and consistent sealing temperature.
“With the full operation of the FPIC, the DOST takes the extra mile by providing both technical and financial support to our MSMEs in the region and in the process we are able to empower them to come up with different food products that pass international standards that are highly in demand locally and abroad,” stated DOST Region 11 Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales.
To further encourage MSMEs to use the FPIC, the center rents out the equipment at minimal fees for start-up entrepreneurs that are into the food processing business. Initially, the fees for the use of the equipment for research and development and product testing are pegged at minimal levels to encourage more MSMEs to create food products that have good market potential. (JCA)