Processing the Future at LiDestri
- By Lindsay Rinefierd
Giovanni LiDestri once said: “In order to innovate by definition you need to be able to move forward and move quickly to recognize opportunity.”
Imagining what’s possible, applying careful planning and then moving rapidly to bring ideas to reality—that’s the swift pace of ongoing innovation at LiDestri.
Here’s an example: Just a few years ago we saw the upward trending market for healthy and natural food and beverages, and knew current and future clients would need fresh, innovative ways to produce and package their products.
LiDestri Turns Up the Processing Pressure
As fast as we saw the opportunity, we found our answer in HPP or High Pressure Processing. In early 2016 we installed a Hiperbaric 525 HPP service station at our Lee Road facility in Rochester, NY. This extraordinary machine, an innovation marvel on its own, effectively kills microbes without the application of heat. Instead it applies up to 87,000 pounds of water pressure on sealed products. The result is a product that can have a much cleaner label and still achieve the same shelf life or even greater as those using preservatives.
HPP is ideal for a wide range of food products, including juices, deli meats, salads, seafood, hummus, guacamole and cold soups – and that’s just the beginning. We recently partnered with Wegmans, a longtime LiDestri customer, to fund a HPP pilot plant at Cornell University to learn even more about high pressure processing, including other products that can benefit from its innovative technology.
Providing customers with HPP was a huge step forward, but not enough for us. Even as we implemented HPP, we imagined the benefits of an HPP line with a fresh processing cold fill line alongside it, that became a reality in the spring of 2017.
Today, LiDestri is one of the few co-packers that can both produce a product, and then immediately move it through the Hiperbaric 525 for high pressure processing. It’s one stop processing that offers efficiency, convenience, and transportation savings. And all in, took a little more than one year to make it happen.
Home Sweet Innovative Home
To keep innovation hurtling forward…we utilize a playground for creative thinking called the LiDestri Innovation Center. It’s a place with the tools, technology, and talent to develop new formulations, create innovative products and test ways to improve processes and delivery times. It’s all in an effort to save our co-packing customers time and money and to improve speed to market.
It’s in the Innovation Center where you’ll see active brainstorms with LiDestri employees and on many occasions with customers. There is a very productive vibe to the place that makes it the perfect spot for out of the box thinking.
From the Benchtop
However, all ideas need to be tested to see if they’ll fly in the real world. For that, the Innovation Center includes a Pilot Room with the equipment necessary to mimic the processing and packaging conditions products face in full-scale production—but on a much smaller scale so we can make adjustments quickly and cost-efficiently to fine-tune innovations for the marketplace.
It’s the perfect combination…out of the box thinking combined with real-world, practical testing. That’s how we stay true to Giovanni’s principle…move forward and move quickly to recognize opportunities!
About the authorLindsay Rinefierd
Product Manager, Fresh Processing & HPP
Lindsay Rinefierd manages fresh processing and HPP products including their customers.