Baking & Snack - October 2015 - 61

Ingredient Handling

Automating the handling of sticky,
flaky, fatty, viscous, delicate and other
materials requires careful analysis
of technological options and the
ingredients themselves.
by Dan Malovany


What's hot, and what's not? For marketing gurus, staying ahead of the competition means correctly answering that million-dollar - often multi-million-dollar
- question. While conventional wisdom historically
recommends first-to-market as a most popular option,
many wholesale bakers and snack manufacturers now
consider best-to-market as the most prudent and successful strategy in the long run.
On the plant floor, keeping up with the sometimes
relentless requests for new - or newly reformulated -
products requires strategic thinking and thoughtful risk
analysis before bringing production in-house, especially
when it comes to the ingredient handling. Although creative solutions abound, even the addition of a few new
or improved ingredients can add exponential complexity to a highly or even semi-automated operation.

Consider what's trending at the current moment.
"Customers are talking about gluten-free, non-GMO,
organic - all of these products are going to require
some sort of segregation from other ingredients that are
non-organic, GMO or contain gluten," observed Jason
Stricker, national accounts manager, Shick Solutions,
Kansas City, MO. "You need to pay particular attention
to how you segregate those ingredients to minimize the
cleaning of equipment. You have to maintain the integrity of those systems for the customer to claim its products are gluten-free, organic or non-GMO. It's similar to
how you would approach an allergen in terms of keeping
it segregated and minimizing the amount of equipment
that needs to be cleaned during a recipe changeover."
Various flours such as whole wheat, hard wheat, allpurpose and pastry varieties can share the same conveying line in automated equipment because small amounts
of cross contamination generally don't affect the final
product, according to Michael Palmer, applications
manager, Gemini/KB Systems, Bangor, PA.
Specialty flours are a different story. "While this in and
of itself is not a big issue, it many times requires more ingredient handling equipment and dedicated storage and
production equipment, as well as a host of sanitation activities between processes or equipment that share multiple ingredient production runs," he explained.
In some instances, the question becomes not only

Micro-differential proportioning scales can accurately
dispense a variety of small
ingredients into large
Buhler / October 2015 Baking & Snack 61

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