Pie in the Sky Goals
By Andy Hanacek
You want it? You got it. That’s seems to be the response of pizza manufacturers to the hordes of consumers clamoring for innovation in pizza.
And although the recipes for making your bare-bones pizzas haven’t changed drastically, consumers continue to blare the trumpets that they want even more options — more toppings, sauces and crusts and even more convenience.
And pizza manufacturers are continuing to take notes.
Pizza manufacturers have been listening to those consumers, and have rolled out such innovative products as microwaveable pizzas and copious combinations of toppings to offer “themed” pizzas, such as White Pizza or BBQ Chicken Pizza.
Yet the demands pizza manufacturers have placed on their equipment suppliers are much different. Pizza manufacturers, sensing increased demand on the horizon, are calling for speed, accuracy in depositing and versatility of the machines on the market. Jim Machura, sales manager for Quantum Topping Systems, says manufacturers like Quantum, which specializes in topping application systems, have begun to successfully address the demand for versatility in pizza-making equipment.
“[Manufacturers] have a need to run more than one product per line and want to take full advantage of their conveyor widths,” Machura explains. “For example, a dedicated two-lane system for target sauce application on 16” pizza was typically capable of running smaller product, but only in two lanes.
“We have new equipment capable of target application on two lanes of 16-in., three lanes of 12-in., and four lanes of 6-in. product on the same system. This doubles production capacity on the smaller products and uses the available conveyor width much more efficiently.”
That versatility is exactly what manufacturers are looking for. Machura says that Quantum has developed depositors that can handle a range of products over a range of lane configurations, and that when developing new machines, sanitation concerns are a priority, because the company knows that its machines will need to be thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis.
As pizza manufacturers increase their production demands, equipment manufacturers will have to find ways to make their machines more versatile and speed them up without sacrificing topping-application accuracy or other sanitation requirements.