Baking better, faster, safer – Pet Food Processing

Baking better, faster, safer – Pet Food Processing

This article was published in the September 2021 issue of Pet Food Processing. Read it and other articles from this issue in our September digital edition.

How can processors optimize baking time and maintain flexibility? Is it possible to use less energy to achieve the same result, while still meeting quality and food safety standards? And just how much control and insight can processors obtain over what is happening inside the baking chamber?

These are some of the questions pet food and treat manufacturers are asking of modern baking equipment. Katie Winkle, sales director, Baker Perkins Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., highlighted three primary focus areas for Baker Perkins’ customers.

“They need flexible baking equipment that allows them to take advantage of unique new product opportunities in the baked pet treats sector, minimized production costs, and flexible recipe control to run a wide range of end products,” she said.

“In today’s landscape, companies cannot afford to be beholden to a single product environment,” said Katie Winkle, Baker Perkins.

Flexibility is key as brands expand their portfolios to include emerging formats and formulations.

“Many customers seek to future-proof with an oven that can bake every type of baked pet food and treat,” Winkle said. “Markets swing, and it may be necessary to produce a different product or products. In today’s landscape, companies cannot afford to be beholden to a single product environment.”


Flexibility and control

In today’s rapidly expanding market, perhaps the two most important aspects of a baking system are flexibility and control over the baking process. When combined, these two improvements can result in optimized efficiency, energy usage, baking time and data visibility.

Baker Perkins’ TruBake HiCirc oven is available for processors working with a broad range of products. It uses high-rate, direct convection heat with no heat exchanger, resulting in cost savings for fuel and maintenance, as well as a faster temperature response time compared to indirect convection ovens, Winkle said.

Baker Perkins has redesigned its TruBake ovens to incorporate a “TruClean” concept, effectively minimizing the need for maintenance, enhancing accessibility, and significantly reducing cleaning time. (Source: Baker Perkins Inc.)

“Recent innovations including redesigned ductwork and increased air flow bring higher rates of convection, and greater heat flux available for the baking and drying processes,” she said.

Baking can help processors achieve a more “minimally processed” product, a term becoming increasingly important to consumers. Baking at lower temperatures not only helps to preserve some sensitive ingredients but can also result in lower fuel usage.

“Baking can be achieved at a lower temperature by increasing the volume and velocity of the convection air,” Winkle said. “This is enhanced by a return system that quickly removes spent air from the baking surface and prevents slowing of heat transfer to the product. Faster baking and lower losses through the heating system lead to minimized fuel consumption.”

In many modern baking systems, recipes can be pre-programmed to reduce dependence on labor and ensure consistency day in and day out. Baker Perkins uses a touch-screen control panel to …….