Grain and Protein Bars are a quick and convenient source of energy for health-conscious consumers. According to a study by the Institute of Food Technology (IFT), purchasing decisions are driven primarily by three desires: to increase muscle mass, lose weight, and improve athletic performance. But manufacturers of healthy lifestyle bars (unlike manufacturers of regular muesli bars) should consider other factors as well.
In 2017, the volume of global trade in healthy lifestyle products, protein or fruit bars already amounted to about one billion dollars. And this is far from the limit. Annual growth is expected to be 5.4% through 2022. The potential of this product group remains interesting. Large market presence of conventional muesli bars can target new target groups, and fitness specialty pastry chefs can reach health-conscious consumers with a wide variety of bars. And last but not least, the manufacturers of this product are constantly looking for new combinations of ingredients and their fresh ideas to bring innovative products to the market.
However, it is not enough just to have the courage to combine unusual or incompatible ingredients in one bar. The production of these small "pieces of energy" is far from easy. For example, sweeteners such as honey or agave nectar provide a natural flavor, but their increased stickiness interferes with production processes, contaminating equipment. And some natural ingredients, such as nuts or dried fruits, create an uneven texture in the product, which must be taken into account when molding and packaging the bars. In addition, natural ingredients require careful handling and deteriorate easily. Therefore, the hygiene conditions in the production and packaging line must meet high standards to ensure optimal food safety. Today, food safety is not just an option, but a fundamental part of every manufacturing process.
In addition to efficient and reliable processes for cleaning parts of the line, it is preferable that the entire system is designed with hygiene in mind. Good visibility, easy access and sloping, easy-to-clean surfaces help to detect and quickly remove dirt and product residues at an early stage. When conveyor belts and other components can be dismantled easily and without tools, efficient and fast cleaning is no longer a problem.
For example, in our bar production lines , the forming and sizing drums are equipped with water heating systems. This avoids sticking of the mass and obtains a perfectly even layer. And the cooling device provides for cooling the bottom of the product, which allows not only to avoid sticking of the mass to the belt, but also to speed up the structuring process.
Gentle handling of delicate products
Depending on the starting point, production volume and available equipment, Akmalko Engineering offers manufacturers a range of automation solutions for the automation of the production of cereal, fruit, protein and fitness bars. Process automation not only increases productivity, but also improves food safety. The elimination of manual processes, such as the formation of cases and their placement on the conveyor belt, means that production personnel no longer need to touch each item, and the automatic feeding of the product into the packaging machine significantly improves product hygiene and quality. In addition, rejects and waste are significantly reduced thanks to the gentle handling of fragile bars. Our experts help manufacturers find the right technical solution to ensure smooth and reliable manufacturing processes for high quality products that will ultimately satisfy both consumers and retailers.