Product inspection of instant meals and spices

Instant meals have a cooking time of less than five minutes, and unlike ready meals they require the addition of water when cooking. Some instant meal examples include ramen noodles, baby food, condensed soup, instant rice, and instant oatmeal. Instant noodles, such as ramen noodles, are truly a “global food” with over 100 billion servings consumed in 20171. Instant noodle shipments are expected to exceed 133 billion packs by 20232.


1Source: World Instant Noodles Association

Product weighing and X-ray product inspection of spices and instant meals

The global spice and seasoning market is forecasted to continue growing at a healthy CAGR of 4.76% from 2018 – 2023 according to Mordor Intelligence. Much of the growth is driven by the increased use of spices in ready meals, instant meals, baked goods, and confectionery products. Many of these markets rely on spices and seasonings as flavor enhancers. Over half of the global spice market is made up of salt, salt substitutes and pepper, while the fastest growing segments are associated with spices with known nutritional benefits such as cinnamon, nutmeg, basil, and turmeric.

Ensuring spice and instant meal integrity and safety are major reasons why food manufacturers implement product inspection solutions, such as food product weighing systems and X-ray foreign body inspection.

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High-speed checkweighing systems ensure the integrity of packaged spices and instant meals

When consumers purchase an instant meal or a package of spices or seasonings, they expect to get what they pay for in terms of both quality and quantity. Consumers expect the package label to display an accurate weight, and that the quantity of product in the package matches the package label.

In some countries package weight accuracy is highly regulated. However, in all countries, manufacturers strive to ensure package label accuracy as a matter of good business practices and maintaining customer loyalty. Instant meal manufacturers and spice and seasoning packagers use precision weighing systems to ensure each package has exactly the advertised net product weight.

Wipotec is a well-known provider of checkweighers used in the precision weighing of spices, seasonings, and instant meals. Food manufacturers worldwide have come to rely of our checkweighers to ensure package weight accuracy while meeting all local product weight label accuracy requirements. 

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Marking, Labeling and Inspection

Not only the weight information for each item must be correct. Packaging contains a lot of data as text or codes that provide further information about the product and manufacturer. For example, instant meals, like almost all foods, must have a clearly legible best-before date. At the same time, step-by-step preparation instructions are preferable. Storage advice, nutritional facts and other static information are pre-printed in the packaging design.

Combining all this information in a single code and applying it in-line provides enormous benefits for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. This is why variable 2D codes are becoming increasingly popular in the retail sector. These codes efficiently display content that is perfectly tailored to the respective target group. If the GS1 Digital Link Standard is used, the code combines static and dynamic data with a website. A single code therefore contains all the information about the product - from marketing videos and recipes to the article number for scanning at the checkout, batch data, shelf life, ingredients and their origin.


Application with TQS

If marking takes place at the end of the line, dynamic data like a batch code can ensure greater transparency along the supply chain. Digitized visibility then also benefits the processing of recalls. If the manufacturer blocks a batch - and this is possible down to the exact production time - the cash register recognizes the associated products based on the information in the code and prevents them from being sold.

To ensure that the code is both readable by the cash register and the smartphone, its quality must be excellent. A camera check in the line becomes vital. Products with incorrect or faulty labeling cannot be sold in retail. Coordinating printers and cameras is time-consuming, which is why we combine them for our customers in one single control system: our Traceable Quality System TQS. The system may integrate your printers, cameras and labelers, as well as the checkweigher and metal detector. Your application determines the combination that is most suitable for your operations - from individual packaging to large secondary packaging and shipping cartons. Our experts will be happy to advise you.

X-ray product inspection prevents foreign bodies from being shipped inside instant meals and spices

X-ray inspection solutions are used to prevent any foreign body from being shipped inside instant meals or the packaging used for spices and seasonings. X-ray foreign body inspection ensures food health and safety by preventing any contamination with a foreign body like a stone, piece of metal or plastic, etc. from being shipped to consumers.

In addition to foreign body detection, X-ray inspection of spices, seasonings, and instant meals can be used for package fill checks, and to make sure no product is caught inside the package seal. Finding a foreign object in an instant meal can be devastating for a consumer. This event can also result in serious injury.

The typical settlement of a lawsuit caused by foreign object in food is over $100,000 in the U.S., and can range over $10,000,000 in the case of a class action lawsuit.3 The damage to a spice, seasoning, or instant meal manufacturer’s brand name can be just as devastating and costly. This brand image recovery process is made more difficult in this era of social media, and our 24/7 news cycle. Food inspection using X-ray inspection solutions is one way a food company can prevent disaster.


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Checkweighers are available with an optional metal detector in addition to weighing

Advantages of Wipotec checkweighers include:

  • The core Wipotec EMFR weigh cell technology enables fast and accurate capture of spice package, seasoning container, and instant meal product weight
  • Checkweigher modularity is designed in to support a wide range of precision weighing requirements
  • From the HC-A-IS checkweigher designed for a variety of circular spice and seasoning containers, through the various HC-M and HC-A checkweigher models for small to large packages used for instant meals; Wipotec checkweighers have your unique weighing system applications well covered (gram or milligram scale)
  • User-friendly HMI simplifies machine start up and operation
  • Various integration options with metal detectors can be optimised for your unique spice packaging and seasoning and instant meal production requirements
  • A wide variety of product in-feed and out-feed conveyor configurations, as well as product reject options are available to cover various package sizes and configurations
  • IP69k hygienic wash down checkweigher versions are also available

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X-ray inspection systems detect foreign bodies presence in spices and instant meals

Advantages of Wipotec X-ray scanners include:

  • Modular machine design enables easy integration into existing product lines and faster start-ups
  • Wide range of product options and machine configurations
  • High-resolution camera detector technology enhances foreign body detection capabilities
  • An extensive array of built-in software tools support a wide variety of product inspection tasks to maximise food safety and package integrity
  • Software tools can be optimized for unique package fill and package seal quality checks


Combination X-ray inspection and checkweigher machines:

  • The SC-W combo unit pairs an X-ray scanner with a checkweigher called for those instant meal, spice and seasoning product inspection applications where floor space is at a premium

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