Lantmännen Unibake: expands in Norway

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The international bakery group Lantmännen Unibake has acquired the production assets from French Bakery Company AS, a Norwegian bakery located close to Drammen. The acquisition is a key step to provide sustainable products and bakery solutions in Norway and to meet consumer demand for locally produced bakery products.

The acquisition includes the take-over of French Bakery Company’s production equipment and employees and it strengthens Lantmännen Unibake’s unique position in Norway. It will provide opportunities for expansion with new products for foodservice and retail.

It also enables insourcing to Lantmännen Unibake’s local bakeries and supports the international bakery group’s focus on core markets and sustainable production.

«French Bakery Company is a modern bakery with high bake-off expertise and quality standards. Geographically, the bakery is well positioned for our current Norwegian operations and fits into our strategy and ambition. Building on our focus on sustainability from field to fork, locally produced bakery products and short time-to-market, we believe there is a very good potential to grow the business further and continue to deliver great results,» says Werner Devinck, CEO of Lantmännen Unibake.

«Lantmännen Unibake Norway sees strong growth potential for bake-off products in Norway and our focus is to meet the needs of our foodservice and retail customers. With increased flexibility, tailor-made and locally produced products, the acquisition will expand our current offer. It enables our business to strengthen our sustainability efforts through locally sourced raw materials and locally produced products, while also supporting our target to reduce the CO2 footprint through shorter transportation distances,» says Thomas Bjarkholm, Managing Director of Lantmännen Unibake Norway.



Barry Callebaut boosts chocolate production capacity in Singapore

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Barry Callebaut has added a fourth chocolate production line to its Singapore facility, as it aims to meet increased demand for chocolate in Southeast Asia.

The new production line has been installed with ‘state-of-the-art’ equipment that Barry Callebaut claims has the ability to produce chocolate blocks of different volumes at an efficient rate.

Located in Senoko, in the northern part of Singapore, the factory is said to have been instrumental in growing the presence of the company in the region and marks Barry Callebaut’s biggest chocolate factory in the Asia Pacific.

Since the facility opened in 1997, Barry Callebaut has made a series of investments in Singapore including the acquisition of Petra Foods’ Cocoa Ingredients Division which operates under its Delfi Cocoa brand and a $18 million expansion to its Senoko facility in 2016 with a new production line, molding line and warehouse facility.

“The continued expansion of this factory reaffirms Barry Callebaut’s commitment in Singapore for the long-term. We look forward to continuing working with the government, local institutions, and our customers and partners to realise our role as the leading chocolate manufacturer in this country,” said Ben De Schryver, president of Barry Callebaut Asia Pacific.

He continued: “We are very encouraged by the steady growth of Singapore’s food industry which would not have been possible without the country’s strong reputation in food safety and quality. For us, this expansion in Singapore is also about paving the way for our business to be more efficient overall and bringing more innovations to the markets.”

Barry Callebaut’s latest installation follows recent investments within the Asia Pacific region such as its decision to purchase GKC Foods in Australia and a new chocolate and compound manufacturing facility in India.



Improved heat-resistant wheat varieties are identified

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Wheat, in its own right, is one of the most important foods in the world. It is a staple food for more than 2.5 billion people, it provides 20% of the protein consumed worldwide and, according to the FAO, supplies more calories than any other grain. Its long-term productivity, however, is threatened by rising temperatures, among other factors. Stress from heat, an increasing trend due to climate change, affects its performance, a fact that requires urgent solutions bearing in mind that, according to some estimates, the world’s population will reach 9 billion by the year 2050.

In search of solutions that guarantee this grain’s sustainability, an international study, in which the University of Cordoba (UCO) participated, analyzed 54 kinds of wheat made by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (abbreviated to CIMMYT in Spanish), an international research organization located in Mexico. This organization has spent over 60 years developing genetically improved genotypes of wheat and maize.

