Selb, February 14, 2014 – The confectionery industry is facing new challenges. On the one hand, there is growing concern about con-tamination during the production of confectionery masses and, on the other hand, product diversity is increasing. This is why new solutions will be necessary for the production chain – issues that will be a focal point at the Interpack 2014.
Chocolate and filled chocolate candies, delicately melting coatings and delicious spreads are symbolic of emotions: the desire for indulgence, the love of detail and an intuition for extraordinary recipes. However, emotions are based on trust and the trust the consumer has in these products is only secure if they are impeccably hygienic.
Netzsch Confectionery anticipated these challenges and has been working intensively on higher standards for the machines and equipment used in the production of confectionery goods. Verbalizing the observed market trends, Theron W. Harbs, Managing Director of Netzsch Confectionery, remarked, "Until now, production planning was focused on high throughput, but that meant a more limited variety of products. Now that product ranges are becoming more diversified, the quantities produced from each batch are decreasing. That is why we must shift our focus to the future."
Consequently, economy and efficiency of cleaning procedures and devices will be the focus of our attention. "Under previous conditions, pro-duction residue in the system or effects from cross-contamination were of lesser importance," stated Harbs, concluding: "Not only does that reduce the flexibility when changing product lines, but also the utilization of the system and therefore the economy as well."
In addition to the usual organoleptic and rheologic perfection, a sustainable process for the production of confectionery masses must also offer assurances with regard to the purity of the formulation and the microbiological conditions. Consequently, for both hygienic and economic reasons, Netzsch Confectionery believes that a new generation of systems with automated cleaning is essential. This optimization would benefit both continuous mono-production and frequent product changes, which could be carried out more quickly.
Until now, compared to the milk processing, beverage or even the pharmaceutical industry, confectionery manufacturers have enjoyed a clear advantage with regard to verifiable aseptic production: cocoa acts as an antioxidant, sugar as a natural preservative and the water content of most confectionery masses, and thus the risk of contamination, are extremely low. In contrast to many other industrial production processes, the confectionery industry operates at high temperatures and in a dry environment. The dominant raw materials such as sugar, cocoa and most of the fats are inherently benign with regard to microbiology.
Nevertheless, the modern consumer is placing increasing value on quality assurance, even with emotionally-marked items such as confectionary products – both for the raw materials and, even more, for processing. For the manufacturer, this means specifically that the demand for high-quality, hygienically processed products will increase, as will the requirement for more transparent, comprehensive information about the product and the manufacturing process. It is also likely that official inspection agencies will assess the hygiene and quality of the production of confectionery masses more strictly in the future. All in all, it can be assumed that the bar will be raised higher than ever before for these production plants.