Snack and namkeen technologies galore at Snack and BakeTec

Snack and namkeen technologies galore at Snack and BakeTec
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India is a snack-loving country. From large get-togethers to impromptu streetside meetups, we cannot do without our munchies. Made to be consumed in small quantities to suppress hunger, snacks consist of a wide variety of dry consumables such as cakes, cookies, chips, wafers, popcorn, granola bars, nut mixes, salted peanuts and the list goes on. The Indian snack industry is growing fast, year after year. In 2022, the Indian snacks market size reached INR 38,603 Crore and is projected to reach INR 70,731 Crore by 2028, exhibiting a growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4% during 2023-2028.

Grooving with the latest trends

The snack industry is ever-evolving. Consumer tastes and health preferences change constantly. Rudra Pratap Singh Chauhan, director, Fresh-O-Veg, believes that the consumer demands in the snack industry are moving towards target-specific solutions. He said, "Things are going to happen segment-wise now. For instance, there are different segments for healthy foods for young children aged zero to five, mothers, those undergoing extensive health training, and people with hypertension and diabetes."

Chetan Dakhore, chief executive officer and founder, Shri Vibracion Technologies, commented on the current consumer trends, "The snacks and namkeen industry have seen a huge growth in recent times, with many new entrants and established brands vying for a share of the market. With changing lifestyles and increasing health consciousness, consumers are looking for healthier snack options that do not compromise taste. At the same time, they are also looking for innovative and unique flavors that can satisfy their taste buds."

Sirjan Singh Kochhar, business manager FPT, stated that consumers nowadays prefer products low in calories, fat, and sugar. Elaborating on other trends, he added, "Consumers are looking for convenient snacks that can be consumed on the go. As a result, there is a growing demand for single-serve and ready-to-eat snacks."

Nishant Bansal, chief executive officer and managing director, Fabcon shared his thoughts on the increasing demand for healthy snacks, "Low fat, low carb, and fiber-based snacks packed with nutrients are in demand. Moreover, consumers are constantly looking for unique and homely flavors and a growing trend has been observed for ethnic flavors in the snacks and namkeen industry." He added, "Our process lines help produce low fat, low calorie, supreme quality snacks packed with flavors. Specially designed for lesser oil volume, accurate temperature control, and hygienic operation, our oil roasters are ideal for making low-fat healthy munchies."

According to Raghav Gupta, director, Kanchan Metals, most of the large players are doing well and are focusing on increasing their capacity by opening multiple production plants across the country to reach the marketplace most cost-effectively. He commented on the trends, "There seems to be a focus on reducing oil content in the snacks wherever possible. The major demand is coming from traditional Indian namkeen. The baked extruded snacks category also seems to be growing with a focus on low-bulk-density products."

Pushing the market growth

Chetan stated that snacks have become increasingly popular due to their easy availability, convenience, and affordability, making them an attractive option for people who want a quick snack. "The major factors boosting the growth of the snacks industry are convenience, health consciousness, and affordability. Convenience has been key to the industry's success as more people seek quick and easy snacks. Health consciousness is another factor as consumers become increasingly aware of the nutritional value of snacks and their impact on health. Affordability is also important, with more people looking for snacks that are not too expensive yet satisfying," he added.

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Technological developments for better production

Equipment manufacturers nowadays focus on developing machines that make snack production easy, hygienic, and fast. Raghav said, "We have developed several new machines for our customers in the snacks industry such as continuous weighing and blending of namkeen, frying lines for ethnic Indian snacks like Sabudana, Punjabi tadka, and Moong dal, automated weighing, and dosing of dry and wet ingredients for mixing namkeen dough and more. We focus on delivering smart capex-friendly solutions to our customers to overcome their needs to increase production capacity and create products that help solve a particular need in the processing line."

Sirjan remarked, "The snacks industry has seen significant technological advancements in recent years in the form of automated packing technology, mixing technology, sorting technology, and efficient frying systems."

Nishant believes that food manufacturing has become complex today as various processes are required to accomplish tasks such as setting cooking methods, accuracy in flavoring, and improving safety and hygiene standards. He added, "After the pandemic, the companies are investing in automation that takes care of the complete product development from scratch till packaging. We are always devising ways to augment the design of our machinery that can deliver the same performance in the future as it is delivering at present."

Commenting on the snack industry equipment advancements, Rudra said, "Nowadays, effective continuous lines cover every product and even packaging. Also, with robotics coming in, there is a lot of movement toward automation in the back end, the main line, and even the front end. We specialize in giving those consulting solutions." He added that Fresh-O-Veg also performs brownfield projects by LiDAR Scanning to scan the existing factory. He explained, "When we scan that factory, we can reproduce it in drawings and as 3D photographic walkthroughs, which is our strength."

According to Chetan, with advanced technology, such as advanced automated systems, and high-speed and high-accuracy machinery, industries can provide reliable equipment to help customers meet the ever-increasing demands of the industry. He talked of some latest technologies impacting the snacks industry, "Smart packaging, 3D-printed snacks, mobile and online ordering, robotics, and nutritional analysis are designed with user-friendly operations and are built to last, ensuring that they are useful for a long time to come."

