The packaging of biscuits: From a simple food for travelers to a symbol of local gastronomy.

Biscuits are an everyday food, a quick breakfast or snack, a savory accompaniment to any meal, or a sophisticated dessert for special occasions. They even have their own day: December 4 is celebrated as International Biscuit Day, to pay tribute to the history and current dimension of this popular food.

But this has not always been the case. The origins of the biscuits are very humble. It is one of the first cooked foods: 10,000 years ago, travelers such as merchants and seafarers realized that if they exposed a dough of grain and water to a source of heat, it would become a firm and consistent dough that could be easily transported. Archaeologists Karl Koerper and Heidi Bournisse found six-thousand-year-old wrapped and well-preserved biscuits in Switzerland.

In the 18th century, the transition from artisanal craftsmanship in small workshops to mass production in factories began.

Since then, its expansion has been unstoppable, becoming a cultural and gastronomic symbol in many countries and regions: The maria biscuits of Spain; the nankhatai biscuits served during Diwali in India; the famous lebkuchen from Germany; the anzac with coconut and cane honey from Australia and New Zealand, also known as the “soldier’s biscuit”; the twisted (literally) koulourakia from Greece; the Hungarian barátfüle, the Mexican coyotas, the kleicha from Iraq or the speculoos from Belgium and Holland. These are just a small sample of the wide variety of traditional biscuits around the world.

To this day, the almost infinite variety of flavors, textures and shapes make the production and packaging of biscuits a real challenge for the confectionery industry.

Preservation, Transportation and Visual Appeal: The Key Challenges of Cookie Packaging

Just as biscuit varieties have diversified, today’s biscuit packaging challenges go beyond preservation and transportation, although they still play an important role.

  • Preserving freshness: One of the key challenges of biscuit packaging is to ensure that biscuits remain fresh for an appropriate period of time without losing texture, flavor or quality.
  • Protection from damage: It is essential that the packaging protects the biscuits from breakage, crushing or contamination during transportation and storage. It is discouraging for the consumer to open a package of biscuits and find them broken or crumbled.
  • Reduce food waste: By better preserving and extending the shelf life of biscuits, food waste is minimized, including proper management of expiry dates and lot codes.
  • Packaging innovation and design: There is a constant need to develop new packaging to accommodate new shapes and types of biscuits and different consumption formats, while creating attractive products for each type of consumer.
  • Costs: The choice of packaging materials affects production costs, so a balance must be struck between factors such as shelf life, sustainability, visual appeal and cost effectiveness.
  • Regulations and standards: Complying with local and international regulations on packaging materials, nutritional information, labeling and food safety is a constant challenge for biscuit manufacturers.
  • Sustainability: There is a growing demand for more sustainable packaging options, such as biodegradable or compostable materials, as consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of traditional plastic packaging.

Automated biscuit packaging, the answer to the need for optimization

The challenges outlined in the previous point must also be balanced with a high production capacity to meet the market demand. How can this be achieved? By automating the biscuit packaging process, with machines specifically designed to handle different sizes and formats of both containers and products:

  • Automatic feeding: The machines are equipped with feeding systems that continuously and constantly transport the cookies from the oven exit to the packaging or bagging station.
  • Robotized packaging: The most common method is to package the biscuits for distribution, either in trays that are then placed in flowpacks, or directly in flowpacks that are then placed in cartons. This process is carried out by lines of robots guided by artificial vision, which pick up the biscuits individually or in groups at high speed and place them both in trays and in the conveyor of the flowpack, in a horizontal or vertical position.
  • Cartoning: Cartoning can be top-loading or side-loading, using Delta robots to achieve efficient placement of trays or packs of biscuits into cartons.
  • Case packing: Once the biscuits are packaged and/or wrapped, the process is finalized through packing using case packing machines, capable of positioning the product either horizontally or vertically.

Maintaining Product Integrity, an Essential Factor in Biscuit Packaging

Another key factor in the packaging of biscuits is that they are a delicate product whose texture must be handled with care in order to maintain its integrity, and therefore its quality. How is this achieved? Through a combination of high-precision technologies that enable the packaging of different sizes and formats with speed and incredible efficiency.

  • Robust construction: It is essential that the machines have a solid and durable construction, including an open structure for easy cleaning, maintenance and access to the production line. Versatility in terms of finishes, whether stainless steel or painted, allows for greater customization according to each customer’s specific needs. It is also important that these machines operate without vibration, which is achieved thanks to the high quality of their components.
  • Robot flexibility: The robotic gripper flexibility is critical in biscuit packaging. These grippers, whether mechanical or suction, must be designed to adapt to different biscuit formats and sizes.
  • Vision technologies: The use of cameras and optical sensors is indispensable for the recognition and detection of biscuits as they move along the packaging line. These elements ensure the correct packaging of products and packaging.
  • Wide variety of products: The variety of shapes and sizes of both biscuits and packaging requires versatile equipment that can easily adapt to each format without compromising the quality of the final product.

Our packaging systems are designed to ensure that each biscuit is presented in its best form, maintaining its quality, texture and integrity, at a speed that meets the production demands of the industry.

Want to know more about our robotic packaging systems?

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