Field Report: Packing a punch

Habanero-flavored peanuts stay fresher longer with liquid nitrogen flushing system.

Among other factors, Southwest Specialty Food considered the footprint of various liquid nitrogen systems. The VBS LCI-300 occupies just two square feet of floorspace. Source: VBS Industries.
Some like it hot, "Ass Kickin" hot to be exact. Southwest Specialty Food, Inc. is not only the world's largest habanero specialty food manufacturer but also grows the world's hottest commercially grown habanero peppers. The company markets the peppers as part of its Ass Kickin line of products, which includes its habanero pepper-flavored peanuts. A co-packer packaged the peanuts until April 2003, when Southwest Specialty Food brought the line in-house to reduce costs and support a product line expansion.

But if you think a bite of the world's hottest habanero pepper is the only thing that can bring a tear to your eye, think again. Bringing the line in-house brought its own challenges. "The biggest roadblock we faced in bringing the peanut line in-house was nitrogen flushing," says Jeff Jacobs, president of Southwest Specialty Food. "Historically, this operation involved a huge nitrogen gas tunnel." The company needed to find a nitrogen flushing system that occupied a smaller footprint and reduced the oxygen headspace of the package, which would help maintain product freshness and extend shelf life. Southwest Specialty chose VBS Industries and its LCI-300 Auto Fill, a small automated liquid nitrogen (LN2) injection system.

Following the filler, the VBS system meters a small dose of liquid nitrogen into each container. As the nitrogen warms from -320

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2015

Images from Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 12-15, 2015. The event brought food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering May 2015 Cover

2015 May

The May 2015 issue of Food Engineering explores effective tools for hitting manufacturing targets. Also, read how processors are looking for faster ways to detect harmful pathogens in food and beverages without sacrificing accuracy or reliability.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.