Pecan Deluxe Candy (Europe) has invested in a €300,000 Yamato multihead check weigher, which can operate up to 100 bags per minute, to meet increasing demand for inclusions in products such as ice cream, desserts, cookies and donuts.
The investment will increase the company’s bagging capability by up to 400% and reduces the time frozen goods are exposed to ambient conditions. The transition time can be adjusted for delicate products or 150mm width bag sizes to 60mm for sachets.
Cold extrusions plant
Graham Kingston, MD, Pecan Deluxe Candy (Europe), told FoodProductionDaily it plans to move to a bigger factory in Leeds by October next year because it has outgrown its current facilities.
The company celebrates the one year anniversary of its European cold extrusions plant this month and received the BRC (British Retail Consortium) food safety Grade A certification this week.
“The Yamato system was constructed to Pecan Deluxe’s bespoke specifications and follows another investment in a European cold extrusions plant last year,” he said.
“The multihead weigher caters for individual portions, from as little as 8g to 2kg. It’s the first time we worked with the Japanese manufacturer. It pitched for the business alongside several companies and we gave them the specification of what we needed.
“The previous technology was from the archives, it was over 30 years old. We had to buy a bigger machine to secure our contracts. We couldn’t risk having it break down. This check weigher gives us a very precise weight of each of the bags.”
1950 Pecan Deluxe was founded by J.C Brigham in Texas, who made his own ice cream and the candy that went with it.
1960 The company expanded its ice cream inclusions to other companies. The need for a separate facility led to the division of the ice cream and candy business. Pecan builds a candy facility.
1965 J.C Brigham’s son, Bennie, takes over the business. He expands the retail ice cream store to over 65 locations.
1983 Retail business is sold to concentrate on Pecan Deluxe.
2000 Pecan Deluxe expands into the UK market and buys Harriet Websters in Yorkshire.
2014 The firm expands into Thailand
Kingston said the equipment will be utilised for its QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) customers and food manufacturers looking to do small portions of inclusions which go as a component of another product, for example, a sachet of popping candy which goes into a shake or over a desert, small portions of fudge within a cake mix, or sprinkles for donuts.
“We offer the most varied product range of specific sized bespoke flavours and textures. We add value to basic products such as changing the texture and flavour of plain ice cream with special components to enhance the taste experience for the consumer,” he said.
“We work with some of the biggest brand confection firms in the industry because they have such massive production runs, they can’t do it themselves. Similarly, most food service outlets can’t handle bulk packaging formats so we produce a smaller specific size, which is suitable for optimal use and they can tip them into dispensers.
“We are a niche provider of those kinds of products so we can be more flexible and get more specifications for applications, for enhancement, decoration, and texture. Products include cookie dough, caramel cups and mini chocolates.
“The biggest changes we’ve seen over the years are allergen segregation such as nuts, genetically modified ingredients, certification of products, Fairtrade and a move to provenance to show where raw materials have come from. We have to be very astute as to what regulations are in force.”
Cookie dough trend
Kingston added the biggest trend from the US which is taking hold across Europe right now is the ability to make cookie dough - taking mixing bowl ingredients, which are traditionally used to make cookies, and using it as a desert in its own right without being baked.
“This is where our purpose built cold extrusion facility comes in, to produce different sizes, shapes and flavour profiles of white chocolate dough. Consumers buy in bulk, or in a different frozen format, some people use the dough to bake it into cookie or put it into ice cream and deserts,” he said.
“Now, with our BRC Grade A certification we can continue doing business on a blue chip scale with large global customers around the world. We currently have a plant in Dallas, US, Thailand and the UK. These also serve our other markets in Europe, Russia and the Middle East.
"We started producing halal products for our Middle East customers two years ago and moved away from pork gelatine into beef gelatine for marshmellows which is accepted by the halal community.”