Gerelli AG Die Rösterei

Nutritious and delicious

Gerelli is one of the most up-to-date roasters of peanuts in Europe. Using Bühler’s new Solano roaster – Gerelli not only increased the productivity of its peanut processing, it scored points with its customers by offering individual roasting profiles. And thanks to Solano, the company now has the option of processing other nut types as well as oilseed in the off-season.

  

Nuts are real powerhouses. Chock-full of vitamins, proteins, minerals, and healthy fats, they are an ideal snack for sports and also mental gymnastics. Vegan, gluten-free, and low-carb, nuts can be integrated into almost any diet. No wonder they are becoming increasingly popular. According to Statista, the portal for market data, a per-capita consumption of 1.1 kilograms worldwide is expected in 2021. And the trend is continuing to grow with sales forecasted to grow by over 3 percent per year by 2025. 

To make this snack safe and tasty, Bühler developed the Solano roaster and pasteurizer. In doing so, the Bühler team was able to draw on its many years of experience in roasting nuts and on its expertise in roasting cocoa beans and coffee. Solano also has some features that are new for this type of nut processing. For example, the ability to create individual roasting profiles. This has long been an established practice in coffee roasting and is an indispensable process. In the nut market, consumers are only now benefiting from this thanks to the Solano roaster. 

We are very happy to have found in Bühler a company that provides a comprehensive solution that meets our requirements.

Raphael Weiss, CEO of Gerelli AG Die Rösterei

“It was clear to us from the start that we would only consider Bühler solutions for our needs,” says Raphael Weiss, the CEO of Gerelli AG Die Rösterei. “We are from Eastern Switzerland and Bühler is well known here and has an excellent reputation.” The leading Swiss peanut roaster believes that standing still is like taking a step backwards and is therefore constantly investing in new technologies. And Weiss has clear ideas about what the overall solution should offer – maximum food safety, best roasting quality, and a high degree of flexibility were non-negotiable requirements. 

 

“We have very high standards in terms of quality. Quality begins in the field, followed by how the nuts are processed and cleaned. We have clear guidelines for each individual step,” says Weiss. Gerelli employees visit the country of origin of the nuts they process, Egypt, once or twice a year, where they train their producers on food safety and quality requirements. “We have been able to steadily raise quality over the years and have also succeeded in introducing organic nuts, which is an achievement.” The company also wanted their overall solution to stem from a single source. “We are very happy to have found in Bühler a company that provides a comprehensive solution that meets our requirements,” the CEO says. 

Raphael Weiss, CEO of Gerelli AG Die Rösterei, plans to process other types of nuts in the future. Raphael Weiss, CEO of Gerelli AG Die Rösterei, plans to process other types of nuts in the future.

Gerelli peanuts – gentle roasting for perfect results.

Gentle processing

“Since we offer peanuts in shells, it is particularly important to us that the shells remain intact,” says Weiss. The integrity of the shells has a direct effect on the company’s margins. Bühler’s Sortex E1C plays an important role in this. With the help of its highly advanced 4-in-1 technology package, it sorts out nuts that have a different color due to bacterial infestation or dryness, which means it is no longer fresh. It also eliminates foreign bodies such as plastic parts or stones. Its integrated PROfile technology detects defects that cannot be identified by color alone, such as peanut stalks and nuts that have grown too small or too large. The sorting process guarantees maximum quality and food safety in every nut-processing facility. The heart of nut processing is the roaster. It refines the product and creates the typical nutty taste. “We put a lot of focus on gentle heating to ensure that the nuts are not stressed and that the nutritional value, product quality, and aroma are preserved,” says Weiss.

Gerelli and Bühler worked meticulously, testing and retesting until they had developed a solution that would not negatively affect the product during the mechanical action of the roasting process. “We have been successful in giving the nuts an excellent flavor and a nice appearance,” says Weiss, visibly proud. An additional benefit: Thanks to the gentle processing with the patented roasting process, the microstructure of the nuts and seeds is largely preserved, thus ensuring an unsurpassed shelf life. The oxidation rate of the nuts decreases by a factor of 2.5 in comparison to conventional roasting processes. Weiss greatly appreciates the fact that his company can now create individual roasting profiles. This gives Gerelli’s customers the opportunity to offer their end consumers a product that is perfectly tailored to their wishes in terms of aroma. “This represents a major added value for our customers and therefore also for us,” says Weiss. “Our initial experience has been very positive. Now it’s up to us to become better acquainted with the technology and what it offers so that we get the most out of it.”

