Encouraging signs for equipment and finished product development

Having spent several days covering Anuga FoodTec last week, it was encouraging to see the sheer diversity of equipment and trends being unveiled at the show.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, there were in fact some intriguing developments relevant to the confectionery and bakery sectors, particularly in regard to automation systems.

The challenge of integrating ever-higher levels of automation into production lines is something that represents a key challenge for all sectors of industry. For those visiting Anuga, it was clear that it’s a task companies are fast engaging with in unveiling a raft of solutions including equipment energy saving features and introducing a refined array of robotics for packaging.

As you will see from our review of the show in our next edition, there were some strong machinery lines showcased during the four-day trade fair, some of which had been seen recently at ISM and ProSweets. However, there were a few unexpected gems as well.

One of the aspects I particularly enjoyed and found heartening to see was the space dedicated to the next generation of technicians, engineers and designers for the food sector, with some engaging displays of students work as part of the event.

The overall impression from proceedings in Cologne last week was one of considerable progress having been made across a number of major segments in equipment and systems development.

So it was also somewhat encouraging to examine a report from research company Mintel this week which highlights the fact that the rate of equipment development is being matched by a rise in finished product releases.

According the organisation’s findings, the range of Easter chocolate confectionery releases were up 23% on a global level compared with last year. The research also highlighted that the UK’s love affair with confectionery is far from waning, with Brits consuming the most chocolate in the world (8.3kg per year, followed very closely by Switzerland and Germany.

While growing health concerns are rightly influencing consumers choice of products, it seems that the phenomenon of occasional luxury treats is one that is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

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