This research aimed to establish which of the 54 kinds of wheat under analysis responded best to high temperatures. Specifically, according to Carlos Guzmán, lead researcher of the study at UCO, the study revealed that 10 of these genotypes tolerate stress caused by heat better. “Most of them are kinds that have been recently produced by the improvement program, demonstrating the effectiveness of genetic improvement when dealing with this issue if the necessary investment is made,” points out the author of the study.

The varieties were grown in the CENEB experimental research station (Sonora, Mexico), cradle of the Green Revolution, where a desert climate prevails. The grain genotypes were planted in February, three months later than normal, in order to have their flowering and grain filling coincide with the hottest months. According to the results, the genotypes that responded best to high temperatures were able to produce 2.4 tons of wheat per hectare, “a farily reasonable amount in this kind of environment and this could help maintain an acceptable rate of productivity under these conditions,” says Carlos Guzmán.

This research was not only focused on the amount of wheat the varieties could produce but also on the quality of grain, a factor that very much depends on the quantity and quality of protein and is a key element when marketing the grain to be used in making products such as bread and pasta.

According to the study’s results, “the grain quality has not decreased due to stress in any of the ten genotypes that resist heat the best,” making these varieties candidates to be used frequently in improvement programs or to be released as varieties in regions and countries where heat stress is common. This is all being done with an aim to generate heat-resistant wheat that can guarantee the sustainability of a staple food that needs to keep on feeding the world.



Mondelez : We’ve regained the passion for building iconic brands

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Mondelez admits it had “lost some swagger” as it focused too much on internal transformation to the detriment of investment in its brands.

Mondelez is “regaining passion” for building “iconic brands” according to the company’s executive vice-president and president of North America, Glen Walter.

Speaking at Evercore ISI’s Virtual Consumer & Retail Summit yesterday (16 June), Walter said the Cadbury owner had been investing both in its brands and ecommerce business, the later an area where the company is “underrepresented”.

Walter explained: “You can engage with consumers whether it’s a recruitment tool or a convenience tool, [ecommerce] has been very helpful.”

He added: “We’re investing in search, we’re investing in digital, we’re investing in service, and we’re investing in the types of differentiated packages that consumers are looking for in ecommerce. We’ve nearly doubled the number of unique pure play ecommerce packs to the portfolio in lightning speed.”

Coronavirus and the consumer shift to digital has pushed ecommerce up the agenda at Mondelez , with growth doubling this year. And this is a trend the company believes will extend beyond lockdown.

Walter explained: “If you subscribe to the phrase of never waste a crisis, this has provided a proof point for people that they can have a good shopping experience, they can get the brands they like, they show up to my home in a safe way and intact, and they can save themselves a trip or even look at a subscription.”

This is not the only way Mondelez is adapting to the pandemic, it is also ensuring all its marketing is “pivoting very quickly” so its campaigns are relevant. That includes a focus on “being at home, eating more, more do it yourself,” Walter said.

Looking back to previous years, Walter admitted the company was too focused on internal transformation to the detriment of investment in brands.

“We were not investing in our brands at the fullest potential. When we’ve got multiple years of transformation we had lost quite a bit of our talent and frankly a bit of our swagger and the passion that had been behind these brands in the past,” he said.

However, now the business is focused on “fundamental core processes”. That includes “how we build our brands, how we connect with customers and consumers, how we execute in the marketplace, and how we bring our supply chain back to stability and predictability.”



The intense flavor science behind Haribo’s gummies

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A hundred years ago, the first Haribo factory cranked up its confectionery machines on the banks of Germany’s Rhine River. Started by 27-year-old Hans Riegel, the business stayed modest and local—until the founder made a marvelous culinary discovery. The exact formula to his bear-shaped success remains a secret to this day, but its recipe includes gelatin, sugar, a copper kettle, a rolling pin, and the magic of thermodynamics.

Haribo Goldbear gummies are now one of the top-selling candies in the world, spawning dozens of copycats and filling hundreds of fingerprint-smudged waiting-room jars. The company has grown out of Riegel’s home city of Bonn with 16 factories across Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. It’s slated to open its first US production facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, in September.

