Extruders provide quick changes and small production runs that are the hallmark of flexible operations.

Bars have a lot going for them right now. They are convenient snacks that can be packed full of nutritious ingredients or cater to the indulgent but portion — controlled trend. And the opportunities for innovation are seemingly endless, meaning bar producers expect a lot from their forming equipment.

“The bar market continues to benefit from snacking and grazing becoming increasingly significant parts of consumer lifestyles,” said Keith Graham, marketing manager, Baker Perkins. “Initially, bar sales were driven mainly by convenience, but nutrition and health are now growing in importance, and bar manufacturers have responded by using more naturally healthy ingredients such as whole grains, nuts and fruit. There is also increasing use of nut butters as center-fillings, which offer indulgence as well as health and functional benefits, so the ability to accurately fill bars is more in demand.”

Bar producers need equipment that will maintain product integrity and easily change to accommodate a diverse product range. With the product’s propensity for allergen ingredients, bar manufacturers also expect forming technology to be easy to clean.

“Our customers have come to expect the highest and most precise output while still being able to achieve allergen cleaning and sanitation,” said Andrew Knox, sales and test center manager, Franz Haas Machinery of America, Inc.