APV has announced that its single zone Flexiflame burner for biscuit ovens will be 25 per cent cheaper and prices for the five zone version will be slashed by 35 per cent in an effort to get more new customers. The company said price cuts had been made possible through "supply chain efficiencies" and not changes to the product.
The plan is to convince more bakers that Flexiflame is a premium product worth paying for. "We find that people who have got them love them, and continue to buy them. But other people look at the price and are put off," said Keith Graham, of APV.
Graham said that the company also plans to launch a pilot scheme in the United States in the next few months whereby APV will offer to run a data logger through a company's oven system to show the temperature variation inside. Uneven temperatures in the oven obviously affect product quality, possibly leading to poor texture and colour as well as over and under cooked products.
APV hopes to use the logger to demonstrate how its Flexiflame burners would be worth the extra cost because their superior heating ability will reduce wastage. The group already describes Flexiflame as a "key tool ensuring uniform flavour, texture and appearance".
And APV's pro-active get-what-you-pay-for strategy is likely to put other equipment suppliers under pressure to follow suit, although the company claimed it was not looking for a price war and would not sell Flexiflames at a loss.
Still, price cuts by one of the world's biggest premium suppliers are likely to reverberate down the market. The company claims that Flexiflames "provide up to twice the heat output of conventional balancing burners, making them particularly effective in the critical early stages of the baking process".
The width of each flame section can also be adjusted without removing the burners and workers can gain instant access to the mixer jets for inspection and cleaning.
The second prong of APV's assault on the market will come at the much anticipated Interpack 2005 expo, to be held on the 21st - 27th April in Düsseldorf, Germany, where the company will launch a range of new products. Details of these have not yet been released.