We all love pizza – but what are the latest pizza production trends, and how can bakeries best address them? Henk Hoppenbrouwers, Senior Sales Manager at AMF Bakery Systems shares his key insights.
What innovations have you noticed in pizza production recently, and how is AMF Bakery Systems meeting the associated demands?
Great question! Firstly, increased health-consciousness, along with growing demand for vegan and gluten-free options, is driving demand for a particularly interesting innovation: vegetable bases. These vegetable doughs are often difficult to use with traditional machinery and require special handling. Luckily, our dedicated sheeting solutions can handle all kinds of vegetable doughs – from zucchini and cauliflower to carrot and beetroot!
Another growing trend is for artisanal-style pizza that recreates the look and taste of traditional Italian cuisine. Limitations on restaurant eating are now giving bakeries the additional challenge of producing pizza that can achieve this when cooked at home. Our lines are suitable for processing soft, long-hydrated doughs, enabling our customers to create the artisanal effects consumers love.
Do you think pizza production remains relevant even amongst the turbulence of COVID-19?
The pandemic has only strengthened consumers’ love of pizza. While eating at restaurants has declined, consumers have turned to recreating this experience at home – so demand for luxurious pizza and flatbread products has risen significantly. Home-baking and semi-baked pizzas to finish at home are also increasingly popular. All in all, pizza production is as relevant as ever!
How are pizza production processes being improved to be more seamless for customers?
In multiple ways! At AMF, we aim to help our customers make the best, most profitable pizza products, so we often co-develop production lines to meet their needs. For instance, depositing multiple toppings traditionally involved lots of manual work. To address this, we designed topping machines like our Waterfall Strewers and Target Applicators that can efficiently deposit all kinds of ingredients.
New technologies – such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – will help us go even further. We’ve already developed machines using these technologies that can correct product faults and adjust ingredient amounts in line with customer specifications. In this way, we’ll enable our customers to make direct labor savings while maintaining line productivity.
What other trends have you noticed that we should look out for?
Along with the artisanal trend and increased time at home, standards for many pizza products are increasing. Consumers expect restaurant quality at supermarket speeds and prices. As a result, reducing waste is increasingly important to our customers. More than ever, they must minimize losses of their most expensive ingredients, so they can deliver artisanal quality as efficiently as possible.
Sustainability, of course, is another key trend across all industries, and baking is no different. To address this, we developed a hydrogen tunnel oven – the first in the world! It allows our customers to achieve zero CO2 emissions and dramatically reduce their environmental footprint, enabling a newer, cleaner way of baking. The test oven is available for use at our Innovation Centre – why not come and try it sometime?