The gourmet sector of the food industry is becoming increasingly popular with a myriad of home made recipes now available in grocery stores, some handed down through generations and others with simply the magic touch creating a splendid combination of ingredients.
Gourmet style labels producing condiments, jams, dips, sauces, deserts, baby food and beverages are just a few products that are now gracing the supermarkets shelves and these new labels are quickly becoming household names.
With the consumer welcoming the ever-popular organics trend, consumers are embarking on a global shift preferring fresh produce and homemade creations.
This is evident in the availability of these products displayed traditionally only on independent grocery shelves to now on main-chain supermarkets shelves and this shift presents an enormous and exciting opportunity for budding chefs to produce their product in commercial quantities and compete in a new age, fiercely competitive food industry.
Many budding entrepreneurs are now bringing their recipes into commercial reality by introducing their product to the wide-population, the vision to create their own food label and produce their gourmet product has become a viable journey with the help of some clever do-it yourself business methods.
Most small brands start off in a commercial grade kitchen producing their product in bulk and filling the containers by hand.
Although a cheap and effective process it can be slow, tedious and a strenuous exercise of human labour.
Most small businesses are not aware that there is a packaging solution that takes the strain from the repetitive action of filling containers, capping and labelling but also enables a professionally packed product.
Many businesses have not been exposed to this solution - renting equipment - until now this service has been largely unavailable to the food industry.
Entrepreneurs entering the marketplace or food manufacturing businesses dealing with production overflow issues now have access to expensive machinery at minimal rental costs and for short (or long) periods of time.
Renting machinery provides the budget conscience the ability to package products in-house and eliminates the need to hand pack, outsource the packaging or purchase the equipment.
This solution benefits smaller businesses seeking to produce higher profits by reducing manufacturing costs and larger manufacturers/contract packers who prefer to change their equipment as and when its needed while avoiding maintenance, repair and downtime costs.
A rental solution like this inevitably eliminates the pressure that most small businesses deal with relating to producing enormous quantities of product at any one time.
Having the freedom to choose to package quantities directly relating to orders may be of enormous benefit when scheduling production and delivery timelines.
Packaging equipment can be hired based on the needs (and space) of the business, production lines consisting of multiple head automatic fillers with conveyers, auto-cap tighteners, rotary sorting and unscrambling tables can achieve at least 100,000 units per week and are suitable for manufacturing plants/contract packers.
A bench-top model set-up (semi automatic) will produce up to 50,000 units per week and are suited to in-house operations or smaller businesses. The bench-top model set-up is so compact that it could literally be set up in a kitchen, the operator does not require any specialised training or previous handling experience.
The equipment is easy to operate, functional and does not pose any harm or risk to the operator.
Not only does professional packaging equipment create more rapid production output compared to hand filling, but the advantage is clear as it eliminates time factors associating with correct measuring and prevents spilling of product.
The filling equipment is designed to measure precise fills ranging from 3mls to 10 litres, eliminates drips and spills and provides a controlled production environment.
There are many accessories for fillers depending on the application but most commonly food producers will use a positive shut off nozzle which eliminates the drips between containers and is used for high speed filling and suck back nozzles which sucks up the product at the tip of the nozzle at the end of the fill and is used for pressure sensitive applications or for any product that compresses and expands such as solids immersed in liquids.
Other common accessories include nozzles used for filling tubes, footswitches, hoppers and follower plates for pouring thick products into the filler machine, inlet assembly which sucks the product from the drum/pallecon for larger fills or runs and roving nozzles which connects to a filler by a hose and allows the operator to dispense the product by a trigger to each container.
Nathan Wardell, founder and Managing Director of Packserv explained that most businesses are surprised to learn that a rental solution exists, “we are very well received by businesses that have just discovered us, most common feedback I receive food and beverage manufacturers is that production costs are halved by hiring the equipment and packing in-house.”
Wardell believes that a rental service helps to support businesses that does not have enormous amounts of money to invest on assets, “the advantages of renting equipment is that it eliminates the expense of purchasing equipment and the responsibility of service, maintenance and repairs as well as providing the business owner with quality control and full technical support”.
Packaging equipment becomes a valuable resource for those businesses (large or small) packing their own products or those businesses such as contract packers who are contracted to pack the products of food industry businesses because of the resource it offers to human labour.
But the equipment is extremely expensive and many businesses just cannot afford to invest in the equipment and associated infrastructure.
Renting equipment can ease the burden of the budget conscience food manufacturer and provide a perfect solution to increasing production outputs without the spills.