Michael Connelly, sales director at Foss North America, said snack makers were shifting focus from regular quality checks on things like moisture to nutritional measurements.
“The need to measure protein, fat and salt contents – those types of things – is becoming much more critical in the process,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“Protein is more of a concern these days. Obviously with the different types of nutritionals coming out, everybody is focused on the protein content, lower fat content, and maximizing the protein. So that’s been a huge difference.”
In-line over lab analysis
Traditionally, Connelly said nutritionals used to be analyzed as grab samples in laboratories but the the pros of in-line analysis was driving a shift.
“This is real-time analysis that you can actually integrate into your production control so that the analyzer is providing real-time feedback and even using control systems that are running your production process to keep something within control limits or a specified target.
“So, rather than having to take a sample, run it to the lab and make a manual adjustment, it’s everything being fully automated within the process so that you’re always ensuring a consistent product with 100% measurement and documentation in your production.”
He said in-line analysis currently represented 5-10% of business but was set to soar to 20-30% over the next 5-7 years, driven by demand from manufacturers and ingredient suppliers.
“Percentage-wise, business is growing exponentially on the in-line side, compared to the lab side.”
Nutrition spotlight and stricter policing
Connelly said regulatory agencies were taking a tougher stance on policing nutrition claims, particularly with likes of the Nutrition Facts Panel and other label issues in the spotlight.
State and federal agencies routinely checked snack products on nutrition claims and other label aspects, he said.
“We’re working more with suppliers of snack foods to help them better control their processes, ensure the nutritionals meet the requirements of the customer and that they’re adding the additional new information that consumers are looking for from a nutritional perspective, maybe on the fiber side or overall calories or dietary side.”