Waste Reduction is Key Driver for Pigging in Chocolate and Confectionery Production
From white chocolate, candy and sweets to milk chocolate, dark chocolate and ruby, HPS liquid product recovery (‘pigging’) technology is in wide use in the chocolate and confectionery industry.
It’s one of the most effective ways to increase yields, speed up changeovers, minimise cross-contamination, boost efficiency and even improve lot control. But probably the key benefits of pigging are that it significantly reduces product waste in chocolate and confectionery production.
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This blog article looks at the chocolate and confectionery industry and why reducing waste is so important to manufacturers. It also looks at how pigging technology can help them achieve their waste reduction goals (and if you’re not sure what it is, here’s an explanation of pigging).
Increasing Demand for Chocolate Around the World
Chocolate is one of the most popular food types and flavours in the world, which is why it’s such a huge multi-billion-dollar industry.
Chocolate is used in everything from candy bars, desserts, chocolate milk and cakes to brownies, biscuits, hot chocolate and alcoholic beverages. It’s also an ingredient in some cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.
Chocolate is also commonly given and received as a gift particularly during holiday periods such as Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s day along with celebrated days such as birthdays.
Where Does Chocolate Come From?
Chocolate is made from the cocoa beans of the cacao tree, which is grown in tropical climates where it is consistently warm and humid. This includes the Ivory Coast and Ghana, which are two of the world’s biggest chocolate producers.
Cocoa (liquor or powder) and cocoa butter are products derived from cocoa beans, the seeds of the cacao tree. Chocolate and confectionery manufacturers rely on cocoa powder and cocoa butter to produce chocolate.
Cocoa butter creates the richer chocolates and has basically one main application (chocolate products). It’s the most desirable of the two and is notoriously harder and more expensive to produce. Therefore, any disruption to cocoa supplies will potentially create a supply-side deficit resulting in increased prices.
Price Fluctuations for Chocolate and Confectionery Manufacturers
In recent years, due to variable production and demand, the price of cocoa has fluctuated considerably. Other ingredients used to produce chocolate products such as sugar have also faced higher prices.
For the most part, these variations in price have been absorbed by the manufacturer. However, they have also been passed onto the consumer in the form of increased prices and shrinking pack sizes. Because chocolate and confectionery manufacturers rely on these key ingredients, unexpected price swings or supply shortages can seriously hinder production, reduce margins, and disrupt growth plans. Especially as it’s difficult to keep passing on the costs to the consumer. This has put a huge strain on chocolate and confectionery manufacturers.
Why is Reducing Product Waste Important for Chocolate and Confectionery Manufacturers?
Because of the high cost of raw materials such as cocoa and sugar, it is increasingly important for chocolate manufacturers to recover as much product as possible, rather than letting it go to waste. It’s also important for manufacturers to improve efficiencies and cut their costs where possible. By doing this, they’ll be less likely to be exposed to price volatility.
As a result, many chocolate and confectionery manufacturers are turning to waste reduction initiatives to ensure they use everything they buy and avoid throwing high-value ingredients down the drain.
How Pigging Systems Can Help Chocolate and Confectionery Manufacturers Reduce Waste?
Pigging systems can help chocolate and confectionery manufacturers meet their waste reduction targets and reduce their costs by:
- Recovering the majority (up to 99.5%) of product residue left in pipelines
- Minimising the volume of waste generated during product changeovers
- Reducing butter, oil and flushing product usage
- Improving product quality
- Reducing the disposal and waste treatment costs associated with wastage
- Saving them costs in other areas by improving production efficiency and saving resources and energy
- Lowering cleaning and labour costs as there’s less product to remove and dispose of
Pigging Offers Significant Savings in Chocolate and Confectionery Production
Pigging recovers practically all of the product remaining in the pipeline. This product is perfectly good and useable product, which if it wasn’t for pigging, would be discarded as waste or become effluent.
The HPS pipeline pig typically achieves recovery rates of up to 99.5% from a full pipeline, but in some applications, this can be even higher. Because there’s less product to send to waste, this means less cleaning fluids, lower cleaning and labour costs, and reduced disposal and waste treatment costs.
With chocolate-based confectionery, butter, oil or both are frequently used to remove residual product from within pipes. This can be extremely time consuming and resource intensive. However, the high recovery rates of the HPS pig are sometimes enough to eliminate the butter flush altogether, while removing nearly all product and significantly speeding up the oil flush. This results in significant savings on butter and oil. At the same time, it also delivers savings in energy, labour time and money.
In addition, by incorporating pigging technology, chocolate and confectionery manufacturers can clear the pipe as frequently as they like. This helps prevent chocolate products settling, solidifying and then being wasted. Here’s a case study about pigging in chocolate product manufacture which, among other things, prevented significant amounts of residual chocolate standing in pipes.
Where Do Pigging Systems Reduce Waste?
Typical examples of where pigging reduces waste (and increase yields) in chocolate and confectionery processing are in the lines to and from:
- Tanker to holding vessels
- Tanker to process
- Storage vessel to mixer or blender
- Storage to use point
In general, the longer the pipework and the larger the diameter, the more there is for chocolate manufacturers to gain from pigging in terms of waste reduction and product recovery.
How Much Waste Does a Pigging System Save?
HPS design and develop every product recovery and pigging solution around the requirements of each customer. Therefore, there’s no such thing as a standard pigging system. In this way, there’s no specific answer on how much waste a pigging system saves.
Waste savings can depend on many factors. As well as pipeline diameter and length and the type of pigging system used, other factors can have an impact such as the number of changeovers, viscosity of the product and whether the line is half-full or full when pigging.
As an example, a leading chocolate manufacturer in Bulgaria has an HPS pigging system which enables them to recover residual product and reuse it, rather than wasting it. Similarly, a butter oil manufacturer has an HPS pigging system. The system recovers approximately 200 kgs of good product that would otherwise be wasted or become effluent.
If you manufacture chocolate or confectionery and are not pigging, you’re wasting product, time and money.
So get started with pigging today and contact HPS – the world’s leading pipeline pigging company,