According to analysts’ forecasts, almost €800m will be spent in Europe on confectionery products worldwide before the end of 2020 with annual growth rates of up to 4.3% expected by 2025.
Big players such as Mars, Ferrero, Mondelez International, Hershey or Nestlé are growing, while smaller manufacturers are striving to establish a strong position in order to remain competitive. For that reason, confectionery manufacturers of any size consistently have to keep their production facilities up to date in order not to lose ground to the competition.
The environmental awareness on part of consumers has been growing massively for some time, which requires a rethinking of the product packaging: plastic and metal are increasingly being replaced by cardboard-based packaging materials.
Packaging made of mixed materials, such as cardboard boxes with integrated plastic viewing windows, which are still frequently found at present, are becoming less and less common for environmental reasons. In the best case, confectionery produces no waste or at least only little waste that can easily be recycled – confectionery manufacturers cannot ignore this trend either.
In addition, consumers see chocolate as a luxury product and attach great importance to aesthetics and perfection both in the actual product and in its packaging. For manufacturers, this trend means that they have to invest in flexible manufacturing processes with high throughput to ensure that they repeatedly win and renew the consumer interest for their products.
Minebea Intec is at the forefront of production and packaging for the confectionery industry and a leading global product and solution provider with its powerful, state-of-the-art weighing and inspection solutions for this industry help producers to increase their efficiency.
"For confectionery manufacturers, the variety of products as well as processing and packaging quality are key factors in order to drive their business successfully in tough industry competition," said Nick Parsons, Deputy CSO at Minebea Intec.
Only with efficient, flexible and fast processes can manufacturers produce their confectionery with the required productivity, he told ConfectioneryNews.
"We recently developed a high-speed checkweighing solution that reliably weighs chocolate packages with a small footprint at speeds of up to 600 pieces per minute. To save space in the production line, the system simultaneously performs the metal detection control point, too,” said Parsons. “Speaking of space: Minebea Intec also offers customised multi-lane systems, where telescopic separators of up to six lanes solve the legislative and process weighing requirements ensuring packages at the right weight at high speed with limited production space. Wherever there is a need, we help find a solution.”
Intuitive software solutions
Behind all confectionery production is the desire to comply with legal requirements, improve product quality and increase production efficiency. SPC@Enterprise combines statistical process control and pre-packaging goods checking, meeting the legislative requirements in one innovative tool and helps to identify and realise potential savings
“Our customers use the powerful software to increase efficiency and maintain consistent product quality. Not only Minebea Intec systems, but also other input devices can be connected to achieve this. We do not exclude devices from other manufacturers – for us the needs of the customer comes first,” said Parsons.