Developments in smart, connected technologies are driving innovations in snack food equipment. Sophisticated feedback controls and digitally-enabled operating systems aid in the accurate, consistent, and flexible processing and packaging of snack foods, allowing them to adapt to new trends.
The snacks processing equipment market innovations mainly pertain to the new extrusion equipment, mixers, and dryers. Extrusion is among the most commonly used food processing techniques. Extruders allow for the preparation of a diverse array of food products. In recent years, extrusion technology has led to the development of third-generation food products. Additionally, developments in extrusion processing have improved product textures, further improving opportunities for co-extruded snacks and bars with creamy fills and crispy outer shells. Extruded encapsulated flavors are used as food ingredients for numerous food products. Extruders allow for dispersion of the sensitive flavors in the matrix and provide extended shelf life for aromatic foods.
Developments in the new ancillary equipment are mainly focused on enhancing textures and eating characteristics. The technological advancements in extrusion have resulted in a more economic, efficient process, with the requirement of fewer resources at a lower cost. For instance, Clextral S.A.S (France) developed Evolum+ Twin-Screw Extrusion Flex Line for extrusion, drying, and coating. This system was designed to meet the market needs of high-capacity production, process flexibility, efficiency, and quick product changeover.
Bakery Concepts International, LLC (U.S.) has designed a mixer with the brand name—Rapidojet. The company has claimed a 90% reduction in mixing energy, 80% reduction in labor, increased yield, low maintenance costs, and continuous production. Furthermore, the demand for nuts and seeds is growing, increasing the need for precision in blending individual nut verities. To achieve this, TNA Australia Pty Limited (Australia) has developed a mixing system for dry or wet products to achieve high mixing accuracy, exact recipe control, and reduced ingredient cost.
U.S.-based Key Technology, Inc. has developed a digital sorter named VERYX for nuts and dried fruits to identify and remove foreign material and defects. This sorter helps sort walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and other nuts and fruits. This sorter has improved the precision and accuracy of the production process.
Growing demand for healthy snacking has led to the introduction of low-fat snack food to the market. This has enhanced the developments in the applicator/dryers and their associated processing components. These types of equipment allow for the use of fat-free gums. Fat-free gums replace the need for the addition of fat, thereby greatly reducing the total caloric content from fat in the finished snack food. This technology has allowed for the addition of sweeteners and savory spices without adding fat.
Market players are also launching new snack food manufacturing equipment. For instance, in July 2021, Multivac Group launched new thermoforming packaging equipment for snack products. The equipment is mainly intended for small and medium businesses. Earlier, in October 2020, India-based food processing equipment company Kanchan Metals (P) Ltd. announced the launch of a new range of western-style snack food processing equipment in India. These snack food processing machines are ideal for cheese balls, corn curls, corn rings, and other extruded snacks.
Thus, increasing technological advancements in snacks processing equipment such as mixers and extruders are expected to drive the growth of this market. According to Meticulous Research®, the global snacks processing equipment market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% to reach $1.80 billion by 2029.
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