Around 17,000 trade visitors from over 100 countries registered to attend this year’s ProSweets Cologne, the first to take place during the same year as international packaging trade fair Interpack. The share of foreign visitors was around 65 per cent, according to organisers Koelnmesse.
“With its focus on the needs of the innovative industry, ProSweets Cologne also competently satisfied the demand again this year,” said Katharina Hamma, chief operating officer at Koelnmesse. “The 211 exhibitors of the trade fair reported that the contacts were excellent and plenty of orders were placed. They expressly praised the high decision making competence of the discussion partners.”
She added, “Many customers are exhibitors of ISM, who parallel to their trade discussions, also took advantage of the opportunity to meet up with the supplier industry.”
Here, we highlight what was on show at ProSweets, from ingredients to packaging solutions and processing equipment.
Göteborgs Food Budapest ZRT presented its range of compound coatings, which is the company’s main product category. They are used or enrobing, decoration, pancoating, solid moulding and shell moulding. The range includes dark, milk and white chocolate varieties. It also produces chocolate and fondant products, as well as fillings, spreads and ice cream toppings. Göteborgs is able to produce batches from 500kg up to 25,000kg tankers, supplying products from packaging 10kg up to 1,000 litre stainless steel containers.
Food ingredients supplier GNT showcased its colouring foods in various applications, which it says help to meet various trends such as clean label, clear label, free from and healthy snacking. The company’s colouring foods, which are made from fruit and vegetables, are used in small percentages to enhance the colour of a final product. Speaking at the trade show, Petra Thiele, managing director at GNT Europe, told Confectionery Production, “We expect new customers, but we are also talking to find out the needs of our existing customers.”
Commenting on the benefits of its colouring foods, Thiele said, “This is a great opportunity for us to help the industry to improve products towards more natural, but also at the same time without compromising on the colour shades of their products.”
There is also crossover of trends between different sectors. What you can see is you have certain trends in different categories, which have moved to the confectionery industry such as homemade lemonades and tea infusions with different herbs,” Thiele explained. “I think you can see more crossover.”
GNT also presented its virtual supermarket, with a confectionery shelf. “We try to communicate our front of pack claim to help the consumer to make an easy choice,” Thiele said.
She added that this refers to having ‘coloured with fruit and vegetables’ on the pack as opposed to ‘without’ a certain ingredient, which is on most confectionery and snack packaging. “It’s a negative message in a way because it doesn’t contain something, but at the end of the day, what does it contain?”
Functional ingredients supplier Norevo used the trade show to launch Quick Mixx. The texturiser enables the production of uncooked chewy masses with a Z-kneader. The waiver of a cooking process has various advantages which the company says can be beneficial for both manufacturers of chewy sweets, as well as producers of chewing gum or other confectionery.
For Thew Arnott, which specialises in raw materials for food and other industries, ProSweets was a success. European sales manager Nick Hewitt said, “At this year’s ProSweets, we saw a great deal of interest from buyers in products that allow them to make ‘cleaner’ and more natural claims on confectionery.”
The company showcased its range of AraTAs confectionery polishes, varnishes and anti-sticking products, demonstrating new innovations in the field. Buyers were keen to talk about Thew Arnott’s shellac-free polishing systems and Zein, a natural, odourless, tasteless and edible, vegan alternative to shellac that is suitable for many encapsulation, coating and adhesive applications.
“Having recently secured Soil Association certification, we were also promoting our organic offerings including guar gum and locust bean gum products, supplied on behalf of product partner German based, CE Roeper, along with a new range of organic products specifically for use in confectionery – very much a trend in the current market,” Hewitt added.
Edible coatings producer Mantrose-Haeuser used the show to present its naturally flavoured confectionery glazes in Europe. Available in orange and peppermint, they are suitable for panned chocolates, including chocolate covered crispies, raisins and nuts, as well as for soft and hard sugar shell confectionery, non-pareils, sprinkles and sugar crystals. The features and benefits of these glazes are said to include a high gloss finish, no need for separate melting pots, prolonged shelf life, barrier protection and scuff resistance.
As well as its Candy2Gum concept, Wacker Chemie also unveiled what it claims to be the world’s first 3D printing process to use chewing gum. Capiva 3D is a novel product formulation specifically for printable gum, which can be formed in various shapes and sizes. During a presentation, the company said single layers of gum are gradually built up, but the speed of the printer depends on the complexity of the chewing gum product. Wacker revealed that the resolution of the product was a challenge in terms of how thin each layer of the chewing gum is. However, the table top machine “will never replace regular gum,” noted Dr Martin Seizl, director of gum at Wacker Biosolutions, the company’s life science division.
The group currently has two machines working in parallel to produce candy that turns into chewing gum. Flavours at the show included sugarised lemon, sugarised chocolate, sugar free coffee and sugar free mint. (See page 33 for more information on the company’s Candy2Gum technology).
