Bits, morsels and inclusions are otherwise known as the extra ingredients that are often put into snacks, breakfast bars, crackers and even desserts like ice cream. From chocolate chunks to dried fruit, “inclusions” are even advertised explicitly to the consumer on select labeling. The grand umbrella that these “bits” or “morsels” fall under means that conveying concerns will vary case by case. Maintaining the integrity of these extra ingredients (no matter their makeup) is the aim of manufacturers who include them in their processes.
The first step in determining how to properly handle inclusions is much like assessing any other ingredient. Whether your final product is a cracker with “specks” included to enhance flavor, or a breakfast bar that includes caramel bits, taking the time to consider how your specific inclusions should be handled is critical. A simple truth is that some inclusions may not be well-suited for ingredient automation.
Typically, dry seasonings (rosemary or dill, for example) are dry and there are few inherent issues automating such ingredients. Still, the integrity of a piece of rosemary is another point to consider. You wouldn’t want to break this material into smaller pieces. Each and every ingredient must be observed uniquely.
Many popular breakfast bars contain fruit-based bits that could range from blueberries to cranberries, oranges and beyond. If your included morsel is dried fruit, how it should be handled is determined by how “sticky” that dried fruit happens to be.
Another factor to consider when handling fruit-based inclusions is the hygroscopic nature that some of them possess. Dehydrated strawberries and ground-up strawberry powder are some examples. It is recommended that such ingredients receive careful handling because adding moisture to the final product can cause it to change from the desired color. Another side-effect would be the product becoming resistant to flow.
Careful handling is recommended for select bits or inclusions. In some cases, these inclusions are made up of a combination of ingredients that are “pressed together” in order to hold the combination of flavors in place. When there are concerns about product breakage while pneumatically conveying material, conveying as slowly and as gently as possible is preferable. The minimum conveying velocity handles material just fast enough to move down the conveying line.
In some cases, customers may want a specific number of morsels included in each individual piece of product. While many precise portions can be handled through innovations such as an AZO COMPONENTER (our answer to micro and minor ingredient handling), assigning a specific number to the number of bits included in each product may be unnecessarily specific. For example, handling and measuring one singular tablet per product may be unattainable. Still, if a ground-up powder represents the same function as this hypothetical tablet, the recipe may be achievable.
A partner like AZO is made up of employees driven to discover solutions for our clients. We know these solutions influence what we can find on our own grocery store shelves. AZO provides sophisticated systems that can effectively handle bits, morsels and inclusions by helping a facility:
AZO solutions are individually fit to our customer’s requirements and optimized for the most economical and flexible results. Ingredients varying in size, flowability and weight can all be properly suited and matched to AZO engineering.
For example, AZO can include Vibratory Bin Bottoms to silos in order to promote supreme material flow. To promote mass flow and to overcome bridging in the silo, we can also condition the airspace in the silo to help avoid or minimize the effects of moisture on certain material (caking and sticking to the silo sidewalls). Our centrifugal screeners take care of any unwanted foreign material in your process, and our TW650 Screeners do this while silos are filled from trucks or rail cars.