PET Food Processing - March 2018 - 32


"We've made it extra hard on
ourselves by having a very
limited ingredient deck so
there are only so many knobs
we can turn to adjust for
ingredient variances."
Aaron Merrell

Creative solutions
are a team effort at
Plato. From left: Aaron
Merrell, Albeena Rivera,
Colter Miller, Hanna
Bemer, Ray Owen and
Ricardo Salazar


goal is to fill the wall with certifications much like a
General earns medals for his uniform. "Certifications
are one way we're working to stay ahead. As a small
company, that third party influence helps keep us on the
right path as we grow and expand our product lines,"
Merrell says.
Plato's process includes multiple checks and balances for not only the ingredients coming in, but also for
the finished products. As part of many quality checks
including a third-party validation prior to packaging,


finished product passes through Eriez magnetic metal
detectors both before and after packaging along with
checkweighers as a final precaution prior to cartoning.
These steps and many others give Plato validation at
critical control points.
Following Plato's process from raw material to sealed
cartons ready to ship, it's clear a lot of thought has gone
into maximizing every step. When Plato switched to a
Multivac vacuum pouch machine to individually package
its meat sticks, Merrell says the equipment paid for itself
in the first nine months by reducing both labor and product giveaway. Another boost to efficiency was an Ishida
combination scale and an MFG pouch packaging system.
Merrell says this focus on improving efficiency during the
past two years has been a targeted effort to shore up the
company's foundation and prepare it for growth.

Entrepreneurial spirit
From the custom-built control system on Plato's dehydrators to new product launches, Merrell works to support and foster an entrepreneurial spirit within Plato. It's
a team effort. Nichole Nonini, Plato's marketing specialist, first introduced Merrell to the concept of bone broth
for animals, and Hanna Bemer, food scientist, created a
proprietary natural preservative, antimicrobial agent

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PET Food Processing - March 2018