The company cooks up 100 million gummy bears a day—on top of numerous other mouth-puckering chews. It sells more than 1,000 varieties in Germany, home to its current-day headquarters, and launches fresh lines every season, like this summer’s limited Passport edition. “Because of the way we produce our candies, we can make a lot of flavors and profiles with agility,” says Lauren Triffler, head of corporate communications of Haribo of America. US gummy fanatics can only choose from a modest 19 options at the moment. The sheer scale of the company makes it a powerhouse for profit, but it also lets it redefine how the candy industry creates certain fruit flavors, says Yael Vodovotz, a food-innovation scientist at Ohio State University. “They follow the trends and make the choices that change tastes.”

Anointing a new flavor to the Haribo lineup, however, takes some confection-making perfection. The company’s food scientists test each recipe exhaustively for aroma, texture, and regional preferences. The last step is key to ensuring a gummy will succeed across multiple markets. For example, Triffler says, Americans and Germans don’t always agree on what a “lemon” candy should taste like, making it tricky to develop a single yellow piece for a mix that suits everyone’s tongues. The company even had to change up Riegel’s famous recipe when introducing Goldbears stateside in the 1980s.

In general, customers in the US and Latin America have more of a sweet tooth than snackers in Japan and Western Europe. But in the past decade or so, Triffler says American candy lovers have shifted to the sour side. “The kids really like the Zing bites and streamers and the Twin Snakes, which is the second best-selling flavor after the bears. You see that change in generations.” Even in the tart profiles, no two gummy recipes are the same. Some candies are covered in crunchy sugar crystals, while others layer distinct textures like marshmallow and gelatin. “There’s always entertainment value in the chew,” Triffler adds.

Experiments aside (the company won’t admit it, but the berry-blue Smurfs are an experiment that just happened to be a convenience store hit), there’s still a lot to learn about the chemistry of gummies. “A firm chew with a burst of flavor and plenty of servings in one bag” is what keeps Haribo customers coming back for more, Triffler says. Oddly enough, a favorite flavor doesn’t need to match up with its real-life fruity counterpart. The strawberry Goldbear is actually a bright lime color, but nobody seems to mind as long as the taste is consistent from bite to bite.

Beyond that, Haribo is quite tight-lipped about what makes their gummies such a culinary delight. But outside of the candy industry, food scientists are upfront about the challenges of crafting gummies. “Most gummy confections contain 5 to 10 percent fruit juice and the rest is sugar water,” Vodovotz says. “There are non-synthetic flavors and dyes, but they’re really still mostly chemicals.”

She switches up the traditional formula and uses freeze-dried fruits and powdered vegetables to design supplements with a gummy-like chew for cancer patients. Compared to the classic candy, these hold much more fiber and plant matter, which creates a jam-like consistency on the insides. Gelatin is a no-go because it’s not gluten-free or vegan—so, she gets creative with a variety of gelling agents to account for the acidity and calcium levels of her ingredients. Grapefruit, for example, has a low pH, so it pairs best with agar as opposed to pectin or starch.

While Vodovotz aims to preserve as many natural compounds as possible to give her products a nutritional kick, her snack-y counterparts only borrow a few to spin out their artificial flavors. But there’s potential for this treat to do more than satisfy a sugary craving. “While the industry is associated with indulgence, I think they’re starting to notice that there are possibilities to use gummies as a healthier vehicle,” Vodovotz says.

Triffler points out that Haribo is also tinkering with vegan and gluten-free options. These future candies will hopefully hit the same tender notes that Riegel once simmered up with a modern-day, diet-inclusive twist. And though people’s tastes might change over time, in the end, they’ll always want two things: a gummy they can really sink their teeth into and a departure from the ordinary.

Source: MSN



Why sourdough bread is healthier than regular white or wheat bread

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Do the words “sourdough bread” conjure a yearning for crusty, rustic loaves with yeasty, tangy aromas? You are not alone. A recent study showed the market value of sourdough increased from $298.7 million in 2014 to $2.4 billion in 2018.

