Gemak delivers plant-based yogurt during lockdown

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Gemak pot-filling machine. Pic: Gemak
Gemak pot-filling machine. Pic: Gemak

Related tags plant-based Dairy alternatives processing Yoghurt Yogurt

Processing equipment company Gemak has designed, manufactured, installed and commissioned a process and packing plant built specifically for the manufacture of plant-based yogurts and other dairy alternatives.

Working closely with Meadow Foods in the UK over the last two years, Gemak delivered the project on time despite the pandemic. The plant was built to produce The Collective's new range ‘Plant', the UK's first dairy-free, Greek-style yogurt made from a blend of oats, coconut and rice.

Established in 1992, Meadow Foods is the UK's leading supplier of dairy ingredients to the food and drink industry. The new facility comes on the back of a £4m ($5.7m) investment, designed to produce plant-based ingredients in a dedicated, segregated facility. 

In January 2021 The Collective launched its first range of plant-based yogurts.

At the end of 209, Gemak acquired a new 150,000 sq.ft. installation and assembly factory on top of its existing 200,000 sq.ft. manufacturing plant. The Meadow floor plan and Gemak process equipment and pipework installation was drawn in 3D and fully erected and installed within the Gemak assembly plant, a first in the industry, before it was dismantled and shipped to Meadow Foods. This allowed the installation time to be reduced by eight weeks.

Paul Jackson, strategic projects director of Meadow Foods said, "We are excited to manufacture a range of new plant-based products that extend the strength and depth of our product portfolio. Gemak has been a crucial part of the project allowing us to finish the project on time and on budget by coming up with solutions to eliminate the disruption caused to all by the pandemic and lockdowns.”

The plant-based system includes a dry and wet automatic multi recipe blend, process and preparation unit, pasteurization plant, storage and fermentation unit, an IBC filling station, a Filltech  double indexing, linear, layered yogurt pot-filling line capable of filling two different diameters of pots with auto change over. The raw and pasteurized CIP sets were also supplied as part of the turnkey solution.

The plant will be capable of producing plant-based alternatives to yogurt, drinks, cream, sour cream, soft cheese, milk, custard and other products and ingredients.

Gemak blending and pasteurization
Gemak blending and pasteurization. Pic: Gemak

Kursat Uysal, Gemak UK and Filltech, said, "This is the first project where due to disruption caused by the pandemic and lockdowns we had to change and adapt our approach to installation by utilizing our new assembly plant to do a full factory installation including full pipe works with ring mains, electrical installation not just for each skid unit but as a whole process plant within our factory floor prior to numbering, dismantling and re assembling on customer's site. We would like to thank Meadow Foods and The Collective for their fast, flexible approach and their trust in Gemak to deliver the whole process and packaging plant."

Ciaran Adam, product manager, The Collective, said, "After two years of tinkering, building and designing we are very proud to finally reveal the first plant-based Greek-style yogurt in the UK made from a blend of oats, coconut and rice in a fully segregated facility.”

The products are packaged in PET tubs made from 100% recycled plastic and are available across the UK at Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.

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