INGREDIENTS 26 FOOD & BEVERAGE ASIA AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018 B aking powder, energy drinks and instant noodles are some examples of foods which do not seem to fall under the same category, but all have one ingredient in common: sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). Taking the form of a white fine powder, the chemical-based salt has a wide varietyofusesinfoodandbeverageapplications, such as functioning as a leavening agent in baking or a pH bu ̫ er in beverages. Demand for food-grade sodium bicarbonate has been on the rise, especially inAsia, with rapidpopulation growth as well as stricter regulations being implemented that require higher standards of safety to be met. To tap on this opportunity, European leading producer of soda ash and sodiumbicarbonate, Novacarb accelerated its international development with the construction of a new stand-alone production unit in Singapore last year, Novabay. Located in the heart of Jurong Island, home to the country’s energy and chemicals industry, Novabay has been producing high-quality sodium bicarbonate to meet demand in Asia across market segments, including food, feed, healthcare, personal care. Read on to ̬nd out what Food and Beverage Asia learnt about Novabay after touring the plant, followed by a short sit-down interview with Mr. Franck Caucoye, General Manager at Novabay. Upholding High Quality, Safety Standards The facility currently produces around 70,000 metric ton of sodium bicarbonate on a yearly basis, with the ability to rapidly expand its production capacity to 120,000 metric tons if required. Here, the ingredient is produced by mixing sodium carbonate, also known as soda ash, with carbon dioxide. While the chemical reaction may seem straightforward, many steps and precautions have to be taken to ensure the highest quality and safety standards are kept. Starting from the raw materials used, purity is guaranteed as the soda ash feedstock for the plant is synthetically manufactured and supplied by Novacarb, a subsidiary of the Novacap group. Compared to natural soda ash that has been extracted from the ground, synthetically produced soda ash is purer, containing no heavy metals or impurities. Also required in sodium bicarbonate production are water and carbon dioxide, which are treated before usage to ensure food safety. Novabay’s production processes are fully automated, running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This minimises risk of contamination, thereby guaranteeing high quality and consistency. In-process controls (IPC) are in place to closely monitor the intermediate products during processes to ensure they are of high quality. It is critical that parameters such as temperature and pressure are controlled for the successful completion of the chemical conversion process. Novabay also operates an in-house Bringing Sodium Bicarbonate Production to the Next Level Novabay brought Food and Beverage Asia on a tour around its manufacturing facility to better understand what the sodium bicarbonate producer is doing behind the scenes to ensure high quality and safety standards. Written by Amanda Soo The process technician patrols the process perimeter regularly to ensure everything is working without any abnormalities. The packaging technician packs sodium bicarbonate in a cleanroom to prevent product contamination.