This slowly fermented bread honors the traditional art of baking and has a history dating back to 3000 BC in ancient Egypt.

Baking a loaf of sourdough may entertain idle hands, and provide a welcome change from the norm, but is it healthier? Here’s what you need to know.

What is sourdough bread?

Traditional sourdough bread recipes contain three simple ingredients. To make it, you need salt, flour, and the magical alchemy of a sourdough starter. There is no need for instant or fresh yeast, milk, oils, eggs, or sweeteners.

A sourdough starter is a fermented mix of flour and water that contains colonies of bacteria and yeast. The yeasts in the starter are varying strains of Saccharomyces, which are wild relatives of yeast used in commercial preparations.

In sourdough bread, the starter acts as the rising agent. The yeast uses the carbohydrates from flour to produce ethanol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide becomes trapped in the bread dough, which makes it rise.

“It’s different from bread made with commercial yeast in that it takes much longer to ferment fully,” says Maurizio Leo, baker and author of the Perfect Loaf. “Additionally, the dough will have increased flavor due to the organic acids created as a byproduct of natural fermentation.”

It’s this process that imparts the characteristic tangy or sour flavor that gives sourdough its name.

Sourdough bread is healthier than regular bread

Although sourdough bread may not seem that different from regular bread, the fermentation process that the sourdough starter goes through introduces a whole slew of nutritional benefits. Here’s why sourdough bread might be a healthier choice than other kinds of bread.

Your body absorbs more nutrients from sourdough bread
Bread of all types contains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. However, we can’t easily absorb these nutrients due to compounds called phytates, or phytic acid, that bind to them.

But sourdough, unlike other breads, contains lactic acid. This lactic acid neutralizes levels of phytates because it lowers the pH of the bread. As a result, sourdough bread has a higher level of available minerals and up to 62% less phytic acid than conventional bread.

Leo says that lactic acid also “increases the bioavailability of the ingredients,” which means that nutrients from the bread are more quickly and readily available for your body to use.

Sourdough is easily digested

Julie Stewart, Registered Nutritionist, recommends sourdough as a “gentler alternative to bread” that’s less likely to cause food intolerances and digestion issues.

That’s because sourdough bread is more digestible than the average commercial loaf of bread made from standard baker’s yeast. In fact, Stewart says that her clients report less bloating with sourdough bread.

“The fermentation process breaks down some of the gluten, and that makes it more digestible, especially for people who struggle to digest gluten.”

However, people who have coeliac disease need to be cautious. Coeliac disease is a condition when a person’s immune system attacks their own tissues when they eat gluten. And sourdough still contains gliadin, the part of the wheat protein that affects people with coeliac.

“There are gluten-free sourdough bread options that coeliacs can try,” says Stewart. And, bonus, the sourdough fermentation process makes gluten-free bread softer and similar in volume and taste to regular bread.

Sourdough is also prebiotic, says Peter Reinhart Chef and author of 12 books on bread and pizza.  Prebiotics are nutrients that feed the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system, which help keep the gut healthy and improve digestion by increasing the availability of nutrients.

How to make a sourdough starter

Making a sourdough starter is a commitment. It needs nurturing, feeding, and loving attention to yield the best results.

First, blend flour and water, to form a ‘starter’ or ‘mother’ and let nature take its course. Over the next 7 to 10 days, feed the starter with more flour and let the mix ferment.

The starter relies on naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria reproduction. These microorganisms create the bubbling, fermented starter that causes the dough to rise.

“The wild microorganisms prefer a more acidic environment than commercial yeast and takes longer to ferment the dough, so the bread develops a more complex, tart flavor. In actuality, sourdough fermentation is the oldest, original method of leavening dough, as commercially raised yeast is a relatively new phenomenon, less than 200 years old,” explains Reinhart.

Leo explains that “The mixture is ‘trained’ over time to encourage certain strains of wild yeasts and beneficial bacteria that live in symbiosis.” These starters are stable and harmonious communities that are personal and unique.

