High Throughput Coating Process for Small Delicate Parts
A global consumer products company wanted a method or technology to uniformly apply a thin protective coating to non-round candy pieces, and was open to approaches for new processes, coatings, or a combination of both.
Client: Global Consumer Products Company
Project Title: High Throughput Coating Process for Small Delicate Parts
Chocolate candy can scuff and look unattractive when the pieces rub against one another. Above 29 degrees Celsius chocolate begins to melt, and if uncoated, the pieces tend to adhere to each other. Coatings can be applied using traditional tumbling and flat pan methods, but unusual shapes pose challenges because the pieces can agglomerate, and coatings can build up too thickly and unevenly. A Global Consumer Products Company wanted a method or technology to uniformly apply a thin protective coating to non-round candy pieces, and was open to approaches for new processes, coatings, or a combination of both.
NineSigma and the Client collaborated to define the technical and business needs, and NineSigma targeted its global innovation community for potential solution providers across industries. Proposals were received from innovators with experience in mechanical engineering, equipment design, advanced materials, food, robotics, spraying and printing.
The Client identified a group of high priority solution providers with applicable technology, and through NineSigma, interviewed the group before making a decision about the best solution. Through their partnership with NineSigma, the Client was able to identify the best method to move forward in the development of their commercialized product. The Client was able to develop successfully non-round chocolate candies that could be packaged together without scuffing or melting together. This product is currently in the market.
Nanoparticle Halide Salt: Formulation and Delivery
In order to meet customer needs, PepsiCo was looking for ways to reduce sodium in their Frito-Lay brand of chips without losing their salty flavor. PepsiCo was seeking new formulation technologies for creating nano and micron-sized particles, suspending for transportation, and application and drying techniques for halide salts.
Project Title: Nanoparticle Halide Salt: Formulation and Delivery
With the increased focus on health and nutrition, consumers are demanding better ingredients in their food products without the sacrifice of taste and satisfaction. In order to meet customer needs, PepsiCo was looking for ways to reduce sodium in their Frito-Lay brand of chips without losing their salty flavor. PepsiCo was seeking new formulation technologies for creating nano and micro-sized particles, suspending for transportation, and application and drying techniques for halide salts.
Among the responses received were two US companies and one European university. Through NineSigma's RFP process, PepsiCo was able to identify a new approach for continuous production of halid nanoparticles, with a spin-out commercial partner that could dip/coat surfaces.
PepsiCo and the solution provider signed a multi-year research and development agreement. They were able to create a "crystal salt" by reducing the surface area of salt, which reduces sodium levels while still retaining a salty punch. The integration of the new salt formulation into Pepsi's snack food products has been developed and is available in the market.
"There are a lot of productive connections out there waiting to happen. What turned out to be a great connection for PepsiCo could have never been predicted." -Carlos J. Barroso, R&D Executive, PepsiCo (former)
Doneness Indicator for Sausages
A global sausage manufacturer sought a method, visual or otherwise, that would indicate to a consumer the doneness of their grilled fresh pork sausage product. Such an indicator would provide consistent grilled quality of the sausage and prevent under-cooking, over-cooking, or burned sausages.
Client: Global Sausage Manufacturer
Project Title: Doneness Indicator for Sausages
Sausage is a popular menu item for picnics, parties, and meals at sporting events. Consumers often grill sausages but have difficulty knowing when they have cooked the sausage optimally. A Global Sausage Manufacturer sought a method, visual or otherwise, that would indicate to a consumer the doneness of their grilled fresh pork sausage product. Such an indicator would provide consistent grilled quality of the sausage and prevent under-cooking, over-cooking, or burned sausages.
NineSigma collaborated with the Client to define the capabilities that addressed the Client's request and maintained certain criteria. Formal responses were submitted from variously-sized companies within the technical marketplace, as well as reputable research groups from academia and others. Some respondents offered multiple solutions.
The Client evaluated responses to see if they fit the most important criteria of low production cost and application to the general population. Client engaged one respondent to conduct proof of concept and to work to develop a commercially viable indicator.
New Re-sealable Package Closure System
Kraft Foods Global, Inc. wanted to find a novel reclose system for food packaging that would maintain freshness and reduce product contamination, while still remaining cost effective and easy-to-use.
Client: Kraft Foods Global, Inc.
Project Title: New Re-sealable Package Closure System
Kraft Foods Global, Inc. produces a variety of food products purchased by consumers that are eaten over an extended period of time, and thus require packaging that allows for the product to be sealed and resealed. Packaging for dry snack products should maintain the freshness and quality in the home for a storage period after the initial opening. Current seal and reseal features exist for this type of packaging that would maintain freshness and reduce product contamination, while still remaining cost effective and easy-to-use.
NineSigma identified a number of responses, one of which was a proposal to explore ways that "nature" enables open and closing, such as exhibited by heart valves, as inspiration for identifying biomimetic closure mechanisms that could be applied to food packaging.
Kraft Foods created a two-stage program: first, they engaged the biomimetic experts to identify viable techniques from nature, and second, these results were used in a university "competition" to design packages from these insights. The program resulted in new package innovation that was patented by Kraft, and illustrates a creative way to combine different approaches to achieve a successful goal.
Development of Pourable Frozen Pasta and Sauce Products
A Multi-Billion Dollar Company sought proposals for the development of a new, frozen pasta and sauce product that could easily be poured or scooped which would enable consumers to prepare the exact portion desired.
Client: Multi-Billion Dollar Company
Project Title: Development of Pourable Frozen Pasta and Sauce Products
Currently, pasta and sauce products are sold as both a shelf-stable kit with a powder sauce or as a frozen block product. Shelf-stable kits require longer preparation time in order to cook pasta before adding additional ingredients. The frozen product combats this lengthy preparation time, but is limited because it requires cooking the entire portion when a smaller amount may be desired. A Multi-Billion Dollar Company sought proposals for the development of a new, frozen pasta and sauce product that could easily be poured or scooped which would enable consumers to prepare the exact portion desired.
A key element to NineSigma's approach was focusing on the enabling technology, while "hiding" the product and application of interest. A number of responses were received, including an organization that had been developing frozen pourable beverages that was a close fit to the intended application.
NineSigma's Client engaged the solution provider in a very small development contract, and was able to utilize the knowledge learned to adapt the production technology with an existing supplier and launch the product within 18 months.