Since we offer peanuts in shells, it is particularly important to us that the shells remain intact.

Raphael Weiss, CEO of Gerelli AG Die Rösterei

   

    

Gerelli AG Die Rösterei is the largest peanut roaster in Switzerland. It roasts over 1,500 tons of peanuts in their shells and supplies them to over 100 wholesalers and bulk purchasers at home and abroad. Founded in 2003, the company has been owned by the Weiss family since 2016. Gerelli constantly invests in its infrastructure to ensure the freshness and quality of its product. In 2020 it commissioned its new, fully automated nut processing facility.

    

A multitasking solution

The Solano offers flexibility when it comes to roasting and pasteurizing. “In addition to roasting, we can also use the Solano for pasteurizing depending on the customer’s requirements,” Weiss explains. “Among other things, we will be able to eliminate Salmonella infections by pasteurizing.” If a company wants to offer nuts in raw food quality, this is also possible with the Solano. In this case, it is only pasteurized. The patented pasteurization technology achieves an over 5-log inactivation of pathogenic microorganisms such as Salmonella. This is the gold standard in the food industry, which guarantees the highest possible level of food safety. In specific terms, this means that up to 99.999 percent of bacteria and germs are killed. This is made possible by the introduction of steam in several places in the processing chamber at the same time, which achieves uniform and gentle pasteurization. “Recirculation of the process air makes the pasteurization and roasting process energy efficient and sustainable,” says Patrick Strähl, Senior Process Engineer at Bühler, who co-developed Solano. The batch system with lot sizes of 300 to 600 kilograms and the intelligent automation with recipe management allows a rapid product changeover. The Solano roaster meets the criteria of hygienic design and is easily accessible for cleaning.

PATRICK STRÄHL, SENIOR PROCESS ENGINEER AT BÜHLER Patrick Strähl, Senior Process Engineer at Bühler.
Recirculation of the process air makes the pasteurization and roasting process energy efficient and sustainable.

Patrick Strähl, Senior Process Engineer at Bühler

Other types of nuts and oilseed

The demand for peanuts in shells varies greatly by season. In Switzerland, they are sold in large quantities from October to January as they are typical gifts from “Samichlaus” – the Swiss version of Saint Nicholas. The Samichlaus visits all the children on December 6th and brings them peanuts in shells, mandarins, and chocolate. Sales are rather low outside this peak season in Switzerland, so Gerelli’s primary production is focused on September to January to ensure that only fresh nuts are delivered to shops.

This means that for for a large part of the year, the production plant is on a low flame. “Thanks to the Solano roaster we can now process other types of nuts and even oilseed in the off-season,” says Weiss. “This is, of course, a huge added value for us. We plan to include oilseed and other nuts in our product portfolio.” 

High-end and fully automatic

When you enter the state-of-the-art Gerelli plant, you will notice that there are almost no employees to be seen. “Our plant is fully automated. We operate the plant only with one person,” says Weiss. “The high degree of automation allows a high throughput of the best quality. We save costs since only a few manual interventions are required.” The only place where we find some employees is in the quality control department. Gerelli has two employees for quality control. “We check the quality of the product constantly by hand to ensure that it is consistently flawless and safe,” says Weiss.

Solano is a multitasking solution. It can roast, pasteurize, and process various types of nuts and oilseeds.

Crunchy and fresh

Highest food safety, top roasting quality, and maximum flexibility – these are Gerelli's requirements. Highest food safety, top roasting quality, and maximum flexibility – these are Gerelli's requirements.

Gerelli is committed to supplying the freshest and crunchiest nuts in Switzerland to its customers. It is important that the raw unroasted peanuts do not rattle in the shell. If this is the case, it is an indication that the nut is dried out. Light-colored flesh is also an important feature of its freshness. The yellower the inside of the nut, the older it is. Gerelli is particularly proud of the light color of its peanut shells.

The secret lies in the peanut plant. It adapts the color of its fruits to the environment. The Gerelli nuts are cultivated in the Sahara Desert where the sand is very light in color. These interesting details make you wonder where the nuts and seeds that Gerelli will offer in the future might come from and what special properties they will have. Whatever they may be, Bühler will be there to support Gerelli along its journey.

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