Commercial and industrial bakeries appreciate the vacuum cooling systems developed and built by Aston Foods. The technology itself is not new. It was patented already in 1935, but the areas of application were lacking. Then in 2008 the idea was explored in depth, and in 2012 financial backing kicked everything into high gear. Since then, large-scale bakeries have counted on Aston Foods to upgrade their baking processes.
The company’s vacuum cooling systems optimize individual steps throughout the baking process for overall improvements.
“By optimizing the baking and cooling times we reduce the entire process time by up to 40%,” explains Alexander Rutz, head of sales and marketing. “Additional processing, such as icing or packaging, can be done sooner, and productivity increases accordingly.” Because about 90% of a bakery’s energy consumption occurs during baking, a shorter process means lower energy consumption, and that results in reduced energy costs. The systems usually pay for themselves within two years.
“We strive to optimize the baking process and end up improving the products, as well.”Alexander Rutz, head of sales and marketing
Due to changes in the baking process, customers often have to tweak their recipes, for instance by increasing or decreasing the amount of yeast used, to find the perfect fit for their new system. This minor inconvenience is well worth the trouble, however. The systems from Aston Foods take up less space than conventional systems and provide more consistent quality of the goods thanks to climate control.
The reduced cooling time means there is less time for the products to be exposed to microorganisms, and that automatically improves its shelf life. The baked goods are crispier and remain crispy for longer than their conventionally produced counterparts. They also retain more volume after baking. “We strive to optimize the baking process,” Mr. Rutz highlights. “In doing so, we end up improving the products, as well.”
Aston Foods has its own baking center with three bakers to prove that its claims are not just hot air. “We built the center mainly for our customers,” Mr. Rutz says. “They can come and see the systems in action. We also cater to their baking needs. If a bakery wants to produce pretzels on our machines, for example, we demonstrate the baking process with pretzels. They get a real picture of how the system will work for them.”
“Our systems cool down baked goods in a matter of minutes.”Alexander Rutz, head of sales and marketing
The baking center serves a second function: It can be used for internal testing. This is where Aston Foods collects its data regarding volume, shelf life and other key aspects.
The company also attends fairs such as the Südback in Stuttgart and the iba in Munich. “We always encourage people to see our live demonstrations,” Mr. Rutz notes. “The pictures just don’t do our systems justice. It’s a surprise to see how our systems cool down baked goods in a matter of minutes.”
Vacuum cooling is a good alternative to conventional cooling processes in the baking industry, and Aston Foods aims to represent that position. “We want to create a standard process that all bakers will consider when it comes to cooling,” the head of sales and marketing says. “Our systems outperform old methods with a long list of benefits.” As a supplier focused entirely on vacuum cooling systems, the company intends to grow while maintaining its top ranking in the market.
Aston Foods AG
6300 Zug Switzerland
Phone: +41 58 6660600
Fax: +41 58 6660601
Just enter your email address and start receiving the International Trade Newsletter, free of charge, to your email inbox.