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Archive for the ‘depositing’ Category


Last month we talked about plugging profit leaks in Your Bakery. This month we are going to talk about getting more for your bakery products by increasing your customers’ perception of the value.

The Wow Factor: What makes you say “Wow!” when you experience great bakery products? Is it the smell of a fresh apple pie or the aroma of fresh bread? Is it the beauty of a wedding cake? Is it the texture of a fine cheese cake? Could it be the taste sensations of a rich chocolate brownie with fudge icing topped with a scoop of ice cream and chopped walnuts?

Bakery products have a high “Wow Factor” because they appeal to four of the primary senses. Bakery products with a high “Wow Factor” look, smell, taste, and feel terrific. Achieving a high “Wow Factor” is a function of applying baking skill to the best ingredients. Starting with premium ingredients is essential. Skill is then applied to mix and bake the ingredients to achieve the best smell, taste and feel.

 Appealing presentation calls for creative design – proportion, color, and texture. Award winning presentations are achieved through a combination of the artistic skills of a sculptor and a painter — bakery products are multi dimensional. One characteristic of appealing bakery design is to present the ingredients contained in the product in such a way that the customer can imagine a sensational taste experience from the moment they lay eyes on the product.

Over the years bakers have become very creative in the use of toppings and presentation methods that allow internal ingredients to show through. Artisan breads are topped with seeds or oat flakes or dusted with flour. Pies and tortes have lattice top crusts with openings that show the fillings inside. Cakes are topped with drizzle, nuts, icings or whipped toppings.

Layering ingredients is another way to increase the “Wow Factor”. Layering allows bakers to combine ingredients for better taste and look and to add variety to a product line. Lemon meringue pie, German chocolate cake, cheese cake topped with strawberries, and even Oreo cookies are examples of layering.

The Wow Factor Payoff: Bakery products with a high “Wow Factor” are immediately more appealing. They create more excitement and they trigger the impulse to buy. Customers will also pay more for high “Wow Factor” products. The “Wow Factor” then is necessary to grow sales volume and generate higher unit selling prices.

What is the best way to get the “Wow Factor” to pay off – to increase bottom line profits? The problem with the “Wow Factor” for many bakers is the increased cost of premium ingredients and the extra labor required to apply these ingredients. Layering of ingredients requires multiple depositing steps. Adding toppings and textures can be very labor intensive and generally takes a higher level of skill.

To make matters worse the motions required are very repetitive and very stressful over time. Absenteeism and repetitive stress claims cut into profits. Pastry bags also used to manually apply drizzles, borders, and rosettes and it can take up to 22 lbs. of pressure to apply icing to a cake. Side crumbing which adds to the look and taste of a dessert is another decorating function that is usually performed manually.

There is also the issue of controlling the premium ingredients that are being applied. The natural tendency is to over apply the ingredients. If a little is good, more is better and no one wants to be under the weight on the label. The ingredients used to increase the “Wow Factor” are often some of the most expensive ingredients used in the overall product – Chocolate ganache, rum mixes, whipping cream or dolce de leches spreads.

Acheiving the Wow Factor: How then do you get a high “Wow Factor “and keep your cost of ingredients and labor under control? How do you have your cake and eat it too? As you may have picked up on this article, we were throwing little hints that relate to taking those high stress, high cost, inconsistent processes and replacing them with various pieces of equipment.

We’re not suggesting you lose that special touch that has made you a favourite among all your customers. We are suggesting that you take those processes, review them, make them more efficient, accurate and enjoyable while adding $$ to your bottom line.

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Last month we talked about maximizing the profit on the products that run through your ovens.
This month, we will discuss inconsistent depositing before baking.

Some of the problems caused by inconsistent depositing are:

  1. Under weight and over weight deposits
  2. Damaging product during depositing
  3. Trailing or spillage of product during depositing

Under weight and over weight deposits:
When bakeries use inconsistent methods of depositing batters and fillings, your finished product
will either be overweight or underweight. The amounts could be small based on each production
run but add that up over a year of full production.

Methods where each deposit has to be measured or scaled are usually the most inconsistent.
In these situations the tendency is to over deposit to make sure that the final product weights are no less than the label weight on the package. The result is a direct hit on profits. After-all the baker can not charge for any of the ingredients that are over deposited. Improving the accuracy of the depositing system allows a baker to hit the label weights more accurately and virtually eliminate the profit leak from over depositing.

The first step in improving accuracy is to improve the scaling of ingredients. Modern day premixes go along way to making scaling more accurate. However there many bakeries that still make products by the “scratch” method. Some of these ingredients are premium high cost items. When these high cost items are over deposited the profit leak can be substantial.

An easy example of over portioning could be filling Cream Horns or Cannoli’s with a pastry bag. The typical method would be to use a pastry bag and “Eye Ball” the amount or just stop when you feel it’s right. A few problems arise here. Number one, if your Cream Horns or Cannoli’s are inconsistent in size, filling each one will take a different amount of filling. The second problem is obvious; filling these pastries by just “Eye Balling” the amount will almost always result in over filling. Multiply these inconsistent weights throughout the week, then throughout the year, add this up and see where you’re at with ingredient costs.

Solution — replace your pastry bag with a small single piston depositor. This way you can accurately fill each pastry with the exact amount of filling that you budgeted for in your costs. Now you can price your Cream Horns and Cannoli’s properly by having an accurate cost of ingredients on each one produced and sold.

Damaging product during depositing:
One concern with automated depositing solutions is the risk of damage to the product being deposited. Damaged product can lead to rejects or rework. Both of these problems cut into a bakery’s profits. These profit leaks can be prevented by choosing the right kind of depositor.

There are a number of different depositing methods to choose from: Gear pumps, sine pumps, double auger systems, and piston fillers. The key is to choose the best solution for the product being deposited. Bread and cookie or pie crust dough usually work well with double auger systems like the Vemag machine. Gear pumps like the Edhard pump handle donut fillings and some icings very well. And Piston fillers from from companies such as Hinds Bock, Unifiller and Megart work particularly well with batters, icings, mousses, and other flowable products. “The beauty of piston fillers is that the product is transferred by way of a vacuum process. This means that the product in the hopper of the depositor will not change during the depositing process”, says Bruce Williamson of Megart System in Toronto,  Canada. ” Bruce also adds, “When choosing any form of depositor, look for one that is easy to use and 65 set-up, easy to clean and easy to maintain.

Trailing or spillage of product during depositing:
Accurate depositing is not just a matter of repeating the same weight or volume with every shot. Accurate depositing is also a matter of hitting the target every time. Trailing batter or fillings over pans during depositing can lead to rejects after baking or to higher labor costs to clean pans for the next round of depositing and baking. Hitting the target is particularly important when it comes to icing cupcakes. Most cup cakes are sold in clamshells of 6 or 12, or in flat pack boxes of 24 and up. The most efficient way to ice these cup cakes is to ice them in the clam shells or flat packs. After icing, cupcakes can be further decorated with sprinkles, confetti candy or chocolate and caramel drizzle.

With ingredient prices at an all time high, customer expectations increasingly demanding and labor costs rising, examining your post oven production is a great way to close the profit leak and put some cash bash in your pocket.

Megart Systems designs and builds single and multi-piston depositors for fast, easy accurate scaling of a wide variety of products for unique and diverse bakery applications.

Join us next month for “Increasing the Wow Factor – Getting More for Your Bakery Products”

*Above image is a multi piston depositing System from Megart Systems*

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