As the number of people embracing a plant-based diet continues to rise, demand for vegetarian and vegan foodstuffs has seen almost daily launches of new plant-based products across the globe. With data also showing that, nowadays, more adults are considering a vegan diet, it looks like the food industry is fully engaging with a sector where consumers are highly focused on healthy plant-based eating.

Innovative solution helps Quorn keep cool

GEA Grasso Conversion Kit
GEA Grasso Conversion Kit (GGCK)

Quorn Foods is renowned for developing a range of meat-free meals that meet growing demand from consumers for alternative, natural ingredients that are kinder to the planet. This innovative market leader needed an innovative solution for a failing refrigeration system at its facility in Yorkshire, UK.

After proposing to the customer a GEA Grasso Conversion Kit (GGCK), GEA was tasked with the job of meeting a strict 10-day deadline set by Quorn Foods during a planned shutdown for not only installing and commissioning the new, larger compressor that would improve performance of supply of refrigeration to the production facilities, also for removing the obsolete equipment.

Interruption-free production

A specialist in supplying high-tech processing, packaging and refrigeration kit for the food industry, GEA completed the task in half the allotted time, enabling Quorn Foods to bring production back online without any interruptions to the schedule of work at the plant or to the start-up plan.

GEA Omni Retrofit Panel
GEA Omni Retrofit Panel

Investing in a GGCK enabled Quorn Foods to benefit from boosting the refrigeration capacity by an extra seven percent. This not only improved the efficiency of the site but also delivered energy savings and a reduced carbon footprint.

GEA also upgraded Quorn Foods’ existing control with a new state-of-the-art GEA Omni Retrofit Panel control, a much more sophisticated control and management system designed to smooth out what had been an erratic operation.  

Meeting targets the icing on the cake

The innovative solutions put forward by GEA have delivered the reliability of refrigeration supply demanded by the customer – the GEA Grasso compressor is meeting Quorn Foods’ target of 98% availability for the production of its vegetarian, vegan and meat-free recipes – alongside a reduction of 29% in electricity usage.

Quorn Foods’ Engineering Site Manager, Neal Simmonds, said GEA was awarded the contract ahead of other refrigeration providers due to its “innovative ideas” and “thinking outside the box approach’’, and didn’t disappoint with its handling of the project, enabling the customer to get back into production earlier than expected.

He commented: “Originally we had requested a like for like replacement for the failing compressor but GEA offered an alternative, cost-effective solution which was delivered ahead of schedule and without downtime to production. It has been a highly successful project, giving Quorn a payback of less than three years.”

GEA’s Business Development Manager Heating & Refrigeration Solutions – UK, Mark Penney, added: “We are thrilled to be part of this project. It’s a real team effort that delivered a successful outcome for Quorn Foods in terms of improved performance and increased lifetime for the plant. The tight deadline could have been a little unnerving but thanks to top-notch teamwork we beat it by a half – really great work!”

GEA Grasso Conversion Kit and GEA Omni Retrofit Pannel installed at Quorn Foods
GEA Grasso Conversion Kit and GEA Omni Retrofit Pannel installed at Quorn Foods

Training and servicing on the menu

As well as providing first-class training for Quorn’s staff, GEA’s team of engineers also carried out service work including PRV calibrations, mechanical safety switch calibrations and the replacement of the motor bearing, coalescent filter and oil separator sight glass.

Following on from the works carried out by GEA, Quorn Foods is developing even more choices for its mouth-watering meat alternative meals, while continually reducing the carbon footprint of its factory in line with the company’s environmental philosophy.