Why Chocolate and Confectionery Companies Use Pigging.
Product recovery (pigging) systems are in wide use by companies that manufacture chocolate, sweets, candy and other confectionery. That’s because the benefits of pigging to organisations that process liquids or ‘wet’ product when making confectionery, and in particular chocolate, are substantial.
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There are a variety of reasons pigging delivers these gains. One of the main ones is that, because pigging recovers nearly all residual product in pipelines, then the more expensive the product, the more there is to gain.
Increasing Costs and Increasing Demand
Chocolate, especially the products in the luxury or ‘fine’ end of the market, is expensive. At the same time, new markets are opening up and it is becoming more popular.
Over the past few years, the market for cocoa, the raw ingredient of chocolate, has been turbulent. While prices have fluctuated, the general trend shows a steady increase. The causes of these fluctuations and overall price rise varies. They include poor growing weather, changing subsidisation policies and political instability in the key production regions.
So cocoa is getting more costly, while demand is increasing. So the less product wasted during processing, the more pronounced the profits.
Reduced Flush Waste
In addition to increasing yields, pigging delivers other benefits to confectionery producers. It also reduces waste of other products used in confectionery manufacture.
For chocolate-based products, it is common to use butter, oil or both for flushing. This is instead of water. Water doesn’t work well with chocolate, especially when the chocolate has a high cocoa content, (water is often used for flushing during the production of other foodstuffs, but rarely with chocolate).
Butter, when used for flushing, cannot be reused (unlike oil which can sometimes be used more than once). So using butter adds to production cost. And what’s more, the cost of butter looks likely to increase.
Butter Price Rising
Milk prices have been extremely low for a long time. Because of these low prices and subsequent poor returns, farmers are not pushing production. In addition, in some areas, poor spring weather, with below-average temperatures and prolonged rainfall, have delayed farmers putting their cows out to pasture. So butter prices have risen.
At a recent Global Dairy Trade Event, an online platform for trading dairy ingredients, the price of butter increased by 3.8%. The price of butter milk powder rose even more severely, by 16.2%. Whether this is indicative of a consistent rise in prices to come remains to be seen. However, for many used to seeing falling milk prices, it may have come as something of a shock.
Saving Money, Saving Time
In addition to the cost of butter, the flush operation is a time consuming, multistage process.
Pigging is extremely quick. It removes up to 99.5% of residual product from the inside of pipelines. Done correctly, can eliminate the need for butter flush completely. It can also reduce the use of oil and other flushing products. So, pigging is a fast and easy way for confectionery companies to save money, save time, and reduce waste even further.
Special Considerations for Chocolate
While pigging chocolate and other confectionery products delivers many benefits, it is not as straightforward as pigging some other types of foodstuff.
There are some special considerations to take in to account with confectionery, and chocolate-based products in particular.
For example, because the transfer lines are often jacketed (heated to keep the chocolate fluid), the pigging equipment must also be jacketed and able to retain and sustain the heat without degradation. It may also need specialist types of valve and pigging automation and control systems. To get it right needs high levels of skills and experience in product recovery.
That’s why, if you produce confectionery and are looking to improve your processes through pigging, you need to work with a systems provider that has specialist knowledge and capabilities, alongside an in-depth understanding of your product and operations.
Specialists in Pigging Systems for Chocolate and Confectionery
HPS is the world’s leading hygienic (sanitary) product recovery and pigging systems specialist. We have worked with a wide range of chocolate and confectionery companies to improve their product yields, lower costs and speed up processing. Our customers include Ghirardelli, Mondelez, Haribo, Nestle and many others.
To find out more about improving your confectionery production operation using product recovery and pigging systems, please take a look at our case studies on pigging systems for chocolate and confectionery companies, or simply contact us.