A growing global population, alongside rising concerns surrounding climate change, means consumers are calling on manufacturers to limit the estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food that go to waste each year.
Shoppers are no longer willing to support a disposable approach to consumption – especially when it comes to precious resources like food. In Germany, 58 percent of people surveyed say they never discard edible food, while 75 percent of UK consumers are concerned about food waste – a sentiment mirrored in the U.S., where 66 percent of Montana residents say the issue bothers them “a lot."
As a result, consumers are demanding greater responsibility from brands when it comes to food waste. Identifying areas throughout the gummy production process and wider value chain where efficiencies can be made will be critical to tackling the world’s food waste problem.
So, what does this mean for gummy manufacturers?
Sugar coating the problem
In gummy processing, the biggest opportunity for food waste comes at the finishing stage, when sugar coatings, citric acid powder or oil are added. Traditionally, sugar is applied by running products through a steam bath to make the exterior tacky. They are then passed through a sugar curtain before being tumbled in a seasoning drum. This process can cause delicately moulded shapes to melt in the heat the steamer. Additionally, the sugar curtain seasoning method can be difficult to standardize across batches, leading to inconsistencies and excess raw material usage.
Brands can overcome these challenges by adopting a more accurate, recipe-focused approach to gummy finishing. Advanced solutions such the tna intelli-flav OMS 5 on-machine seasoning system can accurately coat each gummy using a tacking agent to adhere the seasoning, rather than heat. This ensures even product coverage without affecting any finer details of the moulded gummy. This method uses the exact amount of sugar, acid powder or other flavoring ingredient required to coat the product, resulting in a more consistent, high-quality product – all while reducing seasoning wastage.
Putting a wrap on food waste
As well as considering the risk of food waste during gummy processing, it’s equally important to look at the packaging stage of the production line. Packaging equipment auxiliary features, such as integrated stripper tube-closers and product in-seal detection (PISD) systems, minimize the chance of sugar or candy pieces becoming trapped in the pack seal area, therefore helping to ensure pack seal integrity.
As more manufacturers switch to recyclable packaging materials, design features like the short web path included on the tna robag FX 3e help prevent more pliable films from stretching, thereby maintaining the strength of the final bag. By implementing these solutions, brands can limit pack rejections and unnecessary plastic and food waste, building a more profitable operation in the process.
Progress towards more sustainable confectionery production operations always starts by making small, incremental improvements. By investing in specialized processing and packaging technology, manufacturers can begin to refine their resource usage and take advantage of improved operational efficiencies along the way.