The ongoing implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has made prevention a key buzzword in the packaging industry. One of the fundamentals of sanitation management is designing equipment to facilitate easy cleanable access to optimize effectiveness and efficiency, including access for sampling and inspection. Analogous to Dr. Demming’s often quoted precept, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t control it”, the rule in Hygienic design is “If you can’t see it, you can’t clean it or sample it.”
The saying goes, “a clean machine is a happy machine, and a happy machine is one that is operating effectively and efficiently.” Sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially when it comes to your production line team’s ability to work together cohesively.
In its simplest form, hygienic principles apply to two fundamental aspects of design: surfaces designed for contact with food products, and those not meant to be (non-contact). In general, surfaces meant to be in contact with food must be non-porous, smooth and impervious without cracks or crevices.
What did COVID-19 show us?
COVID-19 had a deep and far-reaching impact on the fresh food industry. Social distancing and outbreaks at meat and poultry processing plants slowed production and caused mass shortages. As the pandemic drove restaurant closures, producers scrambled to redirect product originally meant for food service into retail distribution.
Meal kits are quickly gaining popularity due to Covid-19 with more consumers staying home to cook; by 2027, the industry is expected to reach 20 billion dollars. There are many opportunities for you to earn contracts from meal kit companies because they change their offerings frequently and require many different types of packaging. The amount and variety of packaging is what affords you the opportunities, but also may be a barrier to earning a contract. Your packaging lines must meet volume requirements and be flexible to handle multiple products and serving sizes. Your packaging needs to be leak proof, flexible, compact, and provide sufficient shelf life.
Specifically, proteins need special packaging attention because they can spoil and have liquids that can leak.
Washdown machine design and sanitary machine design are not the same.
And the design you need depends on what type of product you are packaging and its accompanying health and safety requirements.
Understanding the difference between the two designs will not only help guarantee your line passes inspection and the delivery of a safe product to consumers, but also can save you money on your machine purchase.
As a marketer looking to drive sales, your packaging designs likely focus on product differentiation, consumer convenience, and consumer expectations. Designing the package can be an artistic experience. However, you need to also be aware of the manufacturability of your design and your engineering team’s goals.
Brands that sell similar products compete for the same consumer’s money on the shelf (or webpage). Your packaging could make or break that consumer’s decision to buy your product or your competitors at the point of purchase.
Downtime is the undisputed enemy in manufacturing. But do you know how much an hour of downtime actually costs?
When you purchase a new packaging machine, are you buying it for the next year? Or how about the next five years?