Choosing environmentally friendly food is a practice that has only recently become popular. When considering how much water goes into production, fossil fuels are used for transportation, and chemicals administered for growth, choosing the right food is an incredibly important decision. Production of a food like ketchup is also somewhere deserving inspection, as practices can be both incredibly dependent on energy and susceptible to waste.
Hunt’s ketchup was one of the first major companies to switch from mechanical mixing to static mixing for their product and not only did it produce a better tasting ketchup, it also made the process significantly more eco-friendly.
Hunt’s initial test took place in their southern California plant where a single 4-inch diameter Komax static mixer out produced 15 5000lb-stirring tanks. This had significant effects on decreasing everything from the required floor space to the energy input of mixing the ketchup. In fact, energy savings was over %95 that of the previous mechanical mixing system. The static mixer provided continual mixing as opposed to the previous batch process and also drastically decreased maintenance. Where mechanical mixers are highly susceptible to wear, static mixers need almost no upkeep.
Another interesting savings from this implementation was the evaporation of spice while mixing. Where previously open-top mechanical mixers would allow inputs to evaporate, the totally enclosed static mixer saved over $50,000 a year in spice evaporation. All of these savings are both economic and environmental as less inputs means a greener product.
Static mixing is truly a place where precision and efficiency prevail over the brute force of mechanical mixers. These Komax static mixers allowed Hunt Wesson to reach a more perfect blend of tomatoes and spice, thus providing consumers with a better tasting product. It also drastically decreased the environmental and economic cost of producing ketchup, two places where producers and consumers can share in the wealth.