As a family-owned wholesale bakery, La Provence makes artisan breads, pastries and cookies, which go to market under the La Provence and private label brands. Their baked goods, including organic, gluten-free and non-GMO varieties, are distributed to coffee shops and retailers, including several Fortune 500 companies. After purchasing a new cookie line in 2016, La Provence turned to Mettler Toledo for new inspection equipment to maximize their final product quality.
“It’s typical in the food industry to see companies simply react to problems. Our X-ray equipment, metal detectors, checkweighers and tank scales allow us to be proactive and confident that all our products are exceptional,” said Philip Dardaine, CEO of La Provence. “The most important thing is that our food is safe, for the sake of consumers and customers as well as ourselves. We take food safety very seriously. That’s why we rely on the Mettler Toledo Product Inspection Group.”
“Our first X-ray system was Safeline’s SmartChek, which we’ve had for over ten years now. We’ve been very impressed with its accuracy and ease of use. That’s why we decided to go straight to X-ray for our new cookie line last year,” said Dardaine. “Our sales rep, Kirk Isham at Pacific Packaging & Inspection, supported the decision.”
La Provence installed this latest X-ray machine, a Safeline X33, to inspect 5 oz. to 16 oz. tubs of cookies. The X33 detects dense foreign material, including all types of metal, and automatically rejects contaminated packages. As Mettler Toledo’s next generation solution, it features the same outstanding detection sensitivity as the SmartChek and AdvanCheck models but with a lower watt generator to reduce power consumption and operating costs.
“Detecting metal is imperative when you’re using metal mixers, and the X33 has incredible detection sensitivity. Not only can it find metal better than most metal detectors, but a system this powerful can identify something even as thin as a piece of fabric,” noted Dardaine. “Any foreign object gives customers a bad taste, both literally and figuratively. I’m a big believer in X-ray detection.”
Mettler Toledo also installed a Hi-Speed XC3 checkweigher on the same cookie line to detect and reject under- and over-filled packages. This economical checkweigher is compact and dependable, achieving 100 percent weight inspection with an accuracy of +/- 1 g. Handling up to 100 packages per minute and products up to 7.7 lb. in size, the XC3 features a dashboard-style touchscreen to provide easy access to product and machine performance information.
“The primary purpose of this checkweigher is to make sure that the cookies in the tub don’t weigh less than the amount on the label,” said Dardaine. “The additional benefit is that it also rejects overweight packages to help us quickly identify and correct problems before we sell a thousand tubs with too many cookies. This improves our yield and essentially pays for the machine.”
La Provence installed their first Mettler Toledo system, a PowerPhase metal detector, back in 1997. Twenty years later, it’s still in operation. Inspecting both individually packaged and bulk trays of breads and pastries, this system achieves superior detection sensitivity with high frequency coil technology and advanced head geometry. False rejects are virtually eliminated with the use of a ‘Faraday Screen’ that filters out interference.
“Many years ago, it was our customer, Starbucks, who encouraged us to protect our brand by protecting our quality. We researched metal detectors and spoke with other bakeries that worked with Starbucks,” said Dardaine. “We choose Mettler Toledo because of their well-recognized and respected name, and we choose PowerPhase for its sensitivity and consistency. When it comes to inspection equipment, we want the best.”
La Provence also turned to Mettler Toledo for two new tank scale systems in 2016 that utilize advanced IND780 weighing terminals. “These scales measure ingredients as they are dumped or conveyed into the kettles, which allows us to make recipes more accurately,” explained Dardaine. “Tank scales are tricky to install, because you have to work with welders, modify the tanks and position them correctly. We needed a world-class manufacturer and wanted Mettler Toledo on our team.”
“When it’s all said and done, our inspection systems protect our product quality,” concluded Dardaine. “From a commercial standpoint, this great equipment impresses our customers and builds our reputation. Our relationship with Mettler Toledo shows that we care about putting out a safe product.”
About Mettler Toledo
As the world's largest supplier of checkweighers, metal detectors and X-ray inspection systems, Mettler Toledo Hi-Speed and Mettler Toledo Safeline are the product inspection experts for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Hi-Speed checkweighers ensure regulatory compliance, increase productivity and enhance operational excellence. Safeline metal detectors and X-ray inspection systems detect solid contaminants and ensure product quality, portion control and package integrity for ultimate brand protection. Our innovative products are backed by 24/7 technical support.