Reinhart says, “the future of bread lies in its past.” A baker can divide their healthy starter and share it with a friend. The new starter shares the ancestral lines of the original starter.

“If properly cared for, this mixture can live on indefinitely,” says Leo. Although there is no official record for the oldest starter, the Guardian reports a 120-year-old starter belonging to an 84-year-old Canadian.

The bottom line

Sourdough is a healthier alternative to regular white or whole wheat bread. Although it has comparable nutrients, the lower phytate levels mean it is more digestible and nutritious.

The prebiotics also help to keep your gut bacteria happy, and it may be less likely to spike blood sugar levels.

Besides the nutritional benefits, you can also enjoy the therapy of home baking and the unique sourdough flavor.

Source:  MSN




The Ice Cream Industry Is Having a Meltdown

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Even a summer surge can’t make up for a season of empty parlors and depressed sales.

Like many goods, the summer staple has had a rough start to the season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While grocery sales for the frosty dessert have largely remained consistent, with even modest gains in some cases, ice cream shops are still floundering under the new strictures that COVID-19 has placed on the food industry, even as Americans spend more time out in the ice cream-beckoning heat. The overall effect is an economic slump for the industry.

“The ability for ice cream store owners to keep up in a way that is both legally mandated and accepted by the community has been a struggle,” said Steve Christensen, executive director of the National Ice Cream Retailers Association. “Many shops are working twice as hard for half as much.” For many businesses, slight increases in grocery sales haven’t been enough to make up for the declines they’re seeing at their storefronts. (Many larger businesses sell both to groceries and have their own storefronts, though some smaller ones opt to only sell to one or the other.) Parlors across the country have had to lay off staff and file for bankruptcy.

Each year, ice cream shops count on a surge in customers come springtime. Retailers typically try to build up a nest egg during the warmer months that can tide them over during the winter, but the pandemic forced Americans indoors just when ice cream demand would usually start to pick up. Now, in the summer, some shops are trying to catch up with the busy season. One shop in the popular summer vacation destination Cape Cod was met with major backups and irate customers as a result of the safety precautions it had to put in place when it reopened last month.

Herrell’s Ice Cream, located in Northampton, Massachusetts, has been feeling the strain of the lockdowns and economic downturn. When we spoke late last month, owner Judy Herrell told me that the business is seeing an 80 to 90 percent decrease in sales compared with this time last year. “It’s been tough. It’s been really tough not only on the staff, but on the consumer too,” she said. Demand for the hot fudge that Herrell’s Ice Cream sells in grocery stores like Whole Foods hasn’t been affected much, but the shop is barely covering costs for supplies and staff at the moment.

Unlike pizza or noodles, ice cream isn’t particularly well-suited for the sort of takeout and delivery operations that most restaurants have had to rely on during the pandemic. “It’s easy to deliver ice cream if it’s a very short distance, but once you’re going 20 minutes away, you’re going to experience melting,” said Herrell. “God forbid you order a milkshake.” Some to-go orders also get difficult if they include sauces like hot fudge or penuche, because the final assembly has to happen exactly when the customer arrives or else it’ll melt as well. When you have a backlog of orders all being placed over the phone, it becomes difficult to coordinate. In addition, Herrell notes that some people don’t see ice cream as a takeout food since lounging in the parlor itself is often an important part of the experience.

Nevertheless, many ice cream parlors are now trying to optimize their businesses for takeout. Christensen said that some parlors that had previously invested in drive-throughs are doing relatively well, but many others that have little experience with takeout have been struggling. “Many of our members who had relied on in-store dining and purchases have to be nimble and create a counter at the front of the store where people can simply walk up and order,” he said. Many shops have soft-serve machines, which are largely designed to make a product that’s ready to eat on the spot; soft-serve cones in particular don’t travel very well. Establishments are also having to invest in new packaging methods and containers suitable for delivery, many of which are more expensive and labor-intensive. For example, shops that don’t make their own product usually buy ice cream in three-gallon tubs that you can take scoops out of on the spot when customers place their orders at the counter. Now, according to Christensen, many shops are having to buy pint and quart containers for the first time so they can pack the ice cream and send it home with the customers, which costs more than just scooping out of a bigger tub.

