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.
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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.
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.
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.
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
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