Donkey Brands, Carol Stream, IL, manufacturers of Donkey Chips, has seen strong demand for its line of tortilla chips. As a result, the company sought to find just the right equipment to significantly increase production. The company turned to FOODesign, a tna company, for the job. In order to dig deeper into this move, we reached out to Tim Reardon, group solutions manager, processing for the Americas, FOODesign, a tna company, Wilsonville, OR, to get the inside scoop on what this project entailed.


Douglas J. Peckenpaugh:How did you become involved with Donkey Brands?

Tim Reardon:FOODesign’s commitment to product excellence and innovation is industry-renowned,and so is its solid reputation in tortilla chip fryers. They appreciated FOODesign’s willingness to do things in new ways and were curious about how we could support their need in monitoring the success of their existing production line and recommend improvements and updates, creating new and exciting opportunities for their businesses. For this reason, Donkey Brands, reached out to us about 2 years ago, and we have developed a close relationship since then.


DJP:What were the goals that Donkey Brands put forth in terms of production?

TR:Donkey Brands was experiencing increased demand and was, therefore, looking to optimize its production to help boost growth.


DJP:How did tna meet those goals?

TR:Tna added needed capacity with an efficient automated system by installing high-performance, flexible and simple solutions: the FOODesign immerso-cook16. For example, one of the main objectives was that the new system had to complement Donkey’s Brands’ pre-existing FOODesign cutting, conveying and quik-coat seasoning systems. Donkey Brands now benefits from a more-efficient line, while also maintaining its longstanding levels of high product quality.


DJP:How did tna and Donkey Brands work together to ensure that product quality remained consistent as a result of the transition from the old production methods to the new system?

TR:The innovative design of the FOODesign immerso-cook16is a quality promise itself. Fully customizable and featuring a cutting-edge belt feeding system, the solution minimizes the risk of product breakage while optimizing throughput speeds. By continuously discharging debris to remove all waste from the fryer, product quality is not compromised by the waste typically associated with delicate snack applications. Thanks to its innovative continuous oil filtration process, FOODesign’s immerso-cook16 maintains the clean oil critical in delivering a high-quality end product. Particulate removal and fresh oil infeed prevents oil overheating and removes the potential for harmful free fatty acids and polymers to form and compromise finished product taste. By using its serpentine tube design, the system footprint is reduced, increasing heat transfer to optimize the cooking process and deliver high-quality, uniform products at rapid throughput rates.

Aside from processing, consistent flavor coverage also ensured a high-quality end product. As a manufacturer of tortilla chips, it was fundamental that the new seasoning system would be able to handle coating irregular shaped products consistently and with ease. FOODesign’s quick coat system effectively seasons uneven surfaces and gently tumbles the product, evenly dispersing the right amount of seasoning. This ensures that all Donkey Brand tortilla chips have a consistent appearance and taste.


DJP:Will the system tna installed permit increased production of in the event that Donkey Chips see additional supply demands, or would tna simply add another system or line?

TR:At tna, we aim to provide our customers with the latest cutting-edge innovations, but always with flexibility and customization in mind. By understanding Donkey Brands’ current and future requirements, we have tailored our solutions accordingly, offering them the support they need far beyond installation.