Traditional in-line continuous food processing ovens are large and expensive, which may prevent smaller food producers from taking advantage of in-line cooking. We plan to use our considerable expertise in this field to offer a range of small and efficient machines.
Many small food manufacturers use 'batch' ovens (usually walk-in ovens with removable racks) but our view is that the inefficiencies of batch processing present a barrier to growth. Batch ovens must be loaded, heated, cooled and unloaded for each cook cycle which is both labour and energy intensive and can result in poor utilisation of the oven and factory space. Batch ovens may also give inconsistent results due to temperature and airflow variation throughout the cycle in different parts of the oven.
A spiral oven has a continuous conveyor belt that travels through it in a helical path providing a continuous cooking process, the conveyor belt speed determines the cook (residence) time and the oven holds a constant temperature throughout the production shift eliminating the heat/cool cycles resulting in enormous energy savings. The spiral oven also requires less floor space than other ovens of comparable capacity and has allowed companies to increase production without expanding their premises.
Finally, since all the product moves through the oven on the same path every item is exposed to the same thermal profile eliminating variation and giving the manufacturer better control over the quality of their products.
Large spiral ovens may be too expensive or unsuitable for smaller food manufacturers, a range of high-quality small spiral ovens may allow such companies to benefit from continuous processing at an earlier stage in their growth, helping them improve quality & efficiency while reducing operational costs.
Substantial accomplishments to date
The lead entrepreneur has extensive experience designing machinery and has spent the past 7 years with a major food equipment manufacturer ultimately becoming their Group Engineering Director.
Two new small ovens have been designed and are ready for prototype manufacture. These machines have built on the experience gained from earlier designs and we believe they are superior in performance, efficiency, and quality to anything currently available.
We think the lead entrepreneur has the experience and contacts to arrange production of the prototypes, continue to develop the range & begin marketing.
The machines offered by the company would have a value of £75k-200k (depending on size and specification) with production costs expected to be around 30% of sale price. Machines would be built to order and a 35% deposit paid by customers would fund the manufacture of their orders.
Design, assembly & testing would be conducted in-house.
Fabrication of major components & sub-assemblies would be sub-contracted. As the business grows additional functions may be brought in-house to further improve profitability. The equipment is designed to meet regulatory requirements applied througout the developed world.
Distributors would be sought to sell and service the equipment in many regions, whilst in other areas direct sales & service would be appropriate. Distributors would be paid a commission on sales & would arrange their own service contracts.
A prototype machine would be produced and made available to customers for short trials when not being exhibited at trade shows. In our experience, trials are typically chargeable with a portion of those charges being offered as a discount against a subsequent order.
Any patents issued to any employee which are related to the company's products would be permanently assigned to the company.
Use of proceeds
The proceeds would be used to build and market a prototype machine. The remainder of the investment capital would cover equipment and operational costs.
Food manufacturers of all sizes, from the small specialist start-up needing an efficient and flexible machine to handle all their range, to the large enterprise wanting to develop and trial new products without disrupting their large production equipment but using a process that can be scaled-up.
As convenience foods and pre-cooked foods continue to grow market share more companies are offering cooked products, whether sausages, bakery goods, ready-meals, burgers, baked potatoes, chicken pieces, enchiladas, pizza, pies or even bacon, our spiral ovens are ideally suited.
The machines are electric, planned to be easy to install and maintain, and designed to be transported in standard cargo containers to anywhere in the world.
Characteristics of target market
Many hundreds of small food manufacturers exist who would benefit from the availability of smaller continuous production machinery.
The small continuous oven market is relatively new it is difficult to quantify accurately.
Every region has food machinery distributors with sales staff visiting potential customers regularly, recruitment of distributors will be a priority and with very few small spiral oven manufacturers in the market, we hope distributors would be keen to add our range to their portfolio.
Additionally we plan to exhibit at trade shows, use existing industry contacts and develop our web presence to maximise exposure.
A huge amount of effort has already been invested in the design of our machines to maximise performance, flexibility and quality while carefully eliminating unnecessary costs. Our products were designed by an individual who we believe is an expert in the field. Our products have benefited from the experience he gained developing previous units.
Our machines are planned to cost less to produce than our competition, with a reduced component count and labour content, whilst performance, throughput and efficiency would be improved.
With competitive pricing, improved performance and high quality we believe we would have a lead over our competitors in three important areas.