Co-extrusion system enhancements improve control and performance
- Product Development
It has also created opportunities for the company in the high-value healthcare market.
MALA’S is a 60-year-old family owned company based near Pune in Maharashtra. It specialises in processed fruit products that include jam, crushes, mocktails, syrups, squashes, sauces and honey.
Their signature confectionery product is a strawberry shaped and flavoured soft pectin jelly, utilising local fruit and sugar.
The product had been made on two low-output Chinese depositors, and was marketed under MALA’S own brand and by other companies via co-packing. With demand for their own brand high, and additional enquiries for co-packing, MALA’S had reached a point at which expansion was imperative.
An easy choice would have been to install an additional low-output depositor, but after contact with Baker Perkins’ Indian agent 3P Solutions, followed by trials in the Baker Perkins Innovation Centre at Peterborough, it became clear that by switching to a single, high-output line, not only would MALA’S achieve the increase in output they needed, but they would also see improvements in product quality, production efficiency and line reliability that would take the business to a higher level.
The 850 kg/hour Microfilm™ cooking and Servoform™ depositing line now commissioned at MALA’S made a rapid impact. It has more capacity than the two previous depositing lines combined and also provides greater product flexibility, with the cooker and depositor able to produce a wider range of soft confectionery recipes. For example, carrageenan can now be added to give a firmer texture, and fruit pastes can be readily handled.
The moulds are easily changed, enabling the product range to be expanded and as well as 3-D jellies the line may also be used to produce 2-D shapes, simply by changing the moulds.
The quality and definition of the 3-D strawberry product is markedly improved. This, and the reputation of the ServoForm™ depositor, quickly led to enquiries from potential new customers in the healthcare sector, where jellies fortified with vitamins, Omega 3, minerals, fibre, protein and energy supplements is a high growth sector.
The benefits of starch-free depositing in delivering consistency in size, weight and appearance – crucially in a totally hygienic environment – have led to rapid expansion of jellies and gummies in the healthcare sector, where high quality supports high pricing and healthcare positioning.
3-D jellies can be deposited in one or two colours; with stripes and layers; with solid or soft centre-fills; and with inclusions such as real fruit pieces. The process uses quick-setting jelly formulations, typically pectin- or carrageenan-based. Intricate 3-D shapes such as MALA’S are not possible with a starch moulding system such as a mogul, which can only handle 2-dimensional jellies with a flat top or base.
Depositing is increasingly the process of choice for confectioners wanting to develop original, high-quality jellies. It is suitable for starch, starch gelatin or pectin jellies in solid, striped, layered or centre-filled varieties. Depositing offers greater quality and production flexibility: simultaneous production of several different products is possible. Depositing offers substantially lower capital and operating costs than traditional methods such as starch moguls, die forming, or cut-and-wrap.
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