The snack categories have plenty of opportunity and drive to innovate through flavor, shapes and textures. Adding a filling to an extruded snack, however, opens up innovation possibilities. Whether it’s different types of filling and shell combinations or increasing the number of fillings featured in a snack, manufacturers can certainly get creative in product development. It’s important that equipment keep up.

Diversifying product portfolios has led to the demand for more flexible equipment. Much of the same designs that make equipment easier to take apart for cleaning make it simpler to changeover between product shapes and sizes. Clextral’s modular equipment gives manufacturers the ability to produce filled and unfilled snacks on the same twin screw extruder. Adjustable pinching equipment lets operators change up the product quickly. The co-extruder can form the product into a variety of shapes, including pillows, triangles, bars, balls, ovals, tubes and diamonds.

The company’s control system also helps operators change processing parameters quickly, ensuring the quality is maintained across changeovers.

“With this technology processors can easily add variety and new flavor profiles to an existing product or create a new product,” said Gilles Maller, vice-president, sales and international, Clextral.

Rheon USA’s history in filled products has allowed it to develop co-extruders that can handle not just two, but three and even four different materials into a single product.

“We can make a Thanksgiving dinner as small as a half-ounce ball to 10 oz,” said John Giacoio, vice-president of sales, Rheon USA. “At the International Baking Industry Expo in 2016, we demonstrated a solid hot dog with mustard around it and bread dough on the outside.”

With more co-extrusion technological innovations, snack manufacturers will only be limited by their imagination.

This article is an excerpt from the May 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on co-extrusion, click here.