Growth in the popcorn category is being driven by new flavor innovations and new packaging sizes and formats. Hot and spicy microwave popcorn and cheddar jalapeño popcorn in family-size bags are just two examples. Expect to see more innovation in the near future.
Cookies are ubiquitous. They appear in many areas of the store, from the classic cookies and snack aisle, to the bakery aisle, the in-store fresh bakery, as ready-to-bake items in the refrigerated area, and even cookie dough in the frozen food section.
Innovation is prevalent in the area of closing and bagging equipment as well as twist ties, clips, zippers and package resealing. Thanks to product introductions and equipment upgrades, these systems run faster and are easier to use.
Retail-ready packaging (RRP) is being used by more bakery and snack producers because it offers benefits to both manufacturers and retailers. RRP makes it easy for retailers to quickly restock shelves and reduce injury among its employees.
New and updated tray handing equipment that performs automated or semi-automated loading of bakery and snack products into trays and baskets, as well as handles bakery trays, baskets, and other reusable distribution containers for finished products, has grown increasingly sophisticated.
When it comes to new developments in inspection/detection equipment for the snack and bakery industry, consumer demand for variety is driving the need for equipment that is flexible enough to accommodate new product types, packaging materials, and package sizes.
Bakery and snack producers can choose from a wide range of convenience packaging solutions - single-serve, re-sealable, portion-controlled - to meet demands of retailers and consumers. The latest innovations offer reliable containment, product freshness, recyclability and sustainability, thus fitting the needs of on-the-go, convenience-oriented consumers.
The latest form/fill/seal (FFS) systems are designed for versatility and are adaptable to many different bag types, film types, and bag sizes, which is good news for bakery and snack producers. They also incorporate improved sanitary design and can handle green sustainable materials such as paper packaging.
Bakery trays and similar items such as pallets and baskets are an essential part of the supply chain for bakery and snack producers in transporting finished goods for direct-store delivery. They are sometimes enabled with tracking and traceability technology such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) to prevent tray and pallet theft.
New robotic technology is helping to streamline and improve bakery and snack operations in both primary and secondary packaging applications. Areas of innovation include end-of-arm tooling (EOAT), sanitation, and space optimization. Gripper technology also is advancing to handle delicate products such as soft bakery items.