Granola bars, energy bars enriched with fibre and bagels with toppings represent challenging packaging formats – but not insurmountable, writes Assistant Editor Joseph Clarke
On-the-go snacking and the continued growth of the energy bar market have coincided with trends like health and wellness to oversee the creation of healthier snacks offering convenience and portion control for consumers. The packaging machines creating these individual packs need to be smart and savvy, to ensure uniform, sealed packs but with unique requirements like handling sticky energy bars with sensitive ingredients such as protein and fibre, gently.
On-the-go snacking is on the rise with consumers looking for a quick and portable affordable indulgence like muffins, cookies and doughnuts which can be enjoyed as a delicious breakfast or speedy treat. The popularity of on-the-go snacking to consumers concerned with convenience and portion control has demonstrated how one trend can influence the design of packaging and subsequently, packaging machines to service this market.
Flexible packaging pouches serve on-the-go snacking well as they can be portable and accessible. Features such as easy-to-open seals and maintaining freshness are important as consumers don’t want to fiddle with the opening of the pack. Of course, this is all while providing a steadfast packaging format that protects the baked good or snack from contamination and moisture content – its purpose, first and foremost.
Subsequently, packaging machines that can create flexible pouches or packages with easy resealability have driven the growth of flexible pouch filling machines – in particular vertical form, fill and seal machines – flow wrapping and secondary packaging machines. Cookies, biscuits and bars are often packaged using the flow wrapping method because they deliver an airtight pack, can be an economic use of film to save costs and are easily adjusted.
Sink your teeth into healthy snacks
Meanwhile, snacking and health and wellness trends have coincided to drive the growth of natural snacks like energy and granola bars. They’re convenient, easy to carry and have been touted as the snack of consumers leading active lifestyles – or, in recent years, looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle. “The way we snack has definitely changed over the past few years and so have consumer expectations on the product itself,” confirmed Sekhar Chakkingal, Sales Manager at TNA in a press release. “A lot of consumers are leading extremely busy lives and are looking for healthy, on-the-go snacks that deliver everything – taste, convenience and nutrition. This is good news for companies like Riverside which specialise in the manufacture of certified organic, highly nutritious snacks.”
In a case study with Riverside, the chosen solution was installing two tna robag 3ci VFFS packaging systems. Using rotary double jaws means energy bar packs can be done efficiently and at speed. These bars which are often formulated with natural ingredients, need to be taken into account for the packaging process. Since the chosen product being packaged was mini granola bars with fine materials like seeds, flakes and grains, tna also installed cross feeders with integrated sifters to remove any small particles that could wreak havoc on the line.
Product in seal detection (PSID) technology also works to detect any unwanted products or particles and in response, triggers a reject mechanism. Using this kind of technology enables the operator on the line to remove bags for further inspection…
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