Ingredient handling equipment runs the gamut from storage and transport, to metering, dispensing, and automation addition. Snack food and bakery customers of this equipment are particularly interested in features and benefits like automation, food safety, flexibility, adaptability, quick changeover, ease of maintenance and cleaning, explosion protection, lot tracking, and inventory control.
The latest trends in labeling for bakery and snack producers involve advances in printers, software, inks, and marking/coding technology.
Modernized bakeware including pans, tins, trays, and coatings, as well as automated pan handling systems.
Factors like the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the evolution of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) best practices, and the proliferation of different ingredient types to suit customer tastes and health concerns—including gluten-free production and handling known allergens—have led snack food and bakery facilities to place greater emphasis on cleaning and sanitation.
Consumer trends are driving bakery/snack production in the areas that form/fill/seal (FFS) systems accommodate. The types of packaging formats being requested by retailers and consumers is a major factor. As a result, the latest FFS systems can produce single-serve, portion-controlled packs at high speeds while offering quick changeover.
The nature of snack and bakery operations poses challenges to manufacturers of robotics equipment. Space is an issue. Also, the equipment must be able to handle a wide range of products of different shapes and sizes at high speeds while not damaging the goods.
Different shapes, quicker changeovers, better sanitation, a smaller footprint, more automation, and a balance of speed and safety are among the top-of-mind criteria for customers of slicing and cutting machines in the snack and bakery industry, according to machine manufacturers.
Shipping contamination-free food products to the public has always been business-critical, but today’s social-media landscape leaves virtually no room for error. A wider variety of products, along with a wide variety of packaging options, have increased the need for more flexible inspection and detection equipment. The good news: Manufacturers are answering the call with X-ray, metal detection, checkweighing and vision systems that help processors ensure food safety.
PACK EXPO recently took place at McCormick Place, Chicago, from October 14-17. IFT is presented by PMMI.