Wolf Spezialmaschinen displayed its belt coater DRA 1600 and lab belt coating machine DRA – 500. During the last year, the company has been working to enhance its belt coating systems for chocolate. It is designed for three-shift operation and is equipped with an automatic belt cleaning system. The heated scraper and the new chocolate spray-dose system (patent pending) in particular, which are installed within the cabin, have minimised the chocolate build-up on the belt and made cleaning intervals between batches largely unnecessary, the group argues. This in turn lessens the proportion of rework chocolate accumulated, resulting in cost savings. Other machines on show included Wolf’s UF 500 chocolate tempering machine for dry ingredients up to 30 per cent and its UF-200 hybrid tempering machine to feed special chocolate decorating depositors.
GR Industrial Engineering showcased its automatic panning and moulding equipment. The Automatic Drum for chocolate panning uses self-cleaning heated spray nozzles to control the particle size of the droplets applied to the product. This equipment supplies treated air to the centres according to a recipe defined by the control system. With three independent dosification stages, the company’s Universal Moulding Machine is used to produce filled bars and bonbons. The first is for making the exterior shell, the second for adding the filling and the third is for sealing the product.
Confectionery machine manufacturer Kruger & Salecker, which highlighted its moulding lines, said there is a trend in Europe for moulding machines for protein bars and healthier products such as fruit snacks. The benefits of its moulding line for cereal based products include gentle forming without cutting and no waste during production, according to the company. In addition, it is fully automatic and production can change from round to rectangular products quickly.
Food machine manufacturer Vemag presented its portion and forming machines, as well as its dough portioners. Its Portioner MMP223, used for bakery applications, has a capacity of 200 portions with a single lane and 400 portions with double lane output per minute. The product is always properly separated even at the highest portioning rate. This way, products with a high portion of nuts, almonds, chocolate chips and dried fruit get a good cross-section. The company agreed with Kruger & Salecker that there is a trend towards protein and energy bars.
Lekos showcased its range of machines for confectionery and bakery production, including chocolate moulding lines, enrobing lines, drop lines, depositors, cooling tunnels and tempering machines. Its moulding line range includes ‘race track’ – lines with loose moulds, particularly for the production of unfilled and filled tablets, bars and pralines, as well as its so called ‘monoblock’ – lines with moulds fixed to the chain, for the manufacture of plain and ingredient chocolate tablets and bars.
Used equipment provider Ecomec was pleased with the show, according to managing director Greg Meredith, who noted that the company had a lot of interest at its stand. “Because our particular sector of the industry is used equipment, we never have a standard range of machinery,” he explained. “We often get a lot of enquiries for things we can’t supply, but that’s just the nature of what we do.”
As well as selling used equipment for the production of chocolate, confectionery, biscuits and wafers, the group also buys used machinery. Meredith continued, “For us, this or any exhibition is a place to buy and sell. Sometimes people are coming to buy and sometimes people are coming to buy from us.”
One of the problems Ecomec faces, however, is finding machines. “We are continually looking for machines,” Meredith notes. “It’s very easy in our business to sell something. Sometimes, it’s finding it that’s the hardest thing.”
With many of Ecomec’s customers at ISM, Meredith said, “What we’ve seen here is a lot of owner/managers who like to come to see new products. They go up to the ISM. That’s why it works. People are coming just to have a look at the competition in the ISM. They might not be exhibiting, but they’ll come and have a look and see what’s new.”
Schur Flexibles Group presented a range of new solutions, including its thin films. Holger Schrön, sales manager for DACH at Schur Flexibles Group, explained, “Thin films means we reduce the thickness of packaging material, especially when we talk about aluminium and some of our customers use for wraps of hollow figures or tablets, something like 12 micron aluminium and we have developed a solution to use a 6.5 micron aluminium and laminate with a printed 3.8 micron OPV so we can reduce the packaging material around the product and we can also reduce the costs a little bit, which gives benefits for our clients and of course for the environment to use less material.”
There has been a trend to reduce packaging materials for many years, he noted, adding that the company’s clients also want to use less packaging for each product.
Commenting on wider trends within the food industry, Schrön said, “There are some big discussions in Germany about mineral oil in food, not only in chocolate, but also in cereals, rice, everywhere.
“This is one of the trends – to find materials, especially when we talk about confectionery, with a barrier against these mineral oils. If you have a mineral oil free product, you avoid something going through the packaging materials into the product.”
He added, “This gives [us] the opportunity to find new customers because they have all the same problem and if you have some experience you can sometimes adapt the solution for one client to the other one, and so it’s a good opportunity to create new business.”
Cleaning systems provider Hildebrand highlighted its portfolio of products and services, ranging from planning through to production. Its range is used in confectionery and chocolate manufacturing to wash moulds, for example. Its Combiflex mould cleaning systems are designed for the stationary cleaning of chocolate moulds. They are modular in design, according to the company, and can be customised for certain applications.
With the group’s Jumboflex transport container cleaning system, manufacturers can clean up to 4,000 containers an hour. It is said to be economical, environmentally friendly and efficient.
Washing equipment supplier Nerkon highlighted its Progress series of packaging washing machines. Progress 501-400 combines the washing of crates, moulds, trays, pallets and barrels in one machine. With a capacity of 600 items per hour, the modular conveyor one-lane washing device has an adjustable width of guidance and lateral washing and drying nozzles, which are automatically adjusted to an optimal distance from the item to be washed.
Next year, ProSweets Cologne will once again take place alongside ISM from 28-31 January.