Little things, big impacts: Why CIP/COP will become a competitive battleground for organic production operations


As increasing consumer demand makes organic an increasingly mainstream business strategy, organic production is on the rise: More plants are expanding to include both organic and non-organic production under the same roof. More companies are building dedicated organic production facilities. And food and beverage companies are making big investments to drive innovation in the organic space—from enhancing the organic supply chain, to accelerating organic product development, to building out organic processing capabilities.

All this acceleration is exposing a small-but-critical limiter in the typical organic production operation: clean-in-place (CIP)/clean-out-of-place (COP) programs and processes that are slower, more complicated, more costly and less automated than modern CIP/COP for non-organic production.

Organic CIP/COP sanitizing traditionally limited by approved chemistry

The root of the problem is chemistry. While innovation in non-organic cleaning and sanitizing (C&S) chemistry has driven big leaps in CIP/COP quality, speed and efficiency, organic operations have been limited by a small range of organic compliant products, and, in many cases, that has meant a lower standard of CIP/COP performance. For example, many organic productions are: stuck rinsing after every sanitizing step and stuck switching between different sanitizers for organic and non-organic batches. 

Innovation brings organic compliant sanitizers up to speed

One of the most exciting—and overlooked—recent breakthroughs in the organic production space is the emergence of a new breed of organic-compliant chemistries that deliver the kind of features previously reserved only for non-organic-compliant sanitizers. Things like concentrated chemistry that allow plants to help reduce chemistry usage compared to standard use concentration; low-pH formulation for better mineral solvency to help cut down on acid washes; the ability to kill biofilms in sanitizing applications without the time- and resource-intensive rinsing step; and conductive chemistry that’s compatible with digital, automated monitoring and control systems.

Creating competitive advantage around modernized CIP/COP

Already, many forward-thinking organic production operations are building serious competitive advantage by modernizing their C&S programs with this kind of innovative chemistry. 

  • Accelerating cleaning Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to help reduce downtime and potentially increase production by eliminating rinsing and cutting acid washing frequency. 

  • Helping to maximize operational agility by harmonizing cleaning chemistry and SOPs across the facility, so they’re ready to make quick changeovers and ramp up new products, whether organic or non-organic. 

  • Digitizing and automating CIP/COP—bringing them up to speed with the rest of their tech-driven operations—so they can simplify food safety, quality and compliance and use analytics to find new ways to drive performance.

Overcoming inertia: Organic operations can’t afford to wait

Still, the biggest hurdle for the industry is inertia. The truth is CIP/COP is typically viewed as a small part of operations, making it easy for organic production operations to accept (or continue overlooking) the status quo. 

But there’s no force for innovation and change quite like market demand. The battle to capture growing organic demand is heating up, and F&B companies know they can’t afford to be conservative in pursuing opportunities. As they aggressively invest in their organic business, the winners won’t overlook the small details that can add up to significant advantages in performance and efficiency.

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About the Author

Jervie David Montejar
A food lover who wants to try every delicious dishes around him and spread the news to everyone to try it as well. Finding the latest trends about food and restaurants around Cebu and the rest of the world :) "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." -Ernestine Ulmer
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