Focusing on the frying oil quality

The role of frying oil in this industry is critical. With concerned consumers looking for healthy snacks, manufacturers are looking at ways to maintain good oil quality that prevents health hazards. Sharing his opinion on oil recycling, Rudra said, "The recycling technology is being changed by manufacturers now. Nowadays, fast-moving closed-loop filtration systems are coming in. The oil pickup percentage for healthy foods will come down. Oil quality is important, and its oxidation level can be brought down by closed circuit circulation."

Manufacturers are also focusing on removing excess oil from snacks to help consumers keep a check on their fat consumption. Chetan talked about the efforts in this regard, "Some snack manufacturers have partnered with recycling companies that specialize in the recycling of used frying oil. Snack manufacturers have implemented best practices for oil management to reduce waste and maximize the lifespan of frying oil. Many have installed oil filtration equipment that helps remove impurities and extend the life of frying oil. This reduces the amount of oil that needs to be discarded and helps to maintain the quality of the oil."

Sirjan provided insights into FPT's deoiling shaker and defatting equipment, "A FoodeQ deoiling conveyor is a hygienic and effective solution that uses vibratory technology to ensure thorough, controlled removal of oil from the product, without harming the product. Also, our defatting system has been proven to add value to many fried snack products by reducing the fat content by as much as 30% over typical levels."

"With the ever-changing trade regulations and shortage of containers, oil has become a very volatile resource and a matter of concern for the food industries. The food industry has taken several steps to recycle the frying oil to opt for the most sustainable option and minimize wastage," stated Nishant. Discussing Fabcon's fryers, he added, "Our fryers prevent the oil from getting deteriorated and constantly pump out the rancid/used oil and pipes in the fresh oil."

Facing challenges head-on

No industry can function without facing challenges; overcoming them is essential for success. Rudra talked about such obstacles and said, "Optimization is a challenge because most of the traditional snacking industry has rarely had a continuous line and end-to-end solutions. Fresh-O-Veg gives end-to-end solutions under one roof. We have an in-house laboratory where we measure the mechanization and do recipe adjustments so that the end product's taste does not vary much. That is our stronghold." 

Chetan shared some major challenges and said, "The snacks industry faces several major challenges, including the need for improved product quality, cost efficiency, and food safety standards. Shri Vibracion Technologies provides solutions to these challenges by offering innovative equipment that helps clients meet the highest industry standards. Our machines are designed for easy operation, offering features such as energy-saving, automatic control systems, and user-friendly operations. They are designed to increase product quality and safety by ensuring compliance with food safety requirements with their advanced technologies."

Addressing early challenges, Sirjan said, "There were several obstacles without automation in the early 2000s, but they are now greatly reduced. We have 90% automation from start to end from the conveying system through frying and sorting to secondary packing."

Equipment display and more at Snack and Bake Tec

Snack and Bake Tec provides an opportunity for the food industry stakeholders to meet, exchange ideas, share knowledge, and make fruitful connections.

Heat and Control will display its range of snack equipment like French fry lines, namkeen lines, tortilla chips lines, extruded products lines, and samosa lines, among others. 

Engimech Industries will exhibit its roasting and flavoring solutions for murmura, peanuts, chana crackers, popcorn, corn puff/cheese ball, kurkure line, vermicelli, cashew, almond, makhana, coffee, valiary, dhana, jeera, online namkeen mixing plant, namkeen / spices packing machine and more.

Blending the knowledge of agriculture, food processing, and technology, SV Agri will display its innovative solutions for producing quality seeds, potato storage, and best-in-class processing technologies and supply solutions used by the snack industry.

Standard Machinery Corporation will exhibit its total solutions for food processing for pellets, extruded snacks, breakfast cereals, and health bars.

Sharing his plans for the upcoming event, Rudra said, "We want to show the visitors that we can make a virtual factory now and what it can do."

Waiting eagerly to attend the event, Sirjan shared his pre-show plans, "As it is one of the leading snacks exhibitions, we plan to create a pre-event marketing campaign to generate buzz and attract attendees to our booth. We will use social media, email campaigns, and other channels to let people know we are exhibiting."

Looking forward to the event, Chetan said, "At the exhibition, we will explore the latest trends and technologies in snack and bake production and are looking forward to meeting new contacts from the industry who can provide us with valuable insights to further our business. It will also be a great opportunity to network with professionals from the food industry, exchange ideas and discuss potential collaborations. Furthermore, we look forward to learning about new ideas and technologies to help us create a range of innovative products."

Excited to showcase Fabcon's latest developments, Nishant said, "We will be introducing solutions that are developed for better and more accurate processing of snacks. This time we are excited to show our mini solutions specially designed for QSR and the convenience food industry that will help them match the customers' demands. This will help in achieving demand-supply equilibrium and optimizing operations."

Mukhtar Pathan, director-Sales, VA Exhibitions, the organizers of Snack & BakeTec, Inter FoodTech & Pac MechEx, said, "Snack and Bake Tec will offer great opportunities for stakeholders of the food and beverage industry and help them engage and establish new business connections. I welcome the food industry professionals to make the most of this wonderful platform." The event will take place along with its concurrent events, Inter FoodTech and Pac MechEx, from 7 to 9 June 2023, at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai.

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