Mettler Toledo claims sales of APAC bakery & confectionery product inspection technology will grow with a CAGR of 6.5% in production turnover, with the rest of the world following closely behind.
The reason for this, according to Neil Giles, marketing communications manager, Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection, is increasing disposable income, growing urbanization, rising trade market and a growing trend for convenient and indulgent products.
Not to mention the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which continues to evolve in the US, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), Hazard Analysis and Critical Controls (HACCP) and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC).
“As with all food manufacturing processes, there is a risk of contaminants entering the product. For bakery and confectionery, it could be anything from glass and metal fragments to mineral stone,” said Giles.
“The HACCP framework requires manufacturers to review operations to identify points in the production process where contamination could potentially occur.
“If a risk is identified, then a Critical Control Point (CCP) needs to be established and product inspection should take place to mitigate the risk.”
Giles added, product in seal inspection is one element to consider when dealing with packaged sealed products, and there are a number of examples of how product inspection has helped to alleviate challenges in this area.
Chocolates in sealed trays
For example, he said a customer in Sweden, a producer of a favorite chocolate in the region, had decided to package heart-shaped chocolates in sealed trays of clear plastic.
“Shaped chocolates can sometimes bounce out of line, while stray pieces of chocolate can easily compromise the seal, and inspecting by eye proved to be a labor intensive and fallible process,” said Giles.
“By installing a specially adapted x-ray system, the customer was able to ensure 100% inspection of seals, while the operators previously designated to carry out visual checks could be reassigned to focus on other activities.
“X-ray systems are also capable of carrying out zoned fill-level checks, for products that are presented in defined compartments, to ensure each component of a package is correctly in place.
“Missing or broken items can also be identified, as well as incorrect fill levels – which can lead to significant savings if products are being overfilled on the line, and to improved customer satisfaction if under-filled. A good example of fill level inspection is in the manufacture of jam doughnuts and pre-made garlic bread, where missing jam or butter can be identified and individual products rejected.”
Grupo Dulcesol, a Spanish family-run business that manufacturers bakery and confectionery products, biscuits and baby foods for own brands and white labelled products has partnered with Mettler Toledo to install 96 metal detection systems and five x-ray inspection machines to inspect packaged products for contaminants and 74 checkweighers are used for package fill control, to ensure products are within the specified weight limits.
Sliced bread in Spain
In the past five years, the Group has invested €128m in facilities and the latest machinery for a plant that produces sliced bread in Spain, an automated logistics warehouse and baby food factory.
“Grupo Dulcesol is comprised of two business units - Dulcesa and Juan y Juan. By supplying many of its own ingredients, the company is able to maintain a tight control on the quality of the raw materials used in the production process,” added Giles.
“To ensure the end products produced meet its exact standards, and that of its customers including Carrefour, El Corte Inglés, Consum and Bonarea, the company uses a number of product inspection technologies supplied by Mettler Toledo.”
Laura Martí, quality control manager, Grupo Dulcesol, said adherence to HACCP requirements is essential to maintain its numerous quality and food safety certifications.
“The hygienic design of equipment and fully automated production processes are critical for success,” she said.
“At the Dulcesa site, Mettler Toledo halogen moisture analyzers are used to monitor the cooking process. At Juan y Juan, Mettler Toledo balances are used along with moisture analyzers.”