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.
Third-party logistics (3PL), the use of a third-party business to outsource elements of a company's distribution and order fulfillment services, can help snack producers and bakeries deliver their products more effectively. 3PL providers specialize in integrated warehousing and transportation services that can be customized to meet customers' needs based on market conditions.
New packaging materials and technologies are available to keep snack and bakery products fresh over the course of their expected shelf life, and to actually extend that shelf life. These innovations include modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP) solutions and active packaging, often in combination with the latest packaging material technology.
Sanitary equipment design is essential to ensuring food safety in the snack and bakery industry. To that end, the Baking Industry Sanitation Standards Committee (BISSC) has established standards and guidelines for the design and operation of equipment.
Technologies that maintain and track temperatures in environments for finished products, from point-of-storage in snack and bakery facilities through distribution to the end customer, are becoming more connected.
Greater product variety and increasing consumer attention to quality are among key factors driving snack producers and bakeries to update their inspection and detection equipment with models that, among other features, detect ever-smaller foreign objects and reduce false rejects.
The latest form/fill/seal (FFS) packaging systems are designed to accommodate a wide range of packaging options at high speeds while ensuring food safety via sanitary design. The systems combine flexibility and automation, as they often need to pack different products on the same line. In addition, new designs enable quick changeover.
Cold-chain management—an essential aspect of many snack and bakery operations today—has entered a brave new world characterized by sophisticated temperature monitoring and tracking technology connected by the Internet of Things (IoT).