Many equipment and ingredient solutions are touting smaller footprints, but to executive editor Marina Mayer, sometimes "bigger" is better.

For the past couple of years, equipment manufacturers have been introducing pieces of machinery that provide smaller footprints with greater functionality. They “can easily fit into any size facility,” “can be added on to pre-existing equipment” and “come in various sizes and shapes to cater to nearly any size and type factory,” according to several press releases.

Likewise, ingredient suppliers have traveled down a different path by bringing bigger and better solutions, complete with omegas, vitamins, gluten-free and non-fat characteristics, perfect for any size snack food and bakery application.

While these are noteworthy attributes when it comes to selecting the perfect conveyor, proofer or oven, or even the most better-for-you ingredient option, companies continue to bust out big-time innovations, proving that size doesn’t matter as long as it’s big on function.

At IBIE 2010, which took place Sept. 26-29 in Las Vegas, and Pack Expo International 2010, which was held Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Chicago, some equipment manufacturers showcased larger-than-life machines that cut, slice and package all in one. Meanwhile, others doted on smaller pieces that were both compact and efficient.

For example, Burford’s Smart Servo Twist Tyer offers more than 10% savings on tie materials per closure, lower energy consumption and a modular design that allows for critical components to be changed out in one simple step, according to the Maysville, Okla., company.

Drader Bakery Logistics provides endless stacking capabilities with its Eliminator, which is a dual-height basket that eliminates costs, hard changeovers, basket inventory, storage space and wasted shipping capacity. These multi-level baskets allow for varying bread and bun heights all in one tray, says the Canada-based company.

Meanwhile, Hixson Architecture Engineering Interiors, located in Cincinnati, displays its big ideas and creations in its Design On Purpose magazine, featuring designs and engineering of several production and R&D facilities, including Sara Lee’s 300,000-sq.-ft. plant in St. Joseph, Mo.

For its part, Kaman Industrial Technologies outlines its big lineup of bakery solutions, including dividing, rounding, molding, panning, intermediate proofing, cooling, slicing, ingredient storage, mixing, batching, pick-and-place and more. In fact, the Windsor, Conn.-based distributor focuses on providing customers with what they need, when they need it.

Ingredient suppliers also are honing in on the action with their own share of plus-size solutions that are designed to deliver big taste without the extra weight. Several ingredient solution providers presented their better-for-you formulas at IFT’s Suppliers’ Night 2010, which took place on Nov. 10 in Rosemont, Ill.

For example, Balchem Corp., headquartered in New Hampton, N.Y., displayed C-Salt, a choline chloride-based salt replacer that significantly improves flow characteristics while reducing sodium by up to 50%.

Likewise, Sethness Greenleaf “puts smiles on people’s faces,” thanks to its array of formulations designed for pastries, fillings, donuts, glazes, icings, fruit preparations, cookies and doughs. At the show, the Chicago-based company showcased shortbread cookies containing a vanilla flavoring.

Whether it’s a smaller version of the original or a solution that caters to nearly any scenario, many of today’s equipment manufacturers and ingredient suppliers are delivering bigger and better options that provide big-time success.