The pandemic isn’t just affecting ice cream stores. In some cases, manufacturers have been struggling to source some ingredients. Cheryl Pinto, Ben & Jerry’s sourcing manager, has been tracking the pandemic’s disruptions to the supply chains of products like cocoa, which the company sources from West Africa. “I’m watching how COVID is taking root in West Africa and studying the urban areas. It’s going to start moving out into the rural areas, so how will that impact the total harvest?” said Pinto. “With [Madagascar] shutting down, it caused havoc and pressure for the vanilla suppliers.” Herrell said that her shops have had trouble getting their hands on gluten-free flours, yeast, and certain hand-squeezed fruit juices from Florida.

As lockdown orders ease, ice cream shops are figuring out whether plexiglass, splash guards, social distancing, and occupancy limits will be enough to allow them to operate somewhat normally again. Yet Herrell is unsure when it will be safe for customers to sit and enjoy the parlor atmosphere at her Northampton location. “Our seating area is maybe 500 square feet. It’s not like a big restaurant where you could take out half the tables and only seat people at every third table,” she said, adding that putting seating outside is difficult because the shop sits on a hill. “I think the best we’re going to be able to do for a while is just takeout.”



Beneo expands portfolio with new organic ingredients

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Global functional ingredient manufacturer Beneo has expanded its chicory root fibre and rice starch ingredient portfolio by adding two new organic solutions.

The additions include organic waxy rice starch called Remyline O AX DR and organic chicory root fibre Orafti Organic.

BENEO Speciality Rice Ingredients commercial managing director Marc-Etienne Denis said: “The launch of BENEO’s new organic waxy rice starch is an important milestone for us as it means we can now offer our customers organic variants for both our waxy and regular rice starches.

“We see great potential for this new solution, especially within meat and poultry, as consumers worldwide place special emphasis on organic products when buying meat.”

With the launch of its two new ingredient solutions, BENEO intends to further strengthen its market position.

Beginning from next month, Remyline O AX DR will be rolled out in the global market.

The company explained that the addition of Remyline O AX DR completes BENEO’s existing portfolio of rice starches currently available for both regular and waxy rice starch.

Beneo said that its Remyline O AX DR is suitable for fruit preparations, as well as meat and poultry applications.

On the other hand, Beneo’s Orafti Organic is claimed to help manufacturers in reducing fat and sugar across various applications such as dairy, cereals, bakery, and confectionery.

It will be available for purchase from September.

Beneo Functional Fibres commercial managing director Eric Neven said: “Requests for organic chicory root fibre are constantly growing so we are pleased to be able to offer this solution to our customers and be the first in the market to do so.

“Beneo is confident this move to expand our overall organic ingredients portfolio will be highly appreciated by the industry and shows particular promise for new product developments in this growing area of the market.”



Industry 4.0: Smart Baking With Robots

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Relatively new to food industry applications, robotic solutions bring smart baking to a whole new level and are quickly becoming an integral – and highly-efficient – part of the manufacturing plants. Applications are expanding and the opportunities are promising to turn fiction into science at work.

In 2018, global robot installations increased by 6% to 422,271 units, worth USD16.5bn – without software and peripherals, according to data from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). Out of this, robots in food and beverages account for 3% (approximately 12,680 units), with the observation that, for 19% of the robots, there is no information on the customer industry. This figure is five percentage points higher than the year before. Various processes in a bakery can benefit from robots performing not only accurate, repetitive tasks, but also learning to be flexible and switch routines as needed, with applications in industrial operations and craft bakeries alike as they are usually compact constructs. Moreover, as IoT features are used and enabling real-time information exchange between various technologies and operators, manufacturing lines are exponentially increasing their efficiency to changing needs. This makes processes stable and flexible with the help of AI, to which robots are a perfect extension. The advantages are numerous: increased sanitation is a given since they are specifically built to handle food, accuracy is guaranteed constant, and flexibility is possible as they can detect and learn new operating parameters.

