The bread market is booming. Technavio predicts that growth in the global bread market will accelerate through 2024, reaching nearly $87 billion. In the United States, the retail packaged bread market is expected to surpass $24 billion by 2026, driven mostly by the sale of fresh bread.
While bread has perennial appeal, the type of bread that consumers want has changed drastically in the past several years. This has been reflected in the rise in popularity of artisan bread, as well as demand for products like organic bread, whole grain bread, and even gluten-free and low-carb bread.
The bread production equipment landscape has also changed. This is due to a variety of reasons, including consumer demands, the regulatory environment, and processors’ need to increase productivity and efficiency. If you’re launching a new product or building a new industrial bread production line, here are seven things to look for when purchasing equipment.
Gentle handling for artisan-style doughs
Artisan-style doughs are typically both wetter and gassier than the doughs used for traditional sandwich breads. Because of these properties, they need to be handled more gently. Production equipment for artisan-style breads needs to be designed so that the dough doesn’t stick and also so it’s not worked too much. For example, our dough sheeting line has no falling heights and uses specially designed reduction rollers that gently stretch the dough without degassing it.
A weighing system attached to a guillotine cutter
Because artisan doughs are gassy, the size of a piece of dough may not accurately reflect its weight. That’s why a weighing system is necessary to ensure consistent portions. On today’s best equipment, a weighing system weighs the dough sheet and sends a signal to the guillotine cutter to speed up or slow down so you get an exact portion every time.
A seeding conveyor
Even if you don’t currently seed your bread, it’s not a bad idea to include a seeding conveyor in your line. This provides flexibility for the future. In fact, on most artisan bread lines, a seeding conveyor comes standard. For products with no seeds, this section just acts like a regular conveyor.
Designed for wet washdown
Wet cleanable equipment is starting to become the norm in bakery facilities — at least in new ones. This is in part because of regulatory requirements. As bakers add ingredients like nuts, seeds, olives, and cheeses to their products, the food safety regulations become more complex, requiring bakers to clean and sanitize to a different level than is necessary for plain bread.
Tool-less cleaning and changeover
Many bread manufacturers are diversifying their offerings and need flexible equipment to run multiple products. A tool-less design speeds the changeover process so you can maximize runtime and minimize the labor costs associated with these activities.
NFPA compliance for ovens
The oven is arguably the most important piece of equipment on a bread production line. Not only do you need your oven to produce reliable results, but it also needs to comply with regulatory standards. NFPA 86 is the National Fire Protection Association standard that covers the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of ovens and furnaces. It isn’t a law itself, but it’s used by OSHA during safety inspections, and failure to comply can result in fines or worse.
Automation is just starting to become popular for bread production lines. Some bakers are launching fully automated lines, while others are opting for semi-automated processes. Even if you aren’t ready for automation now, consider purchasing equipment that has automation features like integrated PLCs (programmable logic controllers). This will set you up well for the future.
- Automating Industrial Bakery Production Lines: Benefits and Tips
- Automating Your Bakery for Maximum Impact
Are you launching a new line? Ready to upgrade the equipment on your existing line? We can help you select the best machines for your application. Contact us.