It all started with Rollton instant noodles – it was launched by Mareven in 1999 in Serpukhov. Two years later, the company built another plant in Serpukhov district, expanding production with seasonings, broths and mashed potatoes, and in 2004 another brand appeared – Big Bon instant noodles.
Six years ago, the third plant opened in the Serpukhov district of the Moscow region, where The Village editors visited.
How new tastes come up
According to employees, every year the company produces from five to ten new tastes. Last year, for example, instant noodles appeared with sausages and sauces “Cheese” and “Tomato with herbs”, as well as noodles with pickled vegetables.
Although the top seller is always chicken and beef. Engaged in the development of new tastes as the department of development in production, and the marketing department. First, testing takes place: consumers find out what wishes they have and what tastes they prefer.
Then the technologists develop the taste itself and the technology for its preparation. The prototype is placed in storage in the laboratory and only after completion of the test during the entire shelf life, put into production.
Moreover, an experimental batch is produced first, and only then the product is launched into mass production. The development process is always slow, lasts from a year to two. In total, the assortment of the plant includes 250 different items.
Before going into production, the editorial offices instead of a safety lecture show a cartoon: to a peppy music, a drawn little man receives various injuries, and sometimes even dies.
To prevent such tragedies from happening in reality, the visitor is advised not to touch anything, hold on to the railing, or run around the factory, so as not to accidentally slip on oil.
It all starts from the first floor, where the silo is located – the room where flour is stored. For instant noodles, wheat flour of the highest grade is used, it is brought by Russian suppliers from the Tula and Tver regions. For intermediate storage, the flour is loaded into a silo, and then sifted.
This is done automatically – the tank constantly moves left and right, several sieves are installed inside it that cleanse the flour. After the sifted flour is fed through pipes to the second floor, tapioca starch, egg powder and thickener are added to it (guar gum is used in production).
Employees say that these additives are needed to improve the structure of noodles: with them it becomes more elastic and dense and does not fall apart 15 minutes after brewing. The recipe may vary:
The batch enters the dough mixing machine, dosed, mixed and diluted with saline (water from its own artesian well plus salt). All this is mixed for 15 minutes and, as soon as the dough is ready, is served on the first floor, where it matures for a couple of minutes.
Further, the finished dough is waiting for coarse rolling shafts that perform the rolling function: the dough is first rolled into two thick sheets and, coming from one shaft to another (there are seven in total), it becomes thinner and thinner until it becomes a little less than a millimeter thick.
Such a dough needs to be cut into thin threads – this is done with the help of round slitting knives. Here, the noodles become wavy due to the difference in the speeds of the longitudinal cutting and the conveyor.
So, the cut threads fit into a zigzag pattern, and the waviness is preserved.o that ready-made instant noodles can be boiled with boiling water without any problems, it must be pre-cooked. It is not cooked in a boiler with boiling water, but with steam in a steam chamber. Near the installation it is very hot – the temperature near the camera reaches 50 degrees.
A conveyor with noodles slowly rides inside the steam chamber, which is divided into zones with different vapor pressures. This five-minute steaming process is very important for the texture of the noodles:
it does not absorb water and does not turn into porridge. At the exit, the steamed threads enter the impregnation area. Surplus starch, which protrudes during the steam supply, is washed off with salted water from the noodles.
The next stage was not obvious – it turns out that the noodles after steaming are deep-fried. All so that the noodles can be stored for a long time: roasting removes almost all moisture from the noodles, in which the multiplication of microorganisms is possible. First, the threads are cut into briquettes, which are suitable in size for the deep-fat cells. They can be square, round or rectangular.
For each cell filled with noodles, air is supplied, it distributes the noodles over the entire surface of the container. Stacked and chopped threads go deep-fried, where they are fried in vegetable oil.
The whole process takes about three minutes. The cells are overturned in order to get hot briquettes from them and send dry noodles to the cooling chamber, where it cools down to 30–33 degrees due to air currents.
The employee offers the editorial board to try a freshly baked briquette: it tastes like an ordinary cracker, only after it remains an oily aftertaste. All ready-made noodles at the exit pass control: four employees ensure that the briquettes are not broken, they do not have wet or greasy stains, and the laying of threads retained a uniform pattern.
After this, the product arrives at the site of laying bags with convenience foods. A stacking robot puts a bag of sauce, seasoning broth and dried vegetables onto a briquette.
Sachets are formed on the “dry mix” section: a soup base is served from large dispensers into a plastic sleeve. The plant does not cook dried vegetables itself: for example, green peas are brought from China.
Sauces are prepared on the second floor in closed containers with rotating elements. The main principle of preparing the sauce is to thoroughly mix all the ingredients.
It contains water, salt, vegetable oil, yeast extract, flavor enhancers, sugar, dried chicken or dried beef (her company also buys), acidity regulators, spices, potato starch, stabilizers, preservatives and antioxidant. One package of canned meat or sausages is included in some products.
Further, all finished products are packaged and sent to the warehouse. Its area is 20 thousand square meters, and its capacity is 2 million boxes. The aisles between the shelves are very narrow, only 1.8 meters (wider than the loader by only 60 centimeters).
But the loaders do not crash into the walls – all the equipment travels along the cable, which is mounted on the floor between the racks. The steering wheel turns off at the loader, and it goes like a tram, without the ability to turn left or right.
On the one hand, there is loading in wagons, on the other – in wagons (own railways are brought to production). There are a total of seven wagons on the platform, all of them are covered with cardboard inside – so that the goods are not damaged and the noodles reach the shelves without incident.