Robots have successfully entered bakeries and are rendering them effective. EnSight Solutions shared with us the difficulties in integrating robotic automation: “The biggest problems I see and have experienced, as an automated bakery owner, are some product irregularities and, when pre-baked, the tenderness of the raw product, especially proofed product. UNproofed is less an issue, but still a concern. After or post-bake breads and rolls have very tender crusts and can be crushed if not handled carefully and gently. But automated bakeries can be producing at rates of very high speeds,” Gary Seiffer, sales representative at EnSight Solutions, said. Staubli Corporation provides the robot manufacturer’s perspective when it comes to robotic arms for baking lines. Challenges arise from ensuring a hygienic design on a small footprint and providing flexibility between low throughput to high throughput solutions.

“Staubli created the HE line to meet these requirements,” Sebastien Schmitt, North American Robotics Division manager (Staubli), told us. “This specific range of 6 axes, Scara, and FAST picker offers our traditional fully enclosed structure but also added features like a particular case design, which prevents retention area (and therefore the proliferation of bacteria), special seals, resistance to temperature changes, and optional pressurization of the arm. All connections go through the base; the entire arm has IP65/67 certification and the wrist – IP67,” he explained. These features make Staubli’s HE robots the perfect robotic solution for processes requiring full hygienic compliance, washdown compatibility, optimized footprint and performance like the baking industry. Bakers and system integrators should look for these elements when purchasing a robotic arm for their projects in primary environments, Schmitt recommends.

Processes that can use robots include greasing, handling pans, cleaning, or turning. Some processes, however, can not: “Raw dough is not 100% like playdough. It can move and roll over, miss-align for downstream movement. Often, bakers have guide bars or panels to control this. Depositing into pans is also done by clam-shell depositors or roller bars to control placement – no robots here,” Seiffer illustrated. “People inspect for rejects and manually remove substandard products to trash bins or other disposal systems like our Likwifier for reclaim. Some companies (in bread especially) may not remove un-sellable products until the slicing room, before shipping. A lot of wasted energy by this point. If we could gauge via camera for color, weight or even shape, we could eliminate some of this problem before proofing or before the packing room,” he adds.

Source: World Bakers


German confectionery sector significantly affected by coronavirus pandemic

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The German confectionery sector has been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with 52% of companies reporting first quarter decreased sales, according to studies from the Federal Association of German Confectionery Industry (BDSI).

As the industry body noted, the results were down to the loss of important sales channels such as department stores and sweets stores that have remained closed for a long time during the covid-19 crisis. This is addition to other key traditional markets including public festivals, which have been banned under present government guidelines as the country, along with the rest of the world, grapples with the pandemic.

According to the research from BDSI, 73% of manufacturers within the confectionery and snack market category said that the current outlook for the rest of this year, would be more challenging than last year. This year’s major international sweets fair, ISM in Cologne (pictured), was staged at the end of January, just as the coronavirus pandemic was taking hold, with the broad range of releases for 2020 unable to subsequently reach markets in the coming months in light of the virus causing widespread disruption to markets.

In addition to decreased domestic sales, the results of the survey found that export markets had also been significantly hit, with 57% of companies recording a sharp downturn in demand for sales in this traditionally strong segment. Within export orders, sales were reported to be down by 64%.

The survey also showed that 84% of companies are affected by the corona pandemic facing human resource challenges, in particular, the lack of available childcare of employees within companies leads to practical problems. In the opinion of the BDSI it is necessary to consistently strengthen the domestic economy policy top priority to be given to jobs and investment to support the national interest.

Bastian Fassin, Chairman of the BDSI said that it was vital that the industry found a way forward through the present crisis. He said: “New regulatory requirements in the current situation are becoming a challenge and small and medium-sized companies can no longer bear additional costs . “What companies need now is relief in corporate taxation and a consequent reduction in bureaucracy, as well as a deferral of bills that are not absolutely necessary. “