Changing consumer attitudes drive success at the frozen aisle. Innovations in developing and manufacturing frozen pizza and pastries bring an exciting, growing range of new offerings.
The global frozen pizza market was valued at USD11,113 million in 2016 and is projected to reach USD17,296 million by 2023, registering a CAGR of 6.4% from 2017 to 2023. In 2016, the regular thin crust segment accounted for approximately three-fifths of the share in the global market, in terms of value, according to a new report published by Allied Market Research.
Technology: Pizza Topping
The US specialist invites manufacturers to test all equipment with their products, at the Grote Company Demo Facility, from individual machines to gill single lane pizza topping lines. The manufacturer’s operating conditions are replicated by using their product and approximate production rates in either standard temperatures or a controlled cold room. Sauce applicators automatically deposit sauce on passing crusts on the line, ensuring uniform application and maintaining deposit accuracy within two grams. They include interchangeable sauce inserts to account for various crust shapes and sizes and sauce consistencies. The company also offers an extensive selection of slicers, designed based on applications, line speed, output rates, and crust sizes and variations. “Single and multiple lanes, and tandem configurations are available, all including customized product holders for each slicing application – from pepperoni to produce,” Randy Medina, pizza application specialist, Grote Company, tells us.
He explains possible setups for pizza sauce applicators, topping applications, and slicers: “For full line solutions, we recommend single-lane systems for rates of approximately 3,000 pizzas per hour and multiple lane solutions for higher rates. Single-lane configurations typically include a sauce applicator, and one or more topping applicators and slicers, based on product mix. Multiple lane systems are configured similarly, but include additional machines of each.”
Ingredient characteristics are ever-changing, with new gourmet ingredients, plant-based proteins, and the growing number of vegetables and meats being explored. Attributes include hardness, temperature, density, fat content, the shape of product entering the cutting machine, and other such determinants. Alan Major, managing director, Urschel International, tells us: “For some ingredients, precutting may be necessary. A belt-fed dicer may be desired that works in tandem with the cutting components – timing and precision cutting. Other ingredients may benefit from batch-feeding with a controlled discharge belt as the cut product exits the machine. Many possibilities exist with feeding and discharge of ingredients. The core of the process is in the precise cutting action.”
Cheese shredding is the application in most demand for pizza manufactures. A sanitary, hygienic shredder that delivers precision cuts is required; the Urschel Model CCX-D is a good example. “The ideal cheese shredder is the most important piece of capital equipment in the arsenal because it has to maintain peak performance in terms of consistent, in-spec. shreds to deter waste and maximize profit, Major explains. Urschel offers a complete range of slicers, shredders, dicers, crumblers, and other size reduction equipment that cater to small and large volume processors.
Monte Pizza Crust B.V. focuses on foodservice, including wholesale, catering, pizza restaurants/deliver, ship supply/airlines, schools, and universities, as well as bakeries, and indirectly delivers to retail. They have three production lines, for American pizza crusts (cold press system from a dough ball, Italian pizza crusts (sheet line and stone oven), and dough balls, the company tells us. Its total capacity varies from 2,000 till 8,000 pizza crusts or dough balls per hour. Product variations can include proofing times, crust shapes, baking times, different flavors, and ingredient variations (low salt, low sugar, added fibers, etc.).
Production challenges coming from the freezing process include maintaining low temperature and freezing the crust at the lowest temperature. “After being frozen in the spiral freezer, the crusts have to be packed as quickly as possible and have to be stored in the warehouse freezer as soon as possible without interruption of the cold chain,” explain the Dutch specialists.
Traditional Greek Pastries
Kanaki produces over 6,000 tons of frozen goods per year, sold in the EU, USA, Australia, and Israel. The company manufactures a wide range of frozen bakery products. Its fastest moving products include pies with filo pastry (laminated dough), kataifi, spinach and feta cheese pies, Chronis Kalogridis, marketing and exports director, tells us. He shared details regarding new product R&D at Kanaki:
“We develop our new products and recipes through a certain procedure that ensures us that the final product will reach the needs and the standards of the market that will address. Multiple kitchen and lab tests, production samples, test production, monitoring involving top management, marketing, exports and sales departments are key steps of this procedure.”
Health and international trends in foods containing fats set the criteria for choosing the ingredients at the Greek company. Kalogridis explains us the company’s product restrictions: “The production of our goods complies with the high-quality standards of the Kanaki brand, and the restrictions that apply to each of our customers, as well as the requirements of each market where the goods are active in.” One of the main challenges coming from the freezing process is maintaining the required temperature throughout the supply chain, to preserve the quality of the final product, Kalogridis observes.
The company’s equipment lineup includes special custom-made machines for laminated pastry and Kataifi, developed in-house over the last years. “These machines are modified with the aim to manufacture our products according to our needs and the special demands of our markets,” highlights Kanaki’s representative.
Bousmalis has been active on the market since 1951, having started as a traditional shop for dough products including kataifi (250 tons/year), laminated dough (350 tons/year), and puff pastry (120 tons/year), Konstantina Bousmalis tells us. The company’s manufacturing principles are to maintain traditional techniques and natural ingredients.
The challenges presented in the freezing process vary from product to product, Bousmalis explains: The crust sheet must be packed right after production because otherwise it will get dry and will have to be discarded. After kneading and sheeting with machinery, the dough is rolled up by the worker, who cuts it, weighs it, and packs it into cartons. Dough can withstand 25˚C for up to two hours before going to the freezing or maintenance area. At a temperature of 8- 10 ˚C, it can remain up to eight hours in the production area.
For puff pastry, we have a custom-made production line, 70 meters long. This machine is designed to give time to the dough to rest, resulting in a better baking performance. Once it passes the 50-meter threshold, the dough is cut into pieces, according to the production line, and is collected by the worker and placed in the deep-freezing tunnel. Then it goes into the connected packaging machine, where it is packed into carton and immediately gets frozen.
The kataifi starts from the kneading bake area, where it is baked on a baking dish at 400 ˚C. Once it is cooked, a worker places it on a workbench until it cools off completely; otherwise, it will contain moisture and it will go bad.
New Product and Recipe Development
Regarding the new product and recipe development, Monte Pizza Crust B.V. says it all starts with observing a market trend or demand for a new product. “When we are sure that it’s technically possible to manufacture the product on one of our lines, we start purchasing ingredients, testing them and developing a recipe. First, we make samples on a small scale and we adjust the recipe till the desired result is achieved,” Monte Pizza’s representative says.
The next step is testing the product on the line and adjusting the tuning of the equipment. “Finally we taste the product and store the products in the freezer. After some days in the freezer, we thaw the product and taste it again. When the product is approved by the client, it is released for production,” the company explains.
As the food safety regulations became more restrictive worldwide, equipment producers have worked to improve their sanitary design. Urschel says the sanitary design begins with a stainless steel design. “Sliding/hinged panels provide a full gamut of access for assistance in cleaning and prevent machine panels from haphazardly being placed on the production floor. To further assist in cleaning protocols, surfaces are sloped to deter bacterial growth. The mechanical zone is kept separate from the food cutting zone to aid in sanitary procedures,” Major says.
You can find additional information on this topic in our print magazine European Baker & Biscuit (May/Jun 2018)!