TotalFood Processing’s Khulna factory is state-of-the-art – and unique to Bangladesh. Its design is the culmination of years of research, which included tours of some of the most high-profile prawn processing installations throughout Europe, Vietnam, Thailand and India. The TotalFood team was particularly keen to witness the use of pioneering food processing techniques and sustainable technologies. The resulting plant – opened in 2023 – is both cutting edge and environmentally friendly. Production capacity is 60 tonnes a day, with a further 2,500 tonnes of frozen storage available.
At the factory itself, traditional methods of handling – involving static tables and hosepipes – are yet another recipe for bacterial contamination. So instead the prawns are immediately washed in an enclosed water bubbling bath before being transferred onto conveyor belts for deheading, machine grading and hand peeling. They are then either individually quick frozen (IQF), plate/blast frozen, cooked and then frozen, or prepared as value-added products. The whole process is semi-automated and quick.
TotalFood’s ready-to-eat coating line includes the facility to flour, batter, bread and then par fry foods, before spiral freezing them.
The TotalFood Processing factory only features brand-new, manufacturer-supplied equipment from leading names. Every machine was carefully selected based on an exacting set of performance criteria.
Vietnamese An-Phat preprocessing equipment was chosen for its track record in handling large volumes of raw materials.
An OctoFrost cooking line – the only one of its kind in Bangladesh – uses a three-stage water-based cooking process and rain shower impingement technology to transfer heat faster than conventional steam cooking. The prawns are then quick-cooled in ice water. This immediately stops the cooking process, leading to higher yields and a superior ‘bite’. Apart from being unique to the country, the OctoFrost cooking line is also environmentally friendly as it recycles and reuses much of its own waste water.
The Mayekawa Mycom Thermo Jack Freezer features impinging jets in addition to standard air blast freezing for a straight and continuous tunnel freezing system. This reduces freezing time by a half to a third compared with a conventional freezer, which in turn helps maintain the prawn cell structure and so improve taste.
TotalFood’s added value production lines rely on JBT technology, while its industry-leading Ishida multi-head weighing machines deliver unbeatable speed, accuracy and packing efficiency.
The processing areas are the first in Bangladesh to have 20-foot-high ceilings to meet international food preparation and hygiene standards. They facilitate air handling units and other infrastructure needed to control bacterial load and ensure zero water condensation. Easy-to-clean false ceilings and polyisocyanurate (PIR) panels deliver higher energy savings than more traditional insulated panels and are fire resistant, hygienic and fibre free. Viacrete seamless anti-slip flooring is HACCP certified, steam cleanable, and incorporates antimicrobial additives that inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi and mildew.
The cold storage is another first for Bangladesh. Able to accommodate up to 2,500 tonnes of frozen goods, its 40-foot-high ceilings and extensive racking optimise air circulation around the product, further maintaining quality.
The requirement for a plentiful and clean water supply presents its own set of challenges. TotalFood draws water from its own borehole before treating it in its own plant. This features reverse osmosis and ultraviolet systems to guarantee a safe and reliable water supply, free from all bacteria. Effluent and wastewater from the production process then passes through a second on-site treatment plant before being discharged. Both operations are central to TotalFood’s commitment to protect the local environment, and were designed in close collaboration with the Environmental Science Discipline of Khulna University.
Having a reliable power source is an obvious priority to avoid disruption to production and storage. While plans are in place to install solar panels on the factory’s 70 sq ft roof, it already has a direct supply line from the national grid, neatly sidestepping any potential issues with local power infrastructure.
TotalFood’s speed and efficiency extends to all parts of the production process.
Refrigerated containers are packed in the factory’s own air-sealed docks and customs documentation completed on-site prior to the product being shipped around the globe. The factory itself is located in Rupsha, Khulna, on the outskirts of the city and beside the Khulna-Dhaka Highway. Mongla, the nearest international seaport, is just 30 km away, while TotalFood’s UK operation is situated less than 20km from London’s Tilbury Docks and all major road and rail networks.
Having sophisticated cold storage facilities on opposite sides of the globe – both linked to efficient distribution networks – allows TotalFood to massively reduce delivery lead times. Need it in Europe today? TotalFood’s UK operation can manage that, drawing from its own temperature-controlled warehouses. Client based in the Middle East or East Asia? Again, TotalFood’s Bangladeshi operation will deliver as fast as any local supplier.